Get control of your mailbox 1: Junk Email

These days we get bombarded with emails. According to research, in 2010, we are each receiving an average of 74 emails per day, 61 of which are legitimate emails, and we are sending an average of 34 emails per day. That’s 756 emails per week or 39,312 per year !!

So, we need to get organised…!

This article is the first in a series of 10 articles that will give you tips for helping you keep your mailbox under control when using Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010.

Get rid of your junk

Approximately 18% of the emails that we receive are junk. There are ways that we can filter or delete those junk emails immediately.

The Junk E-Mail folder

The Junk E-Mail folder is displayed in your folder list on the right hand side of the Microsoft Outlook Mail screen. Any emails that the system thinks is spam will automatically go in to this folder instead of the Inbox. It is important to monitor the junk e-mail folder in case any legitimate emails are being captured in there.

If all legitimate emails are removed from the junk email folder, then all emails in this folder can be permanently deleted by right clicking on the folder and selecting “Empty Folder”. This should be done regularly as it will help reduce your mailbox size, keeping your computer running more efficiently.

The best way to control your junk email is to get Microsoft Outlook to automatically remove it for you, but minimising the loss of legitimate emails. Here’s how…

Set junk e-mail protection level

     MS Outlook 2010: Home tab > Junk > Junk E-mail options > Options tab
     MS Outlook 2007: Tools > Options > Junk E-mail options > Options tab
     MS Outlook 2003: Tools > Options > Junk E-mail options > Options tab

The system default setting is “Low”. At this level you may find that you receive a large number of junk emails in your inbox. Here’s how to get them into the junk folder instead…

One way to ensure that you receive no junk in your inbox at all is to set your protection at the “Safe Lists Only” level, which means that any emails coming from those not in your Safe Senders list (see below for more information) will go straight to your Junk E-mail folder. This often results in many legitimate emails going in to your junk mail.

Another way is to set the protection level to “High”. This may result in some legitimate emails going straight in to your junk mail. It is recommended, if you choose this option, to keep a close eye on your junk email folder for a period of about a month, for any legitimate emails that may be in there. Any that you find should then be added to your safe senders list to ensure that they do not go into your junk mail in the future. After a month, if you are not seeing any more legitimate emails in your junk folder, then you could select to “Permanently delete suspected junk email…”.

Safe Senders List

     MS Outlook 2010: Home tab > Junk > Junk E-mail options > Safe Senders tab
     MS Outlook 2007: Tools > Options > Junk E-mail options > Safe Senders tab
     MS Outlook 2003: Tools > Options > Junk E-mail options > Safe Senders tab

It is recommended that any emails from your contacts, including any emails from those other people you have sent an email to should be prevented from going in to your junk mail folder. In MS Outlook 2007 and 2010 there are 2 tick boxes towards the bottom of this screen:

  • Also trust e-mail from my Contacts
  • Automatically add people I e-mail to the safe senders list

These should both be ticked.

In MS Outlook 2003 you will only see the first option. Tick this.

Blocked Senders List

     MS Outlook 2010: Home tab > Junk > Junk E-mail options > Blocked Senders tab
     MS Outlook 2007: Tools > Options > Junk E-mail options > Blocked Senders tab
     MS Outlook 2003: Tools > Options > Junk E-mail options > Blocked Senders tab

If you receive emails in your inbox that you consider to be junk, firstly look at the email to see if you can “unsubscribe”. You should be able to unsubscribe if the email is from a legitimate business. If this option is not available, or you continue to receive these emails, then you can mark them as a Blocked Sender. Right click on an email, select Junk, then Block Sender.

Get control of your mailbox today…!

Learn more about Microsoft Outlook >>

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