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How to Use Microsoft Outlook to Deal with Spam

If your email provider uses a spam filter such as Spam Assassin (http://www.spamassassin.org), incoming email can be labeled as spam if its content or originator meet certain tests. Such filters assign each email a score based on a variety of factors (http://www.spamassassin.org/tests.html). You can adjust the score threshold for identifying spam and add correspondents to a “white list” if the software erroneously tags their email as spam. Emails that exceed the threshold you set are marked as spam in their subject line before they are forwarded to you. You can then use your email program (for example, Outlook or Eudora) to route spam to a special folder for quick examination and deletion.

This document details the steps you can use to set up Microsoft Outlook 2000 to send incoming spam the has been tagged by your email provider to a spam folder you create.

If your ISP does not use a spam filter, you will not be able to use these instructions as written, but you can set up email rules for each of the types of repetitive spam you receive.

Creating the Spam Folder

First, you need to create a folder to contain the tagged spam. You can do this by selecting File | New | Folder or pressing Ctrl – Shift – E. You see a dialog box similar to the following:

Give the folder a name using the Name box. You could name it Spam, for example.

The default selection for Folder contains is probably Mail Items, but if it isn’t, use the drop down box to select it.

You can use the list of folders to place the folder as a subfolder of another if you desire. Simply highlight the folder you want to place the new folder under.

Select OK once your settings are correct.

Place the Folder on the Outlook Bar

If your normal view doesn’t show the folder list, you need to show the folders so you can place the folder on the Outlook bar for quick access.

To show folders, select View | Folder List. The list of folders appears beside the Outlook bar.

Find the spam folder you created, select and drag it onto the Outlook bar. You can place it between existing items or at the end of the bar.  You can then hide the folders again by selecting View | Folder List. The result will look similar to the following.

Create a Rule to Move the Spam

The next step is to create a rule to move all email tagged by your email provider to the Spam folder. You will need to determine how your provider tags the spam. Spam Assassin, used in this example, adds (SPAM?) to the beginning of the subject line.

To create an email rule, select Tools | Rules Wizard.

You see a menu similar to the following:

Select New to create a new rule.

You see a menu similar to the following:

Select Check messages when they arrive and click Next.

You see a menu similar to the following:

Scroll down the list until you see with specific words in the subject and check that box.

In the lower part of the menu, select the underlined specific words.

You see a menu similar to the following:

If your email provider is using Spam Assassin, type (SPAM?) in the Add new field. Substitute whatever word or phrase your email provider tags your email with if not using Spam Assassin. Make sure it is unique to avoid misrouting email.

Click Add, then OK.

Click Next.

You see a menu similar to the following:

Select the box next to move it to the specified folder.

You see a menu similar to the following:

In the lower portion of the menu, select the underlined specified.

You see a menu similar to the following:

Find the Spam folder you created earlier in the list and select it. Select OK.

Select Next.

You see a menu similar to the following:

This menu allows you to specify any exceptions to the rule. Typically you will just select Next.

You see a menu similar to the following:

You can rename the rule to your liking or accept the default name. If you want to run the rule immediately to remove any tagged spams in your email box, check Run this rule now on messages already in “Inbox.”

Click Finish. The rule runs if you selected that option. Otherwise you return to the Rules Wizard menu:

If you have other email rules, you can adjust the order in which they run using the Move Up and Move Down buttons.

Make sure the box next to your new rule is checked, and then select OK.

The next time an email tagged as spam arrives, it will be routed to the Spam folder. You can periodically scan the email in that folder and bulk delete them. If you notice legitimate emails in the Spam folder, you can adjust your spam score setting (if your email provider allows this), add the sender to your “white list” (also if available), or adjust your spam email rule.

Coming Soon

A new white paper from , How to Use Email. This free white paper addresses ways to write more effective emails and help reduce the glut of unnecessary emails within your business. It covers email etiquette, avoiding CYA cc’ing, and effective, to the point email writing style.

If you’re interested in being notified when this white paper is published, send an email to emailwp@CTOMentor.com.

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