We’ve all gotten those pesky emails. Perhaps they don’t even deserve to be categorized as “emails.” They are more than an email; they are a forward! Nooooo! OK, so I’m probably exaggerating them a little, but not by much, don’t you think?
Forwarded emails are inconvenient. You may think it’s a little harsh to lump them in with spam (referring to the introduction picture), but they essentially are – not technically, but in terms of what we consider significant in our inbox, they could as well be spam.
If you have many chronic forwarders (contacts who forward everything), your inbox is likely to be clogged with emails you never plan to read. Sure, you could ask the person (or people) to stop sending you forwards, but what if they’re tough to deal with, or if they keep sending you forwards even after you’ve asked them to stop? Fortunately, there are strategies to cope with this on your own rather than depending on others’ behaviors to change.
Setting Up Folders & Filters
Filters and folders, which are available in most email applications, are the key to keeping forwards out of your inbox. We have a detailed post that explains how to accomplish this in Gmail, Hotmail (formerly Outlook.com), and Yahoo Mail. If you have any or all of these online mail accounts, this article is your best buddy.
What if you don’t have Gmail, Outlook.com (not the desktop application), or Yahoo Mail? Do you have an AOL or other webmail account? If this is the case, there are probably methods to create folders and filters in them as well. However, I strongly advise you to check at Gmail or Outlook.com as alternatives. Both Gmail and Outlook.com allow you to import email from another account without changing your email address (though it would be a good idea to do so if your email address is anything like firstname.lastname@example.org).
We’ve already covered how to accomplish this with Hotmail and Gmail, but if you don’t have an Outlook.com account, the procedure with Gmail will be comparable to any webmail client. I’ve also published an essay on Hotmail/Outlook.com and how to regain control of your email on MakeUseOf. This involves setting up filters and folders, as well as keeping on top of incoming email. Although the article refers to it as Hotmail, the features have not changed.
There are methods to do this with desktop clients as well. Here are links to two of the most popular clients: Microsoft Outlook and Thunderbird.
Now that we’ve proven that building filters is the most effective approach to handle forwards, let’s see which webmail software makes it the simplest to do so – Outlook.com or Gmail. Gmail has always been the go-to email software for creating filters and organizing messages using labels, and they’ve now made it even simpler.
That’s all there is to creating a filter. Once you’ve specified how Gmail should detect the filter, click “Create filter with this search” and choose what Gmail should do with the emails.
There is an other method, which is described in the post I previously referred to on setting up filters in Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. This was written before to Gmail’s update, but it is still applicable, and you may construct filters in this manner as well.
To filter by a phrase like “Fwd” or “Fw” in Outlook.com, go to Options, then More mail options. Click Rules for sorting new messages under Customizing Outlook. Select New. To exclude forwards, change the dropdown menu in Step 1 to Subject and the dropdown menu next to it to contains, then write fwd in the text area below it.
Which choice you pick in step 2 depends on whether you want to utilize a new or prior folder. If you’ve previously established a folder for your forwards, choose it from the dropdown menu next to “Move to Inbox.” If you haven’t already done so, enter the name of the folder into the “Move to a new folder” text area.
Outlook.com has various different ways for quickly filtering out senders. In reality, this is Outlook’s strong suit, and it’s rather astonishing how simple it is to organize emails today with Sweep, Categories, Folders, and Flags.
Both include additional choices that enable you to remove the message before it reaches your inbox. If you are absolutely certain, and I mean absolutely certain, that you will never need to read any forwards, this isn’t a terrible alternative, but “blocking” may be problematic since it takes away your discretion. I would much better advocate bypassing the inbox and sending to a folder. This lets you to retain the email while not having to worry about it filling up your inbox.
The main line is that you should utilize whatever one makes you the most comfortable. If you use Gmail and wish to test Outlook.com (or vice versa), you may do so effortlessly. Also, please understand that I am not biased towards Outlook.com or Gmail; I simply believe that recommending Yahoo Mail, AOL, or any other web mail client that is far below par would be a disservice to you, leaving Gmail and Outlook.com as the two best options for managing not just your forwarded emails, but emails in general.
Filtering out forwards is really fairly straightforward. Not only can you filter out forwards, but we also receive a lot of graymail that has to be deleted and filtered out. James provided an amazing essay on how to remove and manage graymail. In fact, Outlook.com does a fantastic job doing this. I would even go so far as to claim that it makes it simpler to use than Gmail.
So, tell us, who is that one person that always forwards you? What are your thoughts on banning these emails vs avoiding the inbox? I look forward to hearing your ideas in the comments!
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