Can You Block Incoming Email in Outlook?

by Micah McDunnigan

It's easy for your inbox to fill up with hundreds, or even thousands, of emails if you aren't constantly sorting and deleting. Doing all this without missing anything important throughout the day can be difficult enough without having to sift through all the emails you keep getting that you don't want. Microsoft's Outlook client gives you options to keep these messages out of your inbox.

Blocking vs Sorting

Outlook is an email client; as such, it accepts the files that constitute emails from your email server for you to manage. You consequently cannot configure Outlook as a kind of email firewall that prevents messages from certain senders from ever making it onto your email provider's servers. You can, however, use Outlook to sort emails by certain criteria so they don't find their way to your inbox.

Blocked Senders

One way to block emails from your inbox is to use Outlook's "Block Sender" option to send emails right to your junk mail folder. You can add email addresses to this list by right-clicking on an email from a particular sender, moving your cursor over "Junk" in the menu that appears, then selecting "Block Sender."

Automatically Deleting With Rules

The junk mail folder isn't the only place you can automatically place unwanted mail messages. By creating rules for how Outlook should handle incoming messages, you can divert emails from a particular sender anywhere you want, including the trash. You can do this by clicking on the "File" tab, then clicking on "Manage Rules & Alerts" and pulling up the "E-mail Rules" tab. You'll then see the templates for creating a new rule by clicking on "New Rule." You can tell Outlook to sort mail by any number of criteria, including the sender's email address, certain words or phrases in the email's subject line or body or even other message recipients.

Updating Rules

Outlook rules are not set in stone once you create them. You can add criteria, remove criteria or change how matching messages are handled by editing rules. You can do this by returning to Email Rules, clicking the check box next to the rule you want to change, clicking "Change Rule" and selecting the menu item for the change you wish to make.

About the Author

Micah McDunnigan has been writing on politics and technology since 2007. He has written technology pieces and political op-eds for a variety of student organizations and blogs. McDunnigan earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.

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