Dean recently lost his web domain as all the renewal email reminders from his registrar were getting marked as spam and, unfortunately, Dean did not care to check his spam folder.

We can’t really blame Dean for this because if someone receives a few hundred spam email messages in a day, it’s not always possible to manually review each and every mail in the junk list just to filter out the false positives.

What we therefore need is some sort of safe senders list or a white list of email addresses (and web domains) that should not be marked as spam by your email service.

Outlook Style Junk Email Filters in Gmail

Microsoft Outlook includes some excellent filtering options to help you minimize the risk of important emails getting marked as spam. Let’s see how we can go about implementing Outlook like safe filters in Gmail.

Safe Senders List - A list of domain names and e-mail addresses that you want to receive messages from.

Let’s say you want to create a white list in gmail such that none of the following emails are ever marked as spam:

  • All mails that have an edu in the sender’s address. (top level domain)
  • You work for xyz.com and don’t want to see mails from your boss or colleagues in the junk folder ever. (individual domain names)
  • Notification emails from Godaddy (specific email addresses)

You can put all this information in the From field of Gmail folder separated by the boolean OR operator and check the box that says “Never Send it to Spam”.

Tomorrow if you want to whitelist another domain or email address, simple modify the above filter and append the new names using the same OR operator.

Safe Recipients List - A list of email mailing lists and domain names that you belong to and want to receive messages from.

Sometimes emails sent to a mailing list may get marked as spam in Gmail as you’re not in the To: or CC: list. To avoid such a situation, you may add that mailing list address to your address book (or contacts list) and Gmail is unlikely to mark emails with that address as spam.

Alternatively, you can create a fool proof safe recipients list (as shown above) but now put the safe addresses in the To: field of your Gmail filter.

Blocked Senders List - A list of domain names and e-mail addresses that you want to be blocked.

If you want to block all emails that are either sent from a particular domain (say .ru or mtv.com) or the message is sent using some specific email address, use the following filter:

Matches: from:(.ru OR mtv.com OR spammer@xyz.com)
Do this: Skip Inbox, Delete it

This filter is really handy for blocking emails that may be from legitimate sources but don’t have the “unsubscribe” link – like that newsletter from MTV.

Also see: Master Gmail Search Commands