How to Set Outlook to Accept Only Mail From Known Senders

Customize Outlook's junk email options

I need to empty my inbox
PeopleImages / Getty Images

You can set Outlook to display mail only from people you email and from those sources you designate as safe senders. Your contacts are automatically considered safe senders by the junk email filter, and anything that is not from those senders is sent to your junk email folder. This filter can be customized to suit your preferences.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007; and Outlook for Office 365.

Add to Your Safe Senders List

Follow these steps to add people to your Safe Senders list.

For Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010

Note that the screenshots are from Outlook 2016, and though versions such as 2010 may look somewhat different, the steps are the same.

  1. Go to the Home tab.

    Outlook 2016 Home tab selected
  2. In the Delete group, select Junk.

    Outlook 2016 Junk button in the Delete ribbon menu
  3. Select Junk E-Mail Options.

    Outlook 2016 Junk E-mail Options menu item selected
  4. In the Junk Email Options dialog box, select the Safe Senders tab.

    Outlook 2016 Safe Senders tab selected
  5. Select the Automatically add people I email to the Safe Senders List check box.

    Outlook 2016 checkbox selected to automatically add people you email to the safe senders list
  6. Select OK.

For Outlook 2007

To activate the Safe Senders list in older versions of Outlook, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Outlook Inbox.

  2. Select Actions > Junk E-mail > Junk E-mail Options.

    Outlook 2003 Actions menu, with Junk E-mail and Options selected
  3. In the Junk E-mail Options dialog box, select the Options tab.

  4. Select Safe Lists Only: Only mail from people or domains on your Safe Senders List or Safe Recipients List will be delivered to your Inbox.

    Outlook 2003 Junk E-mail Options window
  5. Go to the Safe Senders tab.

  6. Select the Automatically add people I e-mail to the Safe Senders List check box.

    Outlook 2003 Safe Senders tab with
  7. Click OK.

In addition to treating all your contacts as safe senders, Outlook gives you the option to add individual senders or domains to the safe list.

Of course, it is prudent to check the Junk E-mail folder for valid mail from time to time, in case one of your contacts obtains a new email address.