One of the biggest frustrations people can have with email is when they miss important emails due the email they need going to their spam folder. Gmail has one of the most effective SPAM folders out there, and normally the spam folder is full of non-important emails that you really don’t want to see anyways. The same can be said of Yahoo! and Outlook.com.  But what about the few that slip by - the ones that end up in your spam folder when you want them in your inbox? In these cases you want to whitelist (or mark as safe) these senders. But doing that can sometimes seem confusing. To help with this we are providing simple instructions on how to do this with each of the big 3 email providers.

 

Gmail: Let’s start with the one I know best. There a few ways to do this is Gmail - so let’s look at each one.

The first step with Gmail is to move the message from your spam folder to your inbox. This is quite easy - to do this go to your spam folder, right click on the message and select “not spam”.  Now the message is in your inbox and you can complete one the following options.

  1. Add the sender to your contacts
    • In your inbox - you will see the message listed - simply hover your mouse over the sender  (so on the left of the message where the sender’s name is listed)
    • On the pop-up that opens click on “contact info”
    • A new window or tab will open with the contact’s info.
      • To save the contact as it appears simply click on the “add to contacts” icon on the top right of the window (looks like a small silhouette with a plus sign beside it)
      • To edit the name or other information click on the “edit contact” icon on the top right the window (looks like diagonal pencil), edit the contact as desired and hit “save” at the bottom right.
    • Most of the time - that will be sufficient to make sure these message don’t go to spam, the next method (which is quite a bit longer) is actually the “official” way of whitelisting in gmail;
  2. Whitelist the sender or domain (the official, albeit longer method)
    • Go to you account settings.
      • Click on the “gear” icon at the top right of your gmail window
      • Select “settings” from the drop-down menu
    • From the options along the top - select “filters and blocked addresses”
    • Click “Create a new filter” at the bottom
    • In that new window that pops up, you have two options now;
      • To whitelist a specific email do the following:
        • Type the email address you want to whitelist in the From field. This would be something like person@example.com, of course replacing the email account and domain name with the one that corresponds to what you want to whitelist.
      • To whitelist a domain (so any email that comes from a domain) do the following:
        • To whitelist a domain in Gmail, just exclude the account, like @example.com. This will apply to any email address on the “example.com” domain.
      • Tip: If you’re wanting to whitelist more than one email address or domain, you don’t have to repeat this step for each one. Instead, put a break between the separate accounts, such as person@example.com|person2@anotherexample.com|@example2.com.
    • If you don’t want to adjust any of the other options for a more specific filter, go ahead and click the link called Create filter with this search >>.
    • Place a check in the box next to Never send it to Spam.
    • Click Create a filter to save the changes.

 

Yahoo!: This one is actually pretty easy, but let’s have a look.

Again, as with Gmail, there are two ways to do this in Yahoo!. Now - to give credit where it is due - as I am not familiar with Yahoo - these are the instructions from Onlinegroups.net.

  1. First, check your Yahoo! Bulk folder. If you see an email in there from someone you want to add to your whitelist, simply highlight it and click on the “Not Spam” icon. Future emails from this person or entity should now automatically go to your inbox.  This, of course, is only effective after you have recieved an email - if you want to head this one off at the pass - you need to create a filter.
  2. You can create a filter to automatically send emails from certain domains to your inbox.
    • Mouse over the Settings menu icon and select Settings
    • Click Filters and then Add
      • Enter a Filter Name
      • Either
        • enter the domain of the email you want to whitelist in the Sender field, or
        • enter the email address of the person you want to whitelist in the Recipient field
    • Select Inbox as the folder to deliver the email to
    • Click Save and then click Save again
  3. Tips:
    • Do not enter email addresses in both the Sender and Recipient fields as Yahoo! Mail will only filter in emails that meet both criteria
    • In both the Sender and Recipient fields, you can enter either a specific email address or an entire domain
    • Create a new filter for each domain or email address you want to whitelist

 

Outlook.com: These instructions are paraphrased from Lifewire.com

To add an address or domain to Safe Senders in Outlook:

  1. To do this before recieving an email:
    • Select Actions | Junk E-mail | Junk E-mail Options… from the menu in Outlook.
    • Go to the Safe Senders tab.
    • Click Add….
    • Type the email address or domain name you want to whitelist.
      • To add a single address, type “heinz@example.com”, for example.
      • To add a complete domain, type “example.com”, for example.
      • To make sure sub-domains are not automatically whitelisted when you add a domain, include the ‘@’ sign: “@example.com”, for example. In this case, mail from “person@example.com” will not be whitelisted.
    • Click OK.
    • Click OK again.
  2. If you already have a message from the sender you want to add to the Safe Senders list in your Outlook Inbox (or the Junk E-mail folder, of course), the procedure is even easier:
    • Open a message from the sender (or a sender at the domain) you want to add to Safe Senders.
    • Select Actions | Junk E-mail and then Add Sender to Safe Senders List or Add Sender’s Domain (@example.com) to Safe Senders List.

And that covers the step by step for the big 3 email providers.

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