I need to set up a scheduled vacation responder so that colleagues who are on email 24/7 don't forget that I am unavailable for rapid email replies for 3 particular half-days per week. It's getting to be a huge problem, they just can't remember my schedule.

  • I am on an active nationwide professional listserv whose admins really hate spam and I don't want these folks to get spammed by my away message.
  • Unfortunately setting it to auto-reply to people only in my domain won't work, because a lot of the people firing off a 20-email thread aren't in my gmail domain.
  • I also don't want to auto-reply to departmental announcements, because that will be so irritating to our admin week after week.
  • So I want to specify that if it's a bcc list email, I don't want to reply to that, either.

Help will be so, so appreciated. I am in healthcare and Covid has ruined my workflow.

2 Answers 2


Google's vacation replies will not SPAM your listserv admins. Here is a link from Google Support that speaks to a lot of your concerns:
Out of office reply Link (OOR Link)

Some excerpts:

  1. "...messages addressed to a mailing list you subscribe to won't get your vacation response."
  2. "...vacation response is only sent to people the first time they message you" then "again after four days"
  3. "Messages sent to your spam folder"..."won't get your vacation response."

It isn't clear to me how your "departmental announcements" will be handled without knowing how they are formatted, and if Gmail identifies them as mailing lists, however you could leverage the exception for SPAM messages by creating a Gmail Filter for those messages and sending them to your SPAM folder on receipt. You can move them out of SPAM after receipt.


You can do this using Gmail Templates which used to be called Canned Responses. You can create a filter that will send an auto-response only to emails that match the filter, using a template email you create. I just tested it with some listserv emails I get and it worked exactly like you described.

Here's how:

  1. Enable templates and create an email template that will be sent as the auto-reply. See here for instructions: Create email templates
  2. Then create a Gmail filter that matches the emails you want to auto-respond to but doesn't match those you don't (see below).
  3. In the settings for the filter, check the box for "Send template" and choose the template you created.

To prevent the filter from matching emails from the listserv, you'll need to put something in the "Doesn't have" field of the filter that does match the emails coming from the listserv. A lot of listserv type emails have a unique identifier that you can see if you click the down arrow beside "to me" in the message header. It will look something like this <1234567.xt.local>. Leave out the < and > and put the rest in the "Doesn't have" box. You should be able to tweak it to exclude any emails you don't want using Gmail search operators

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