Using the Junk Email Options in Outlook 2013

Dealing with Junk and Spam Email is vital to email management in Outlook 2013, which provides tools to do so. It is important that Outlook be meshed with installed third-part security software for both to be effective. A Junk Email Options Dialog is available through the Home Tab’s Delete Group, and contains various options pertaining to Junk Email. The dialog contains various Lists which determine safe and unsafe senders and recipients, which help define Junk Email. The dialog also allows for blocking emails from particular locations and with certain encodings, and also provides varying security settings.

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Video transcripts:

Welcome back to our course on Outlook 2013.  In this section, we’re going to look at junk mail, sometimes referred to as spam.  And there are some pretty good facilities in Outlook 2013 to help you to deal with junk mail.

If you are already using or you plan to use a third party product such as one of the Symantec or Norton products, a McAfee product, a Kaspersky product.  There are a number of really good products available.  Then to some extent you need to mesh together the use of those and your use of Outlook 2013.  Now I have no idea which of those products you’re going to be using so I’m really going to focus here on the facilities within Outlook.  But you do need to be careful.  Most of the good manufacturers of antivirus products will have some instructions on how to setup Outlook to work alongside their product.  They may even have a piece of software that connects their product and Outlook together in some way.  But there are quite a few of them and I certainly can’t go into them all here.  So as I say I’m going to concentrate on the Outlook aspects of this.
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Now the first thing to note is that on the Home tab in the Delete Group there is a Junk button with a drop down, and from that drop down you click on Junk Email Options.  And what we’re going to do, first of all, is to enable junk email options; so click on that and you come up with the Junk Email Options dialog for the selected account.  I’ve got my toby.a account selected at the moment.  Now this particular dialog has got a number of tabs and I’m going to explain to you what these tabs are.  But, first of all, let me just look at the titles.

Now one of the fundamental aspects here is some lists.  And we have a first list which is a safe senders list and the safe senders list is basically a list of people who you are happy to receive email from.  Basically you consider any email you get from those people to be safe, and one of the things you can do when you’re working with Outlook 2013 is to add somebody to your safe senders list.  Adding them to that list will mean that any email you get from that person will be considered safe and won’t be treated as junk.  Now the safe senders list can contain individual email addresses.  So it might be an individual person or it could be a domain.  You could say anybody from this domain is safe.

Now alongside the safe senders list there is a blocked senders list and the blocked senders list is if you like the opposite.  Email you get from names on this list or from email addresses from domains on this list is automatically blocked and will always be treated as junk mail.

Now in addition to the safe senders, that’s the good senders, and the blocked senders, that’s the bad people, you have the safe recipients list.  And you consider any email sent to addresses or domain names on the safe recipients list that will never be treated as junk mail either.  So you’re always happy to send email to those people.

Now the last tab is also quite an important one.  It’s called International and it covers two specific but very wide ranging situations.  First of all, if you want to exclude all email from a country or region with a specific top level domain code, you can.  So for instance, if you wanted to stop all email from any domain code that ends dot-mx click on the blocked top level domain list, you could say go down to .mx and you’d effectively say if you tick that and clicked on OK, I don’t want to receive any email from Mexico.  So any domain that ends with dot-mx, top level domain code is .mx I don’t want to receive.  So that’s a very drastic way of stopping any top level domains.

And similarly the second list, the blocked encoding list says I do not want to receive any email that is encoded in this way such as Arabic, Japanese.  These may be particular character sets or alphabets that you can’t deal with anyway or you might just say well even if I can deal with those I wouldn’t understand what they were anyway so there’s not really any point in delivering them to me.  So you can block either or both of those and choose from the available list to be specific about what you don’t want to see.  So having seen those let’s go back to that first Options tab again.

Now basically the settings here give you grades of protection and at the moment and by default, I’ve got the lowest level here.  No automatic filtering.  Mail from blocked senders is still moved to the junk email folder.  So if I specify that somebody’s a blocked sender, the email will still be accepted but it’ll be put in the junk email folder.  I’ll be able to look in the junk email folder later, maybe just check that what’s in there really is junk.

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If I were to choose the next setting which is low, then Outlook 2013 starts to use a little bit of its inbuilt intelligence and it will move the most obvious junk mail to the junk email folder.  Now it will be using those lists but it will also use some intelligence as well.  If I move to high most, junk email is caught but some regular mail may be caught as well.  Now in this setting, it still uses intelligence but it’s a little bit more Draconian in what it does.  It’s if you like it’s a little bit more suspicious and there’s an increased chance that regular mail will get moved into your junk mail folder or folders.  Now safe senders, you’ll still be fine.  Blocked senders will still be blocked.  But there is an increased chance that people who perhaps you haven’t defined in any list but are actually perfectly safe people to send to you they will get moved into junk mail.  So you need to check your junk mail folder more often.

Safe list only is one where only mail from people or domains on your safe senders list or safe recipients list will be delivered to your inbox.  So if somebody isn’t on the safe senders list or the safe recipients list then their email will just not get to your inbox.  It’ll finish up in your junk mail.

Now other very important control in this dialog is this one, this checkbox, Permanently delete suspected junk email instead of moving it to the junk email folder.  If you’re very confident in the setup of your junk mail options, then you can check this box and instead of junk mail being moved to the junk mail folder, it will be permanently deleted so it’s out of your system.  You won’t even necessarily notice it’s ever been there.  I tend not to have that set.  Partly because I’ve got good antivirus software running as well and partly because occasionally I find that something’s been marked as junk mail that isn’t really and I am prepared to spend the time just going through the junk mail from time to time and making sure that nothing has slipped through.  But that’s very much a case of personal preference.

The other thing you probably noticed was that when we switched on low, first of all there are these other two checkboxes were checked and either or both of these you may want to disable.  This one disables links and other functionality in fishing messages.  This is one where it’s trying to get you to log in to a site like a bank site that isn’t really the bank site.  It’s actually disguising itself as something else.  And this one is one where there are suspicious domain names in email addresses, something attempt to pretend to be one domain when they’re really something else, perhaps a slightly different spelling of a domain name that you would otherwise consider to be safe.

So these are basically the various options that you have.  I generally have mine set at either low or high.  Let’s put it at high for now.  I’m going to leave these two checked and that one unchecked.  Click on OK and then what I need to do is to basically process a couple of my incoming emails and I’ll show you what you do.  Once you’ve done this once or twice, you’ll find that it becomes more and more automatic.  Although from time to time you will need to look at something a little more closely.

So for the toby.a account let’s now process some incoming mail.  Microsoft email I consider to be safe.  If I right click on that particular message and click on the junk option near the bottom, I get an option; do I want to block the sender?  No.  Never block sender?  Of course.  Never block sender’s domain?  Now in this case anything I’m going to trust.  So I click on Never block sender’s domain.  The sender of the selected message has been added to your safe senders list.  I’m going to just suppress that message, click on OK.  Let me just go back into junk options again, click on safe senders, low and behold  Anything that I get from an email address that ends like that will now be considered to be safe.

Now let’s look at a different example.  What about Steve?  Now Steve is actually writing from one of my domains but let’s treat Steve as a special case.  Let’s say that for Steve, click on Junk, Never block sender.  Now let’s go back into junk again.  Let’s look at the safe senders.  Now I’ve got a domain,, and an individual, [email protected]  And that’s basically how it works.  If I also had an incoming mail from somebody that I didn’t want to get mail from, I’d block them and they’d appear on my block senders list.

So that’s it, setup of junk mail processing in Outlook 2013.  That’s the end of this section.  I’ll see you in the next one.
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