Computer Monitor screen concept of spam email

Email services automatically classify messages as “spam” if they look spammy. And in general, they do a pretty good job. But those filters aren’t perfect, and occasionally you may see messages you want getting sent to the spam folder.

How to Ensure You Always Get Emails From a Sender

We’ll go over a few tips for the most popular email services, but there are two tips that should work with just about any service out there:

  • First, add the sender’s email address to your contacts or address book. This tells your email service that you care about a particular sender’s emails. For example, if you always want to receive How-To Geek newsletter emails, add “newsletter@howtogeek.com” to your contacts. If you want to ensure messages from a friend are never sent to spam, add that friend’s email address to your address book instead.
  • Second, if a message ends up in spam anyway, go into your email client’s spam, select the message you don’t consider spam, and click “Not Spam” (or a similarly labeled button.) Your email client will learn about your preferences as you do this.

However, here are a few other tips for marking messages as legitimate in Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo.

Gmail

To preemptively stop a sender’s future messages from getting marked as spam, add that sender to your contacts.

To do this in Gmail, hover your mouse cursor over the sender’s name at the top of the email message. Click “Add to contacts” when the card appears.

Mouse over the sender's name and click "Add to Contacts."

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Let’s say an email from that sender was already marked as spam. In Gmail, open the email that was sent to spam. If you haven’t removed it from your Spam folder yet, click the “Not Spam” button at the top of the email.

Click "Not Spam" at the top of the email

Microsoft Outlook

In the Microsoft Outlook desktop program (not to be confused with Outlook.com, described below), there’s a special option that prevents emails from getting marked as spam. Click the “Junk” button in the Delete section on the ribbon and select “Never Block Sender”.

Click "Never Block Sender" in the menu

Outlook.com

Outlook.com considers emails from your contacts to be important, so you can simply add an email address to your contacts. Emails from that sender shouldn’t be marked as spam in the future.

To do this, click an email from that sender and locate the sender’s email address at the top of the email. Hover your mouse cursor over the sender’s name or email address and a pane will appear. Click the “…” menu button and click “Add to Contacts.” Enter whatever information you want for the contact and then click “Save” to add the email address to your contacts.

Mouse over an email address, click the "..." button, and select "Add to Contacts."

While Outlook.com will prioritize emails from your contacts, it may still send them to spam if they look unusually spammy. If emails continue getting sent to your spam even after you add the email address to your contacts, you can completely override the spam filter with the “Safe Senders” list.

To do so, click the gear menu at the top right corner of the Outlook.com website and then click “View All Outlook Settings.” Click the “Junk Email” option in the left pane. Add senders to the “Safe senders and domains” list to prevent Outlook from ever sending emails from them to your spam filter.

The Safe Senders and Domains list on Outlook.com

Yahoo! Mail

In Yahoo! Mail, add a sender to your contacts and its emails won’t get sent to spam in the future.

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To do so, open an email from that sender, mouse over the sender’s email address at the top of the email, and click “Add to contacts”. Enter whatever information you want for the contact and click “Save”.

Mouse over a sender and click "Add to contacts" in Yahoo! Mail.


For services and email clients not mentioned here, you can almost always prevent emails from getting sent to spam simply by adding the sender to your address book or contacts.

If your email service has an option to mark asย “Not Spam,” “Remove From Spam,” or something similar, you can always click that too. However, it’s generally better to add a sender to your contacts. That’s a clearer signal to your email service that you want to see emails from that sender.

Image Credit: devon/Bigstock .

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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