December 8, 2023
Learn how to block unwanted emails on Outlook with our step-by-step guide. From built-in tools to advanced settings and third-party add-ons, we explore all the options available.

I. Introduction

As email remains one of the most popular forms of communication, it can also attract unwanted attention from spammers and scammers. Microsoft 365’s Outlook offers several ways to block emails to make your inbox a safer place. In this article, we’ll walk you through the different approaches available to block emails on Outlook.

II. Step-by-Step Guide

To access Outlook’s built-in spam filter, click the “Junk” dropdown menu and then select “Junk Email Options.” In the settings, you can choose the degree of protection you want from “No Automatic Filtering” to “High” or set it to “Safe Lists Only” which only lets you receive emails from those on your safe list.

To block senders directly, select the email and click on “Junk” in the top menu. Then, choose the option “Block Sender” and confirm this choice in the pop up box. Once blocked, you will not receive future emails from this sender.

You can also move an email to the Junk Email folder by selecting it and clicking on “Junk Email” in the top menu. Finally, you may also click on “Report Junk” instead of “Block Sender”, this way Outlook will send a report to the Microsoft Team to improve their prevention methods against spam.

III. Filters and Rules

Filters and rules can be created by going to the “Rules” button in the top ribbon and selecting “Create Rule.” You then have the option to choose if the rule will be applied to emails sent to you by a specific sender, with specific words in the message or subject, or based on a number of other criteria. Specify what needs to happen next, whether the email is moved to a new folder, deleted, etc., and click “OK” to save the rule.

Filters and rules are not the same as the built-in spam filters, as they apply your chosen actions to specific types of emails, while spam filters apply to any email deemed to be spam.

For example, if you want to block all emails with a certain keyword, like “lottery”, you can easily create a rule. When you create this rule, you’ll see that it applies to any email from “[email protected]” (excluding the @ symbol) that contains the word “lottery”. Any email that matches this criteria will be blocked and delivered to your Junk Email folder.

IV. Third-Party Add-Ons

While Outlook’s built-in tools and features are useful, third-party add-ons can also be useful in blocking emails. Popular add-ons include SPAMfighter, MailWasher, and Cleverbridge AG. Install the desired add-on from the Microsoft AppSource and configure it according to the instructions provided.

Third-party add-ons can offer additional features such as blacklisting or whitelisting senders. However, using them can be risky as hackers may try to dupe users into downloading malware or paying for bogus add-ons.

V. Quick Tips

Here are some quick tips to help you block emails more effectively on Outlook:

  • Block specific senders by right-clicking on an email and choosing the “Junk” option.
  • Use the “Safe Senders” list to allow certain senders to bypass Outlook’s built-in spam filters.
  • Use the “Mark as Junk” option to train Outlook to recognize unwanted emails automatically.
  • Create rules based on specific criteria, such as keywords, to block emails automatically.
  • Check your Junk Email folder regularly to ensure that any false positives are recovered.

VI. Advanced Settings

Outlook offers advanced settings for users who want to have more control over what emails they block or allow. To access these features, go to “File” > “Options” > “Trust Center” > “Trust Center Settings.”

The “Blocked Top-Level Domains” feature allows users to block emails that come from specific top-level domains, such as “.ru” for Russia, or the “.cn” for China. This can be useful if you frequently receive unwanted emails from countries you have no business dealing with.

You can also limit access to external images in emails by going into the “Trust Center Settings” area and selecting “Block Sender.” Limiting external access can reduce the potential for spam in the future, as spammers often use these images to determine who has opened their email.

VII. Troubleshooting

If emails still slip through the spam filters or rules that you have set up, try increasing the level of protection in the JunkEmail Options in the “Filters” tab to a higher setting like “High.”

If the problem persists, you may have to verify you properly configured the safe senders list or trusted domains list. Keep in mind that while filters and rules created in your Outlook account are quite effective, hackers or spam senders can try and create aliases or new accounts to get their emails past your blocking attempts.

VIII. Conclusion

Outlook offers several built-in tools and features, as well as advanced settings and third-party add-ons, to help you filter out unwanted emails. Use our guide to find the best method for keeping your inbox clean and your data secure.

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