Setting Reply as the default instead of Reply All in Outlook on the Web (Exchange 2016 and Office 365)

I’m using Outlook on the Web (as part of my company’s Office 365 subscription) and there I noticed that the Reply button is a combined button containing, Reply All, Reply and Forward.

As I need to use the Reply button more often than the Reply All button, and inadvertently using Reply All is kinda “dangerous” in my line of work, I’d like to change that.

How can I set the Reply action as the default instead of Reply All?

Reply / Reply All buttonIt’s indeed somewhat questionable to have Reply All as the default action in Outlook on the Web.

Luckily, there are 2 ways that you can change it as an end-user and Exchange administrators can also change the default for all users at once.

Method 1: Reading Pane commands

Reading Pane buttonThis method to change the default back to the Reply command is probably the easiest but not the most obvious especially when you are using the command buttons at the top of the screen.

Within the Reading Pane, you’ll also find a Reply All button. When you press on the down arrow of that Reply All button you’ll get a list of command. From this list choose: Change default-> Reply

This method is not (yet?) available in Exchange 2016 On-Premises but only in Office 365.

Setting the default Reply action via the Reading Pane menu. (click on image to enlarge)
Setting the default Reply action via the Reading Pane menu. (click on image to enlarge)

Method 2: Options screen

Outlook Web Options buttonA method that works for both Office 365 and Exchange 2016 On-Premises is to go via the Options screen.

  1. Click on the Gear icon in the top-right corner left from your user picture.
  2. From the menu that open choose:
    • Exchange 2016 On-Premises
    • Office 365
      section: My app settings-> Mail
  3. In the left pane choose: Mail-> Automatic processing-> Reply settings
  4. Set your default response to: Reply.
  5. Press the Save button at the top.
  6. Click on “Options” in the top left corner to return to your mailbox.

Setting the default Reply action via the Options screen.
Setting the default Reply action via the Options screen.

Method 3: Exchange administrators

Exchange Management Shell - PowerShell buttonAs an Exchange administrator, you can set the default via PowerShell with the IsReplyAllTheDefaultResponse parameter of the Set-MailboxMessageConfiguration cmdlet.

To change it for a specific user;
Set-MailboxMessageConfiguration –IsReplyAllTheDefaultResponse $false

To change it for all users;
Get-Mailbox –Resultsize Unlimited | Set-MailboxMessageConfiguration –IsReplyAllTheDefaultResponse $false

Note that the last command doesn’t apply to any new mailboxes that you created after you ran the command. Also, running the command at regular intervals might frustrate users that actually want the default to be Reply All.

To change it only for new mailboxes created in the last 7 days use;
Get-Mailbox –Resultsize Unlimited | where {$_.WhenCreated -gt (get-date).adddays(-7)} | Set-MailboxMessageConfiguration –IsReplyAllTheDefaultResponse $false

Room for improvement?

UserVoice buttonWhile it is nice to have at least the option to change the default Reply action, do you think there there are more improvements needed?

For instance;

  • The default should be set to Reply instead of Reply All.
  • The option to change the default should also be exposed in the Reply All menu above the message list.
  • The web interface should always show the Reply, Reply All and Forward commands as separate button.

You can leave your suggestion on the official UserVoice page of Outlook on the web (Office 365) or upvote the already existing suggestion; Never REPLY ALL by default / Don’t combine into single button.

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