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Spam can be overwhelming and Outlook's Junk Email folder certainly helps, but it's not perfect and there are several strategies you can use to further refine the process and minimize the spam you receive. Start by clicking on the Junk Email folder in your folder list. Spammers will frequently put an image in their messages, sometimes one you can't even see, that lets them know that you have received a message and that you are a real-life person. You have two levels of protection against this. The very first thing you should do for this folder is turn off your preview pane. Go to the Organize tab and choose Reading pane. Select Hidden.
Now all you can see is your message list and you won't accidentally alert the spammer when you view the message. When you want to open a message, double- click on it and it will open in its own window. To close when you are done, you can click the red dot in the corner. If the Reading pane is hidden and you want to open it back up again, you can either go back up to the Reading pane, or see this little dot way down here? It's one of the best-kept secrets on your whole map. Anytime you see one of these little dots, click on it and drag it. Hey look! There is our preview pane if we needed.
Now here is another one of my favorite tools, Download pictures. By default, Outlook won't download the images from an email message without your permission. Not only will this prevent spammers from knowing you saw the message, but it also speeds up reading your email. If the pictures are large or if there were several, you will have to wait until Outlook retrieves the pictures of your server and that can take up to a few seconds. While images certainly enhance your emails, in a well-written email, there shouldn't be necessary for you to understand the message. If you get a message and there is nothing there, then the sender sends all the information through a picture instead of writing it in text.
That's a sure sign the message is advertising. None of your friends or co-workers would do that. When you trust that the sender of the message isn't a spammer and you do want to see the images, click over on this Download pictures button and they will appear. Now the message will appear with everything that the sender wanted you to say. There is one more way of preventing messages from landing in this folder if they are not supposed to. This message is from a friend of mine, Lisa, but something in the message tripped the Junk filter. Sure enough, she sent it to me from a different email address than I have stored in my contacts. I can easily remedy this.
When you hold your cursor over her name in the email message's header, a blue oval appears around it and this little menu pops up. Click on the last icon, Open Outlook Contact. If the name already exists, Outlook will add this new address to the card. If it doesn't exist, it will create a new contact on the fly. You are welcome to fill in any other information about the sender that you have handy. I will go ahead and click Save & Close. The next time a new message arrives from this sender, it will stay in the Inbox instead of being shunted to email and for this message, I can also tell it Mark as Not Junk and it will be moved back to my Inbox.
After I have scanned through all the messages in my Junk Email folder, to make sure any important email didn't get caught here, I can delete them all at once, preventing them from being marked as read, another tool a savvy spammer can use. While we are still on the Organize tab, here is a button for Delete All. Click on it. We will get a message asking us, are we sure we want to permanently delete all the messages in this folder? I will go ahead and say Delete and they are gone. My Junk folder is clear and ready for another batch. Making good use of the Junk Email folder's anti-spam tools will help you fight the proliferation of spam sent to your email address.
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