Use Hotmail Filters to Sort Mail and Block Email Addresses

Filter your Hotmail email to find messages, block unwanted mail, move messages to a folder, and delete junk. Learn how to use and Clean Email with your Hotmail account to do the job quickly and automatically.

Filter Your Hotmail Email and Keep Your Inbox Organized

You'll find several ways to filter your Hotmail email messages on You can use the built-in Hotmail filters to find messages that are unread, flagged, or have attachments. Create a simple rule if you receive messages that you want to move to a folder and deal with them later. You can also block email addresses or domains so that those messages don't appear in your Inbox.

Another way to keep your Inbox organized and manageable is to use filters in Clean Email to find messages by sender, status (read or unread), age, keyword, and more.

All filters feature in Clean EmailAll filters feature in Clean Email

Plus, Clean Email has other automation features that make your Inbox easy to manage. When you know how to filter emails in your Hotmail account, only essential messages remain in your Inbox.

Built-in Hotmail Filters has several built-in filters. You can use these filters to show certain types of emails, such as unread messages, flagged emails, or mail with attachments. To use these filters, go to the top of your mail list and select the Filter drop-down menu to see your options.

Search emails in Outlook web appSearch emails in Outlook web app also has built-in email filtering features that sort and move messages automatically. For example, the Hotmail spam filter settings keep junk mail out of your Inbox.

When you want to apply the same filter action to certain types of incoming mail, set up a Hotmail rule. These rules contain the information Outlook needs to move emails to specified folders and to delete, categorize, or forward messages.

Hotmail uses rules to filter messages automatically according to the parameters you set, making it easier for you to organize and manage your mailbox. For example, you could set up a rule to send notices about a new issue of your favorite magazine to your Read Later folder or mark the receipts from your recent purchases as important.

How to Filter Emails in Hotmail Using Rules

Outlook makes it easy to create a rule. All you do is start with a message, tell the mail service how you want it to handle all the messages from that sender, and Outlook does the rest of the work. After you create the rule, all emails from that sender are dealt with the same way automatically.

Here's how to filter emails in Hotmail by creating a simple rule that moves messages from a specified sender to a folder on Outlook web:

  1. Choose a message from that sender.
  2. Select the More icon (the three horizontal dots in the toolbar). Then choose the Rules option and click Create rule.
  3. Pick Rules → Create rulePick Rules → Create rule
  4. In the Create a rule dialog box, select a folder (e.g. Archive) where you want to move the messages.
  5. How to filter emails in HotmailHow to filter emails in Hotmail
  6. Select Done.

You can make changes to your rules so that Outlook does more than move messages to a specified folder. For example, you can also forward messages from a sender to someone else, pin messages to the top of your Inbox, categorize the messages, or mark them as read.

If you use the Outlook desktop app and to access your Hotmail messages, the rules you create in can't be edited in the desktop app.

When you want to make changes to a rule, follow these steps:

  1. Select Settings (the gear icon).
  2. Select the Settings gear icon on the top rightSelect the Settings gear icon on the top right
  3. Go to the Mail tab, then click Rules.
  4. Find the rule you want to change and select the Edit rule (pencil icon).
  5. Make changes to the rule, such as adding a condition, action, or exception.
  6. When you've made the changes, select Save.
Create rules in HotmailCreate rules in Hotmail

You can also create several rules that run in a specified order. After making the rules, use the Move rule up and Move rule down buttons to place the rules in the order you want them to run.

How to Change Spam Filters in Hotmail

Spam messages can be annoying, and the Hotmail spam filter sends most of those emails to the Junk Email folder. If you find that Outlook isn't sending enough spam to the Junk folder, or maybe it marks too many messages as spam, change the email protection level by telling Outlook which messages to block or allow.

Improve the Work of the Hotmail Spam Filter

In Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2021, 2019 and 2016 for Windows, you can change your email protection level, which determines how many emails are marked as junk. The higher the level, the greater the risk that even legitimate messages are identified as spam and moved to the spam filter.

There are four email protection levels in Hotmail:

  • No Automatic Filtering
  • Low
  • High
  • Safe Lists Only

By default, the protection level is set to No Automatic Filtering, which essentially turns off the Junk Email filter. Low marks only obvious junk mail as spam while High captures more “spam” sounding messages. It may also occasionally capture legitimate messages, so you should always check your Junk E-mail folder.

Safe Lists Only is the most restrictive since only messages from senders on your safe list pass the filter. Everything else is marked as Junk.

To change protection levels, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Home.
  2. Click on Delete group.
  3. Go to Junk, then click Junk E-mail options.
  4. Choose the protection level.

If you’re still getting a lot of spam messages and it’s getting overwhelming reviewing all of them, you can just automatically delete them. Just take note that this will involve any false positives. To achieve this:

  1. Click on Home in Mail.
  2. Go to Junk, then click on Junk Email Options.
  3. Tick on the Permanently delete suspected junk mail instead of moving it to the Junk E-mail folder box.

💡 Note: This guide only applies to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, 2003 and Outlook for Microsoft 365.

How to Change Junk Mail Settings in Hotmail

You can find your lists of safe and block senders in the Outlook web app. To find the Hotmail junk mail filter settings, follow these steps:

  1. Select Settings (the gear icon).
  2. Go to the Mail Junk email tab.
  3. Then, add or remove addresses from the relevant lists.
Press +Add to add a contactPress +Add to add a contact

Along with adding and deleting addresses from your safe and blocked lists, you can change how the spam filter works. You can change the Hotmail filter so that only emails from Safe senders and Safe mailing lists are delivered to your Inbox, and all other messages go to the Junk Email folder.

Also, if you receive emails with attachments, pictures, and links from people you don't trust, tell Outlook to mark those messages as junk unless the sender is on your Safe senders and domains list.

How to Turn Off Hotmail Spam Filter

There isn't a way to turn off Hotmail spam filter. If you find too much mail is being moved to the Junk email folder, your best option is to add the senders you don't want to be marked as spam to your Safe Senders lists.

If you use your smartphone to manage your email, you can set up the Android email spam filter or the iPhone email filter to move unwanted messages out of your Inbox.

Stop Hotmail to Mark Emails as Spam

To stop Hotmail from marking messages from a specific sender as spam, do the following:

  1. Go to the Junk Email folder
  2. Choose a message and right-click it.
  3. Navigate to Report and select Not Junk.
  4. How to change spam filters in HotmailHow to change spam filters in Hotmail
  5. Confirm that you want to move the message to your Inbox.

You also have the option to specify that all future emails from that address will not be marked as junk. Selecting this option adds the address to your Safe senders and domains list.

Filter Junk Mails Better With Clean Email

If you need a more automated way to stop spam emails but can’t risk deleting any important messages, Clean Email offers better alternatives. It provides tools for advanced email filtering and effective junk mail management that you can take advantage of.

Save Time With Cleaning Suggestions

Manually reviewing the Junk Mail folder to delete Hotmail emails is time-consuming and there are better ways to spend that time. Clean Email automatically analyzes your messages, including junk emails, to make logical Cleaning Suggestions on how to organize them.

Based on similar messages received from the past and how you’ve categorized them, Clean Email makes suggestions and gives you shortcuts so you can quickly determine the necessary actions for all of your messages. Some of these actions include:

  • Marking as Spam
  • Deleting the message
  • Moving to a new folder
  • Assigning a label
  • Keeping only the Newest message
  • Archiving the message

If you keep accepting the same suggestions, such as Delete or Mark as Spam, Clean Email can automate the process and prevent these emails from getting delivered to your inbox by creating an Auto Clean rule.

Here’s how to use Cleaning Suggestions:

  1. Access Cleaning suggestions via:
    • The Home Page shortcut “Explore Cleaning Suggestions”.
    • The Suggestions button in the left-hand navigation menu.
    • The top of applicable Smart Folders.
  1. Review each suggestion for different messages.
  2. Cleaning Suggestions feature in Clean EmailCleaning Suggestions feature in Clean Email
  3. Click the button with the suggestion to accept it or select the drop-down button beside each suggestion to access other recommended actions.
  4. If you don’t want to follow any of the suggestions, just click the Dismiss icon to ignore the suggestion.

Automatically Categorize Messages to Smart Folders

Another way to save time from manually sorting through your Hotmail junk messages is to use Clean Email’s Smart Folders. These are predefined filters that apply to your mailbox that you can use to organize emails, making it easier to review them within minutes.

There are over 30+ predefined filters that automatically apply to messages so they can be categorized as Social notifications, Top senders, Finance and Insurance, You are CC-ed, Misc notifications, and more.

You can check each folder and evaluate the messages if they should be deleted, moved, or re-labeled. It’s a handy feature to find important emails in a specific category and to delete unwanted messages in bulk.

📌 Important: Any emails marked as Spam in Clean Email will also be labeled the same in Hotmail. This means you can completely rely on Clean Email to keep your Hotmail inbox free from unwanted messages.

Stop Massive Junk Mail With the Screener Tool

If you’re the victim of subscription bombing or spam attacks, where you receive thousands of unwanted emails in a short period, then you need more than filtering with the Smart Folders. Subscription bombs and loads of incoming spam are beyond the capabilities of an email provider’s ordinary spam filters. To successfully stop it, you need a dedicated tool.

Clean Email’s Screener tool helps you stop these unwanted messages instantly. It collects all messages from unknown senders in a separate spot outside your Inbox, where you can review them and block, unsubscribe in bulk, or perform other actions.

Stop spam emails with Screener feature in Clean EmailStop spam emails with Screener feature in Clean Email

📌 Tip: If you receive a lot of promotional mail that you don't read or want, use the Unsubscriber tool to get rid of newsletters and promotional emails instantly.

Automate Hotmail Filtering With Clean Email’s Auto Clean Tool

When you're looking for an email filter service that works with your Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, or other email accounts, Clean Email can do the job for you. Along with filtering your mail, Clean Email can perform other organization and management tasks that save you time and keep your Inbox uncluttered.

The app's Auto Clean feature works like rules in Outlook web. You can set up Auto Clean rules that apply an action you specify to your incoming emails. For example, you can mark social notifications as read, move messages to your Read Later folder, or archive messages in your Inbox that have been sitting there for six months.

Here's how to filter incoming emails using Clean Email:

  1. Select the message or messages for which you want to create a rule.
  2. Go to the blue toolbar and click Create Rule. In the dialog box that appears, select an action under the Apply Action section, such as Trash, Mark Read, Read Later, or other.
  3. Send emails to Trash automatically with Clean EmailSend emails to Trash automatically with Clean Email
  4. Click the Create Rule button again and the rule is set.

To see the rule, go to the left pane and select Auto Clean. From here, you can pause, resume, edit, and delete the rule.

Auto Clean feature with Clean EmailAuto Clean feature with Clean Email

How to Search Hotmail

To search for specific emails in Hotmail, you can either (1) search directly in the top search box or (2) use Advanced Search filters.

  1. On your Outlook email dashboard, look for the Search Email text box and type your search term. Press Enter to reveal several search results.
  2. Search emails in OutlookSearch emails in Outlook
  3. If you want more precise search results, select Filters on the Search bar. Enter one or more parameters such as From (the sender), To (the recipient), Subject (any term in the subject field), and Date (range of dates when email was received).
Search emails in Outlook desktop appSearch emails in Outlook desktop app

Fast Search in the Clean Email App

If you’re already using Clean Email, there’s a faster and more precise way to search through your Hotmail Inbox. With Smart Folders, you have access to wide filtering options, including filtering messages by niche, such as Travel, Productivity tools, Seasonal Sales, and Online shopping.

Smart Folders feature in Clean EmailSmart Folders feature in Clean Email

Here’s how to use advanced search filters in Clean Email:

  1. Open All Mail or your Inbox.
  2. Go to the Search Bar at the top of the main view.
  3. Enter the main keyword or phrase you’re looking for.
  4. Search emails with Clean EmailSearch emails with Clean Email
  5. Clean Email displays several filters to further refine your search.
  6. Choose additional filters to narrow the list of message groups displayed.
  7. All filters feature in Clean EmailAll filters feature in Clean Email
  8. You can also choose from frequently used filters from the left-hand menu such as Unread, Old Mail or Large Mail for easier access.
Sort by Unread in Clean EmailSort by Unread in Clean Email

💡 Note: Clean Email groups messages by sender (name and email) by default, so you can apply actions to all messages from a specific sender at once. This includes unsubscribing or deleting unwanted messages in bulk.

It’s important to mention that you'll never have to worry about Clean Email reading your messages. Only the message headers, such as the sender's email address and subject line, are used to filter, sort, and manage your mail. Your personal data is always safe and secure.

How to Filter Email on Hotmail - FAQs

How do I view my filters in Hotmail?

When you want to view the list of rules you created, go to Settings, select View all Outlook settings, and select the Rules tab. The order in which rules appear is the order in which the rules are processed when new mail arrives in your Inbox. To run a rule, select the Run button to the right of the rule name.

How do I change filter settings in Hotmail?

When you want to change how your rules filter your messages, go to Settings, select View all Outlook settings, and go to the Rules tab. From here, you can add, edit, and delete rules. You can also change the order in which rules are processed and turn off rules temporarily.

What does filter mean in Hotmail?

Filters are how Hotmail sorts, organizes, and manages your mail. Hotmail contains some built-in filters, and you can create your own filters by setting up rules that specify the conditions messages must meet, the action to be performed, and any exceptions to the rule. These rules are then applied to messages as they arrive in your Inbox.

How do I turn off the junk filter in Hotmail?

You can't turn off the junk filter in Hotmail, but you can choose which messages to mark as spam. To prevent messages from being marked as spam, add those email addresses to your safe senders list. To mark messages as spam and send them to the Junk email folder automatically, add those email addresses to your blocked senders list. Go to Settings, choose View all Outlook settings, and select the Rule tab to find these lists.

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