Outlook.com does not make this fix easy or obvious.
But neither do many email newsletter senders. The address they send “from” isn’t always what it appears to be.
Let’s take some steps in Outlook.com to stop email we want from going to the junk mail folder.
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How Do I Stop Email from Going to Junk in Outlook.com?
There are several steps you can take to stop email from landing in the junk folder:
- Add the email address to your Contacts
- Create a rule explicitly acting on email from the address
- Look for additional, perhaps hidden, “From:” addresses
- Add email addresses to the Safe Senders list
Add to Contacts
When viewing a message in Outlook.com, hover your mouse over the “From” address. Outlook.com displays a small card with information about the sender.
If you don’t move the mouse, the card will expand to include more information.
Underneath “Contact”, click on Show more.
Click on Add to contacts to add this email address to your contacts list. (In the resulting dialog, not shown, you can supply additional information if you like, but all you really need do is click Create to create the contact.)
In theory, adding an email address to your contacts signals Outlook.com that email from this address is less likely to be junk.
Create a rule
Even though Outlook.com doesn’t have a “never mark this as spam” rule option, we’re going to create a rule anyway, for reasons that will be clear in a moment.
Right-click on the message in the message list.
Click on Create rule. This will bring up the basic “Create a rule” box.
Click on More options to bring up an advanced Rules settings box.
For our purposes, the exact rule we create doesn’t really matter much. I recommend you select a “Mark message” action like Categorize, and then select an arbitrary category in the resulting list of options (not shown). Click Save when done. This will display a summary of the rules in effect.
If you examine this rule closely, you’ll see that the email address listed is not the same as that was shown earlier. Our “From:” address displayed on the message was “firstname.lastname@example.org”, but the email address exposed by creating this rule is “email@example.com”.
This is common. In order to meet email and anti-spam protocols, the email service that I use — Aweber — must clearly identify itself as the sender. This alternate “From:” address is encoded in the email headers you don’t normally see.1 Email programs may use either or both addresses when it comes to spam or junk detection. The email service sending newsletters you subscribe to may do similar things.
If your scenario exposes a different email address in this step, my next recommendation is to create a new Contact, similar to what we did above, with nothing more than that new email address. In my case, I would create a contact for “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
As before, the theory here is that having the email address in your contacts makes it less likely for outlook.com to mark email from that sender as junk.
Having exposed the actual “From:” address, we now have enough information to make entries to the feature designed for this purpose: the Safe senders list.
Click the gear icon in Outlook.com’s upper right and then click on View all Outlook settings. (Not shown.) In the resulting window, click on Junk email.
Underneath “Safe senders and domains”, click Add. (Not shown.)
You can add either specific email addresses (like email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org), or you can add the domains (like askleo.com or send.aweber.com) so that all email from those domains gets included in this list.
I’ve elected to include domains, as I trust all email from askleo.com and send.aweber.com will be newsletters I’ve explicitly requested (which should never be marked as junk).
Outlook.com also has a “Safe mailing lists” entry that I believe operates very similar to what we’ve done above.
The most important portion of our journey, however, has been identifying that “other” email address the email is sent from, and adding that as a safe sender. Having done so, hopefully the newsletters you subscribe to will arrive as planned.
Each week I publish articles like this covering a variety of tech topics and solutions, frequently including topics related to Outlook.com. Subscribe to Confident Computing — more articles that help you solve problems, stay safe, and increase your confidence with technology, delivered to your inbox once a week.
Hope to see you there soon,
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Footnotes & References
1: In this case, those headers (visible if you view the message source) included:
From: “Ask Leo! – Confident Computing” <email@example.com>
Sender: Ask Leo! – Confident Computing <firstname.lastname@example.org>
6 comments on “How Do I Stop Email from Going to Junk in Outlook.com?”
Interesting. I’ve never had to jump through all of these hoops in Gmail. I wonder why.
In my opinion Gmail still has the best spam filter. It’s not perfect, but you’re quite right: it’s rare that these types of steps are required there.
Absolutely correct… it isn’t perfect. Nothing ever is. I’ve had emails come in from subscribed addresses suddenly go to spam. Checking them and nothing has changed, even that encoding bit that one generally doesn’t see, and most likely don’t look for either.
Just vagaries of technology as far as I’m concerned. And only a handful have been sent there by trigger words in the body of the email.
I think that Gmail may be Spanish or similar… seems to be a situation of Kay Sarah Sarah.
I had a similar problem, but eventually realised that my service provider was moving stuff into Spam before my Outlook app downloaded it via IMAP. It seems that Outlook rules only work on the Inbox folder so it was impossible to unspam it within Outlook. For each sender I had to log into my Virginmedia email account and fix it there.
I just forwarded a Confident Computing newsletter to my outlook.com account to test something out and it went into the spam folder. :-)
The article says, “If you don’t move the mouse, the card will expand to include more information.”
However, it doesn’t do it for me as of June 5, 2020.