Call Answering Rules for Unified Messaging

Option 1 - Default Voicemail System

  • The default voice mail system answers your incoming calls, records a voice message, and sends it to your inbox
  • If you're satisfied with the default voice mail system, you don't have to create any call answering rules

Option 2 - Voicemail with Call Answering Rules

  • Call answering rules allow a user to process their incoming phone calls in a manner that differs from the default voicemail system
  • These rules are managed by the user within their account on the Office Web Application
  • The user must be enabled for Unified Messaging in order for this option to be available

Note: This feature is NOT Skype for Business's Call Forwarding

Anatomy of a Call Answering Rule: Conditions and Actions


  • Criteria that must be met before the rule can be applied to an incoming call
  • The call answering rule will only be processed if ALL conditions for the rule are met


  • Options that are presented to a caller when all conditions for a rule are met
  • These are read to the caller over the phone, and the caller can then choose what they want to do using their phone's keypad

Call Answering Rule Options Outline:

Rule (Name)...

Pick the condition(s) for after the call arrives and...

1. My Automatic Replies are Turned on

2. My Schedule Shows that I am...

Pick one:

  • Free
  • Tentative
  • Busy
  • Away

3. The Caller is...

Pick one or more:

  • Calling from a phone number...
  • Is in my contacts list
  • Among these people...

4. It's During This Time Period...

Pick one:

  • Working hours
  • Outside of Working hours
  • Custom Range...

5. Applies to All Calls

Provide the Caller with these action options...

For____(reason)____, press ___(1-9)_____ to ____(Leave VM, Find Me, or Transfer)______ to _____(##########)_____.

This rule is (On/Off)

Locating the Call Answering Rules Menu

Option 1 - Starting from within the Outlook Web Application

  1. Navigate to the Settings menu in the upper right corner of the page
    OWA Settings Gear

  2. Next, select Mail under Your App Settings
    Your app settings

  3. Within the Options Shortcuts, select General
  4. Under the Voice mail tab, select Call Answering Rules
    options voice mail

Option 2 - Starting from within the Skype for Business Client

  1. In the Skype for Business main window, click the dial pad icon

  2. Below the dial pad, click the voice mail options button, and then click Set Up Voice Mail

  3. When the Outlook Web Application opens and signs in, you should be taken directly to the Voice Mail options settings
    options voice mail

Creating a Call Answering Rule

You can set up to nine call answering rules to handle your incoming calls. Use the checkbox on the Call answering rules page to turn the rule on/off.

  1. Click the new button
    Call answering rules - new button

  2. Type a name for your rule
    New call answering rule name

  3. In If the caller reaches my voice mail and, select an option
    New call answering rule condition 1

  4. If you want to add another condition to your rule, select Add condition
    New call answering rule add condition

  5. In Provide the caller with these options, select an option
    New call answering rule provide caller options

  6. If you want to add another option to your rule, select Add option
    New call answering rule provide caller add option

Editing a Call Answering Rule

  • Select the rule you want to edit and click the edit button
    Call answering rules - edit

Deleting a Call Answering Rule

  • Select the rule you want to delete and click the delete button
    Call answering rules - delete

Reordering Call Answering Rule

  • Rules are listed in the order applied, so select the rule you want to move up or down in the order and click the arrows
    Call answering rules - reorder
Article number: 
Last updated: 
December 8, 2017