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Mass-configure alternate recipients

How to use a .CSV file to set up alternate recipients.


Mass-configure alternate recipients
Serdar Yegulalp

One of the biggest bits of drudgery for any Exchange administrator is setting up auto-forwarding when a whole division or department full of people is relocated (or worse, let go completely). If you're dealing with only a handful of people, it's not hard to manually set auto-forwarding, but when dealing with dozens or hundreds, it's a chore.

Exchange has the ability to work with .CSV (comma-separated value) files to perform certain mass operations, such as automatically setting up an alternate recipient for a whole slew of mailboxes. Alternate recipients are a fast way of auto-forwarding mail sent to a particular address, and they can be used to either bounce mail to the person's new address or to an auto-handler that informs the sender that the person in question has left the company.

  1. Open Exchange Administrator and select Tools | Directory Export.

  2. In the Directory Export dialog, select a file to export to by clicking "Export File." Click the "Container" button to choose the container to export from (although the default, "Recipients," will usually contain the needed mailboxes).

  3. In "Export objects," check only "Mailbox," not any of the other options. Don't check "Include hidden objects", and use ANSI as the character set. "Separators" is set to comma-delimited by default, so don't change that either.

  4. Click Export to run the export and dump the results to the requested file.

  5. Open the .CSV in Excel (or another app that can work with .CSV files) and insert a column named "Alternate Recipient." The best place to put it would be in a new column all the way on the right, for the sake of organization, but the exact position of the column is not important as long as it has the proper header. In this column, insert the name to use. You can also use a database or mail-merge function to match an existing list to this one.

  6. If you want Exchange to send email to both the original recipient and the alternate, insert another column with the header "Deliver To Both." Any mailbox that is to deliver to both, mark this column with a 1; otherwise, mark it with a 0.

  7. Save the file as a .CSV. For safety's sake, save the edited file as a separate document. If something goes wrong, you can always revert back to the original.

  8. In Exchange Administrator, select Tools | Directory Import, and re-import the .CSV into the designated server and container. If you get an error while doing this, you may have formatted some of your input incorrectly. See Microsoft Article Q155743 for more on this.

  9. Send a test message to determine if the mail is being forwarded to the alternate recipient correctly.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.

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