Spam and Outlook

Microsoft Outlook - @SeniorDBA

Many people don’t understand how a spam filter works, especially with the email software from Microsoft called Outlook. In my experience, people are confused about how emails are blocked, or how emails are filtered into the Junk Email folder inside Outlook.

Generally speaking, your email server is usually used to block common unwanted emails, known as spam. This means the email server has the ability built into the server software to detect and filter (block) emails from being delivered to your email interface, or there is some additional software installed and configured to perform that filtering process. This means less unwanted email is delivered to your inbox.

There is an additional feature built into Outlook that looks at the emails delivered to your Outlook client to determine if it should block the email and redirect it into your “Junk E-mail” folder.

Junk E-Mail - @SeniorDBA

Any email forwarded from your email server (usually Exchange, but could be Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) but identified as spam by our Outlook client will be automatically moved to your “Junk E-mail” folder. Depending on your spam filter settings inside the Outlook Options, you may find you missing emails in this folder. You may disable the filter, but that doesn’t mean all your emails will now be delivered to your Outlook inbox.

As we discussed already, the spam filter on the email server could have blocked the email, Outlook may move the email to Junk E-mail, or even your anti-virus software might have blocked the email. If you work with your team in you IT department, they have tools available that can tell them if the server ever received the email, if it was forwarded to our computer, if it was intercepted by your anti-virus software, etc. They will need to know the address of the person sending you the email, when it was sent, and the subject line (when known).

How can I disable the Outlook spam filter?

How can I mark emails detected as spam by Outlook as “not spam”?


Tips for Getting More Responses To Your Emails

According to a new analysis by the email-efficiency service Boomerang, using anonymized and aggregated data from more than 5.3 million messages, they have figured out which qualities made an email most likely to prompt a response. While this information is intended for email marketers and business solicitation emails, it can also be helpful in your everyday personal and business emails.

Here’s a summary of best practices from Boomerang for making your emails more likely to get a response:

  1. Use shorter sentences with simpler words. A 3rd grade reading level works best.
  2. Include 1-3 questions in your email.
  3. Make sure you include a subject line! Aim for 3-4 words.
  4. Use a slightly positive or slightly negative tone. Both outperform a completely neutral tone.
  5. Take a stand! Opinionated messages see higher response rates than objective ones.
  6. Write enough, but not too much. Try to keep messages between 50-125 words.

You can read more on the study here.

Respond to an Email Message With a Meeting Request

It isn’t that uncommon that you get an email in your Outlook email application and want to create a meeting request. It can be helpful if you get an email asking if you have some time for a meeting. Instead of replying with an email saying you will create a meeting request, but reply with a meeting request.  It may not be obvious how to reply to an email with a meeting request.

From Reading Pane View

The Reading Pane is the window in Microsoft Outlook where you can preview a message without opening it. To display the message in the reading pane, simply click on the message and view the contents of the email in the reading pane. When the message is in the reading pane, open the Home tab, and in the Respond group click Meeting.

From Navigation Pane View

The Navigation Pane is a column that provides access to folders used to organize your information. Click a folder to show the items it contains, similar to the standard Windows Explorer interface. It also includes the Favorite Folders section and buttons to switch between Mail, Calendar, Tasks and other views. In the Reading Pane, click the message that you would like to create a meeting reply to, then drag the email to the Calendar tab.

From an Opened Message

In an open (usually by double-clicking the email) message, open the Message tab, and in the Respond group click Meeting. Enter the location and start and end times as you do in any meeting request. You can also add or remove attendees, use Scheduling Assistant to find the best meeting time or add attachments.

When you respond to a message with Meeting Reply, a meeting request is created with everyone who was on the “To” line in the original message invited as “Required Attendees”, and everyone on the “cc” line is invited as an “optional attendee”.

Changing Your Email Address


So you have that email address from AOL and you wish you could change it for something newer or or more hip, but you can’t see yourself dealing with everything that needs to be addressed to make the change? You are not alone. It might be easier to physically move across the country than to change your email address. Jeff Fox has an article that provides some information on what to think about and what steps you need to remember when making the change.

Create a new address. Use a free e-mail service, such as Gmail, Yahoo,, etc. Don’t use an address assigned to you by your employer, school, or Internet provider, because you’ll be forced to drop it when your circumstances change.

Don’t delete the old e-mail address! You’ll need both your old and new addresses for awhile. After creating the new address, add it to the e-mail apps on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Test run. To make sure you can send e-mail OK using your new address on all your devices, use each device to send a test e-mail to your old e-mail account. To make sure you can receive e-mail OK at the new address, reply to each of those test messages.

Make a checklist. Make a list of all the sites and online services that use your old e-mail address. This will come in handy later as a checklist to keep track of which sites you have updated and which you still need to work on.

The list will probably be longer than you expect, especially if you have accounts with more than a few of these types of online services: Retailers, social networks and discussion groups, videoconferencing services, publications, banks, credit card companies, electronic payment services, entertainment services, phone services, health care providers, insurance companies, greeting card services, airlines, hotel chains, and car repair shops or dealerships.

You’ll need to read the entire article to make sure you are prepared for the tasks ahead.

Outlook Mistakes that May Disrupt Your Life


Just about everyone I know uses Microsoft Outlook for business email, and just about everyone I know uses about 5% of what Outlook can do to help with your email. There is an article by Eric Simson that lists some steps you can take to reduce the headaches caused by emails and when using Outlook.

  1. Regretting after Sending the Email
  2. Verifying the Recipient
  3. Set up MailTips Alerts for Common Mistakes

There is also some helpful tips here.