How to Whitelist Email Addresses

Whitelisting prevents spam filters from misdirecting emails

The best way to make sure the emails you really want to see don't end up in the spam box is to create a list of email addresses from people you know. While this is typically called a whitelist, the modern term is safelist.

The safelisting procedure differs slightly different from one email service to the next.

Laptop with email illustration
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Gmail Safelist Procedure

There is no quick checkbox in Gmail to add a sender email to an actual list of friends you want to keep out of the spam box. However, there are several effective ways to safelist your friends in Gmail.

Add Email Addresses to Contacts

Open your contacts list in Gmail. The fastest method is just to visit the Google Contacts link.

Create New Contact box in Gmail

On the Google Contacts page, select Create contact and fill out the Create new contact form. Google will send any incoming emails from your contact list directly to your inbox.

Safelist Spam Emails

Sometimes, a friend may send you an email that ends up in the Spam box before you've had a chance to safelist their email address. There's a quick way to fix that as well.

Gmail message in Spam box with the Spam X box highlighted

Open your Spam box by selecting Spam from the navigation bar, and find your friend's email. You'll see a Spam label at the top of the email. Click the x next to the label to remove it.

Add a Non-Spam Filter

One way to guarantee that your friend's incoming emails will never end up in the Spam box is to create a filter.

  1. From your inbox screen, select Settings (gear icon).

    The Settings gear in Gmail
  2. Select See all settings.

    The "See All Settings" button in Gmail
  3. Select Filters and Blocked Addresses from the navigation links at the top.

    Gmail settings with "Filters and blocked addresses" highlighted
  4. Select Create a new filter.

    Gmail settings with "Create a new filter" highlighted
  5. In the Search mail form, enter either an entire domain you want to safelist or a specific email address. Use domains to safelist anyone from a specific company. When you're done, select Create filter.

    Gmail settings Create Filter dialog with "Create Filter" highlighted
  6. On the next form, select Never send it to Spam. Finally, click Create filter.

    Gmail filter settings with "Never send it to spam" and "Create Filter" highlighted
  7. Once you're done, you'll see the new filter show up in the list of filters.

How to Safelist Yahoo Emails

Safelisting an email address in Yahoo is similar to Gmail. Either add the email address to your Yahoo contacts or create a filter.

Add a Yahoo Contact

In Yahoo Mail, select the Contacts card icon in the upper right corner of your Inbox. Select New Contact in the left navigation pane.

Screenshot of the Add Contact form in Yahoo Mail

Complete the Add Contact form with your friend's name and email address. Select Save to save the new contact. Yahoo will no longer place incoming emails from this email address to your Spam box.

Add a Filter in Yahoo Mail

Another way to keep your friends' incoming messages from Spam is to add a fliter that ensures the email lands in your inbox.

  1. Select the Gear icon in the upper right corner of your inbox and click or tap More Settings.

    Screenshot of More Settings in Yahoo Settings
  2. Select Filters from the left navigation menu then Add new filters.

    Screenshot of Add new filters in Yahoo Settings
  3. In the Add a new filter form, give the filter a name and fill out the domain or the email address you want to safelist. Select Save twice to activate the new filter.

    Screenshot of adding a new filter in Yahoo
  4. The filter now appears in the list of filters in the Filters window.

This filter move the incoming email from that address directly to your Inbox by default.

Outlook Safelist Procedure

If you're an Outlook Online user, safelsiting your friends is similar. Add Contacts to safelist friends or use the Safe Senders feature.

Add Contacts in

Adding contacts is just as easy as Gmail or Yahoo. Open your Outlook Online contacts by clicking the Applications icon at the upper left corner of the window then select the People application.

Screenshot of adding a contact in Outlook Online

Type the First Name, Last Name, and Email Address. When you're done, select Create to create the new contact.

Any email address listed in your Outlook contacts won't go to the Spam folder.

Add Contact to Safe Senders

Adding Safe Senders is a guaranteed way to keep friends out of your Spam box.

  1. Select the Gear icon in the top right corner of the window then select the View all Outlook settings link at the bottom of the list.

  2. In the Settings window, select Mail in the left navigation pane then Junk email in the navigation pane to the right of that. Under Safe senders and domains, click or tap Add.

  3. In the pop-up field, add an email address or entire domain to add to your Safe Senders list. Press the Enter key when you're done. Click the Save button to finish.

Any email from an address or domains in the Safe Senders list go directly to your Inbox.

Comcast Email Safelist

Comcast, otherwise branded as Xfinity, is one of the most popular Internet Service Providers in the country. For this reason, many people may need to safelist their friends using that service.

If you sign up for it, Xfinity provides customers with a free email account. There are several ways to safelist your friends with Xfinity.

Add an Xfinity Contact

Like the other email providers listed above, an easy way to keep friends out of the Spam box is to add them to your contact list.

To add an Xfinity contact, log into your email account and select Address Book in the top menu. Then, select the Create Contact icon. Complete and save the form.

Screenshot of the import contacts feature in Xfinity email

An even faster way to safelist emails of all of your friends is to import contacts from your other accounts.

When you click on Address Book, you'll see an Import contacts link in the left navigation pane. Click Get Started, and walk through the wizard to import existing contacts from your other accounts like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, or even a text file.

Add a Safelist Email Filter

Like Gmail and Yahoo, the best way to safelist friends in your Xfinity email account is to create a filter that guarantees the incoming email will go to your Inbox.

  1. Select the gear icon in the upper right corner and click or tap Settings.

    Screenshot of settings in Xfinity Mail
  2. Select Filter Rules, under Mail in the left navigation pane, then the Add New Rule button.

    Screenshot of adding new rules in Xfinity Mail
  3. Make the Rule Name your friend's name. Select Add condition and choose Sender/From. In the Contains field, type the email address or domain to safelist.

    Screenshot of adding a new rule in Xfinity Mail
  4. Select the Add action link then Keep. Save the new rule.

    Screenshot of adding an action to a rule in Xfinity Mail
  5. Once you're done, you'll see your new filter show up under Mail Filter Rules in Xfinity Mail settings.

By choosing "Keep", you're ensuring that incoming emails from that domain or email address will land in your inbox.

Email Safe List

In Settings, if you select Advanced Settings under Mail in the left navigation pane, you'll see a section titled Email Safe list.

If you enable Use email safe list, only emails that are on your email safe list will show up in your inbox. Every other incoming email will be discarded.

This appproach is ideal if you're only looking to use your Xfinity email account to communicate with a limited set of people. However, enabling this feature prevents anyone else from ever being able to send you an email.

This may be a great way to eliminate all forms of spam, but it also drastically reduces the usefulness of your email account.

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