Gmail’s spam filter
After creating a Gmail account, Gmail automatically starts to distinguish unwanted mail from mail that should be in your Inbox, though the use of automatic, built-in filters. However, sometimes spam does still reach your Inbox, while some legitimate emails might reach the Spam folder. Since messages in this folder are deleted after 30 days, it’s advisable to check them every occasionally, to make sure there is nothing more than spam getting deleted.
To further help sort your messages and manage spam, Gmail allows you to block email addresses, mark messages as Spam, and create filters based on several criteria.
Note: Messages you mark as Spam are further analyzed by Gmail and used as reference to block other similar messages in the future.
Blocking unwanted emails
Within every email you receive, you have several options to help you block the sender or mark the message as spam. These are available in the drop-down list from the upper-right corner in your open message:
|Block [sender]: adds the sender’s address to the blocked emails list.
- Report spam: reports the email as spam, so that it will always be sent to the Spam folder in the future.
- Report phishing: in the case of suspicious emails asking for personal information (such as personal identification numbers or bank accounts), this action reports the email as a phishing attempt and moves it to the Spam folder. Read more about phishing here.
Setting up Gmail filters
To access and set up a filter, follow the steps below:'
1. In your Gmail account, click the cogwheel button in the upper-right corner of the page, and access the Settings
2. In Settings, click the Filters and Blocked Addresses
tab, and click Create a new filter
. A filter window will appear.
3. In the new filter window, enter the desired criteria for filtering: the address of the sender/receiver, the email’s subject, words included/excluded from the email. You can fill any of the available criteria, then click on Create filter with this search
4. In the following window, select the actions you want to be taken when the message is filtered. Next to Create filter
, check Also apply filter to x conversations below
, for the filter to also be applied to conversations that are already in your mail.
- Skip the Inbox (Archive it)
: use this option to create a filter that removes certain messages from the Inbox without deleting them. When you search in Gmail, results will include any messages that have been archived.
- Mark as read
: this option can be useful for managing automated messages, e.g. a daily newsletter you have subscribed to. Creating a filter with the domain name or just one specific address will reduce the number of unread messages in your Inbox.
- Apply the label
: select this option to create a filter that adds a specific label to emails.
- Delete it
: create a filter that deletes certain messages (useful, e.g. for obvious spam).
- Categorize as:
this option is used for filtering messages into one of the predefined Gmail categories (tabs): Personal, Social, Promotions, Updates, Forums.
- Also apply this filter to X matching messages
: checking this option applies your filter to all current messages that satisfy the criteria of the filter.
- 5. Click on Create filter. The new filter will be available in the list of filters, and you can edit or delete it if you wish. Filters can be exported to and imported from XML files, so you can later reuse the setup.
Note: It is also possible to create a filter starting from a specific email message, by selecting the option Filter messages like this, from the upper-right corner drop-down list of actions.