When I first read Sven Mogelgaard’s column titled Manage email spam, since you’ll never be rid of it I though that it would make an excellent segue into a post about fighting spam. Mostly, because I agree with the headline; spam will never go away and spammers will always seek new ways to bypass anti-spam filters so proper management has to be included in any anti-spam strategy.
However, as I read the column past the headline I realized that it spoke more about managing all emails, not just spam. He addresses spam by offering the old standby tip of setting up a separate email account for junk mail, but that is as far as it goes in addressing spam. The rest of the column offers some great tips on keeping your inbox from becoming rapidly cluttered with messages you are going to “read later.” Namely, creating folders and then setting up rules to automatically route emails to these folders so you can read them later without having them clutter up your inbox and distracting you from the more important messages you may need to read.
Rules in Outlook
This is a great piece of advice, and one I use regularly. However I do remember telling my co-workers to do the same and having them look at me like I asked them to perform a triple-bypass, blindfolded.
To help you help your users create folders and lists, here is a step-by-step guide you can point them to.
In this brief tutorial we are going to deal with the onslaught of newsletters that fill your inbox. Now of course we are talking about the legitimate ones you signed up for with the intention of actually reading at one point. Not the ones that you receive because you signed up for some get rich quick advertisement or a quick weight loss program.
Step 1 – Switch to the Folder tab and click on the New Folder icon. This brings up the Create New Folder dialog box.
Step 2 – The name, Generic Mail Folder will be the default. This won’t work so you need to rename it. If you are going to put all newsletters in this folder, name it Newsletters. If it is going to be a specific type of newsletter, lets say for investment information call it Investment Newsletters. Click OK when you are done.
Easy enough, right? Now you can go back and file all of your unread email messages under that new folder.
While you are doing that, make note of subject lines, sender addresses or anything else that might identify the emails you want to store in this folder. You will need them for the next set of steps.
Creating a rule
Rules allow you to tell your email client how to handle mail with certain criteria. In this example, we are going to send newsletters from a specific email address to the Newsletters folder we created earlier. Rules can be set for just about any email client, for this example though we are going to be using Outlook 2010.
Step 1 – On the Home tab, click on the Rules icon. From here, click on Create Rule…
Step 2 – Give the rule a name, for this one Newsletters will work just fine.
Step 3 – Now you need to set the conditions that the email needs to meet and tell your email client what to do with those emails. Under the section that reads When a new message arrives that meets these conditions make sure that you set the first condition to From à Is and then enter the email address of the sender. (If there are any other conditions you can delete them.)
Step 4 – In the section that reads Do the following select Move to folder à Newsletters. Now click on OK.
That’s it, the rule is set and your email inbox will be much more manageable. Go ahead and set up more rules for other items that clutter up your inbox but aren’t considered junk mail.
As an email admin, teaching your users to better manage their email will help you better fight spam. If there legitimate subscriptions and alerts are sent to folders for review, they know that anything else that looks out of place may be spam and can handle these messages according to your organization’s policies.