How do I use Outlook to filter mail using the SpamAssassin score?

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Outlook allows you to create custom filters to handle mail. You can use the filters to organize email by moving, deleting, copying or forwarding it. Filters are applied to different email accounts and more than one filter can be used.

Note that filters you create in Outlook only work when you read your mail in Outlook. The filters won’t always be applied if you sometimes read mail using Webmail or an iPhone, for example. If you’re looking for a more robust (but also more complicated) option that works no matter what device you use to read mail, you may want to consider using Sieve filtering, setting up Outlook to read mail using IMAP so it can see the folders on the server.

In the example below, we show how you can delete messages that have a high SpamAssassin score for Outlook 2000, although other versions are similiar.

1. Open the "Message Filters" window

After starting Outlook, click Tools, then Rules Wizard...

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2. Create a new rule

Click New.

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3. Select the type of rule

Select Check messages when they arrive, then click Next to continue.

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4. Select the conditions for the rule

Check with specific words in the message header, then click the underlined specific words link.

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5. Enter the words

In our experience, a message with a score of 7 or more is almost always spam. Add a rule that filters messages with 7 or more asterisk in the "X-Spam-Level" header:

Enter X-Spam-Level: ******* as shown in the image below, then click OK to continue.

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6. Decide what to do with matching messages

Outlook allows you to do a number of things with matching messages. In this example we simply delete them.

Check delete it, then click Next.

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In real life, we don't really recommend deleting messages without looking at them. You may wish to instead put them in a folder you glance at once a day, or something like that.

7. Save the rule

Click OK to save the rule.

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The SpamAssassin filter should now be applied to any new messages that you receive.