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How do I configure spam settings in Microsoft Outlook (desktop)?

Outlook’s junk email filter

The junk email filter used by Outlook automatically filters and sends suspected junk email to a Junk Email folder.

If a message is wrongly filtered as junk, you can select the email in the junk folder, right click, then select Junk > Not Junk. A message will appear, stating that the email will be moved to the Inbox folder, and allowing you to check the option Always trust email from [sender].

If an unwanted message reaches your Inbox, you can mark it as junk and add the address to a blocked senders list by selecting the message, right-clicking and selecting Junk > Block Sender.

Junk Email Options

To configure the junk email options in Outlook, click Home > Junk > Junk Email Options.



Several tabs are available in the newly opened window, allowing you to configure spam settings:


 

The Options tab

Select the desired level of protection:
  1. No Automatic Filtering: automatic junk filtering is disabled, and only messages sent from addresses in your Blocked Senders List are filtered.
  2. Low: used for filtering only messages that are obviously junk (select this option if you don’t receive a lot of junk mail).
  3. High: select this option if you receive a lot of junk email, but don’t want to restrict messages from senders on your safe lists.
  4. Safe Lists Only: select this option to mark any message that is not sent from someone on your Safe Senders List, or to a mailing list from your Safe Recipients List, as junk (the most restrictive option).
Several other options are available:

   - Permanently delete suspected junk […] – if checked, Outlook deletes all suspected junk messages instead of sending them to the Junk Email folder (so you will not be able to check if any false positives occur).
  - Disable links and other functionality in phishing emails – if checked, links in messages identified as phishing are disabled. Read more about turning on/off links in Outlook email messages.
  - Warn me about suspicious domains names – if checked, Outlook warns you about possible spoofed domain names (names that are not what they appear to be) in a message.


The Safe Senders tab

Email addresses or domain names added to the Safe Senders list are not treated like spam, so they will never be sent to the Junk Email folder.

The Safe Recipients tab

The Safe Recipients list should hold e-mail addresses of mailing lists for which you want to be a recipient. Any emails sent to such a mailing list and received by you will not be treated as junk email.

The Blocked Senders tab

This list holds email addresses or domain names that are always treated like spam and sent to the Junk Email folder.

The International tab

The Blocked Top-Level Domain List allows you to block all messages sent from email addresses ending with a specific country-code top-level domain (a domain which indicates the geographical area where it originates, e.g. “.li” is associated with “Lithuania”, etc.).
 

Filtering emails in Microsoft Outlook

While filtering emails in Microsoft Outlook is possible, it is a more complex process than, e.g., in Gmail, and it involves the use of rules.

A rule is an automatic action performed by Outlook on incoming or outgoing messages that match certain conditions specified in the rule. Outlook’s Rules Wizard lets you use predefined templates for setting rules, or start from a blank rule.

To access the wizard, in Outlook, go to File > Manage Rules & Alerts.


Clicking on New Rule… opens the Rules Wizard, where you can create rules based on the available templates and edit rule descriptions.


 

For a comprehensive guide about configuring rules in Microsoft Outlook, please access the official Microsoft documentation here.

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