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Outlook Filters are your Friend

If your like me you are a busy person who hates opening their email and finding a whack of obvious junk email, which you will have search through to ensure that no 'real' emails have slipped into the junk box.

So what to do?  Well looking at a couple of these junk emails, I noticed that that line 'Stock Quotes in attachment' (like I'm going to open that attachment) are in a lot of these, so I'd like to create a filter which will delete any email which has this phase in it and further more I want it to delete any other emails with this phase that I receive in the future as that isn't a phase that I would expect in any real email I would receive.  Creating filters in Outlook is easy, so first highlight and copy the phase to filter on.

Then under the Action menu select 'Create Rule...'

Which brings up the Create Rule Wizard.  Now since the spammer used lots of different subjects and from different addresses we need to filter on something else so press the 'Advanced Options...' button.

And select the 'with specific words in the body' option.

Select Next and a dialog where you can paste the phase to filter on appears.

Enter the phase, note you can add several phases if you wish, but for this filter we only have one phase to filter on, but you can create other filters with other phases if needed.

Select what action we want to take for emails that match our filter, in this case we want to permanently delete it.

You can define exception cases if needed but not in this case.

Viola filter created and now to put it in action.  We select 'Run this rule now on messages already in the 'Junk E-mail' so it cleans up our junk folder now and will hopefully help keep our junk folder manageable in the future.

Works like a charm and it cleaned out all the emails which matched that filter and now we can see that there was one email which we actually wanted, which had slipped into the junk folder.

So Outlook filters can be your friend and help you trash spam the easy way.  There are tons of filter options available so you can build just about any filter you need and filters can be used to delete, move, alert, flag, respond, etc.  I use filters to move my email into different folders that I have setup to help me prioritize and manage my email.  I would highly recommend that you explore filters as they can truly help you become far more efficient with email and reduce a lot of the time you spend dealing with spam and other junk emails.

NOTE my spam email situation is worse then most as I run a number of experiments to track spammers and such which means as part of those experiments I can receive 1000's of spam emails per day, so if filters can help me clean up my junk email box, then I know they can help just about anyone.

Page last updated on November 26, 2006