Junk mail, also known as spam, is a big annoyance. Whether it’s advertisements you never signed up for, poorly-worded scams promising you millions, or inappropriate content, nobody wants it in their inbox.
Though both Gmail and Outlook’s built-in spam detection is excellent, sometimes junk mail will slip through. Here’s how to block junk in both Gmail and Outlook to keep your inbox clean.
How to Block Spam in Outlook
When you receive a spam email in Outlook, you can easily block a sender and move their email to junk. Just right-click the email in question and choose Junk > Block Sender.
If you’re getting a lot of spam, you may need to adjust Outlook’s spam filter. Right-click any message and choose Junk > Junk E-mail options. On the Options tab, you can choose from the level of filtering to apply.
No Automatic Filtering will only catch mail from senders you’ve blocked as junk. For most cases, Low is a good choice. High may treat legitimate messages as junk, which requires you to move them out of your Junk folder.
Block a Domain in Outlook
If you need more options for fighting spam, you can block an entire domain in Outlook.
To start, on the Home tab, click the Junk entry on the Delete section. Choose Junk E-mail options to open the same menu as earlier. Here, switch to the Blocked Senders tab.
Click the Add button to add one or more domains you want to block. For instance, if you want to stop receiving spam from a domain called AnnoyingSpam, enter @AnnoyingSpam.com into the box and click OK. You’ll see it appear in the list.
Once you’ve done this, Outlook will automatically send any messages from that domain to your Junk folder. You can even click Export to File to save the list for use elsewhere.
Try the Junk Email Reporting Add-in
If you’d like to help in the fight against spam, you can download the Microsoft Junk Email Reporting Add-in for Outlook. In addition to blocking similar messages in the future, this also allows you to let Microsoft know about unwanted messages so it can help reduce the amount of spam everyone receives.
Take a look at our guide to using the Report Junk add-in for Outlook if you’re interested.
How to Block Spam in Gmail
Gmail also makes it easy to get unwanted messages out of your inbox. To do so, first open the message in question. Click the small arrow dropdown box in the top-right corner of the message and choose Report spam to let Google know about the message.
If you’d like, you can click Block “[Sender name]” too. This will filter all future messages from that address so you won’t have to worry about them.
Create a Filter in Gmail
If you want to filter emails containing certain words or block an entire domain, you can do so with a Gmail filter. Click the Cog icon followed by Settings. Then select the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.
You’ll see a list of addresses you’ve already blocked (if any). Click Create a new filter to set up the criteria.
Enter a From address at minimum. You can also specify a Subject, Has the words, or Doesn’t have if you need. Next, click the Create filter with this search in the bottom-right.
Now you’ll choose what to do with emails that hit this filter. You can choose Delete it, though this may cause you to miss legitimate messages.
A better way is to check Apply the label and create a new label named Potential Spam or similar. If you also check Skip the Inbox (Archive it), any messages matching your criteria will go into a separate label for you to review. This means you can still check that folder for messages you may want, but they won’t clog up your inbox.
Choose Create filter to confirm. You can return to this page anytime to modify it.
For most cases, the built-in spam detection should filter the bulk of junk mail out. But these tools give you more ways to fight spam in Outlook or Gmail.
6 thoughts on “How to Fight Junk Mail in Outlook and Gmail”
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I just moved 14gigabytes of outlook email to the cloud. Is there a way to get rid of old spam?
Hi Peter, I’m not sure I understand your question. If you go into your Spam/Junk folder in Outlook, you should be able to delete old messages from there. Outlook should also automatically remove messages that have been in Spam for over a month or so — is that not happening for you?
Junk Mail >>> Block Sender seems to work only line by line . Impossibly slow to transfer junk to “Block Sender” line by line. Should be able to HIGHLIGHT+ ALT key and transfer the whole group of junk to “Block Sender”. Does anyone have work around?
Blocking by sender with a filter is a waste of time unless the sender is legitimate. and you only want to block some of their messages.
If you want to more effectively filter out spam, here’s a trick that costs $12.year:
1. Get your own domain from Google domains.
2. Configure the domain mx record to send all messages to your “real” mailbox.
3. NEVER use your real mail address.
4. Create a different mail address for each website or application where the only use is as a sign-in and administrator notification. (eg [email protected], [email protected])
5. If you start getting messages addressed to a mailbox that wasn’t issued for that sender, you know that the intended sender’s systems have been compromised.
In Gmail, mark that message as spam. GMail will block all future messages sent to it, and delete them after 30 days.
6. Go to the site that leaked your address, contact the suite admin and warn them that they are leaking addresses. Then change your address.
I add a counter to the old compromised address, (eg “[email protected] changes to “[email protected] ). If the counter gets up to “3”, I seriously reconsider whether using that website or application is worth the risk. Few have been.
When a compromised legitimate company has a domain, I may block all messages from it with a polite auto-reply saying why I’ve done it, and forward them to a known executive..
I now get thousands of messages per month in my GMail Spam “folder” , the majority being “Account hacked/compromised” or sex phishing messages, thought I have no account or computer that could be compromised, and never intentionally visited a porn site. In 3 months of reviewing the Spam folder I have NEVER found a false positive except when I hit the spam octagon button instead of the delete trash can button by mistake. Those exceptions are usually easy to spot because I opened the messages,and auto-spam is not opened.