How to Create Your Own Gmail Spam Filter

By Sarah Morse

You can waste a lot of valuable work time sorting through and deleting junk mail. In Gmail, Google catches and reroutes the most egregious spam offenders, but can miss email that you consider annoying. Theoretically, you can "teach" Gmail to recognize spam by checking off an offending email and clicking the exclamation point icon to report spam. This is not always the most efficient method, however. To prevent that email, or even that type of email, from hitting your inbox, create a custom spam filter.

Sign into Gmail and click the down arrow on the right side of the search box to show search options.

Enter the criteria for the custom spam filter into the corresponding text boxes, based on the emails you want to weed out. For example, if the emails always contain certain unique words, enter those words into the "Has the words" text box. If they always come from a certain sender, enter that sender's email address into the "From" text box.

Click "Create filter with this search" at the bottom of the search options.

Mark the "Apply the label" box and choose "New label" from the option list. Enter a name such as "Junk" or "Custom Spam." Check off the "Nest label under" box, choose "[Imap]/Trash" from the drop-down list and click "Create." Push "Create filter" to save your changes. This will route all the email meeting the criteria you set to a specific trash folder.

Check the folder, which will appear when you press the down arrow of your "[Imap]/Trash" folder, every once in a while to see that the filter's working properly. If necessary, adjust the criteria for the filter by clicking the gear icon, choosing "Settings," clicking the "Filters" tab and pushing "Edit" next to the correct filter.


You can start a filter from a specific message by placing a check mark next to it in your inbox, clicking "More" and selecting "Filter messages like these."