How to Recover Mail From the Outlook Junk Mail Folder

Businessman using laptop
StockUnlimited

What to do if a good email has been filtered to the "Junk E-mail" folder by the Outlook spam filter.

Spam Filters Can Be Wrong, and You Can Correct The Mistake

Microsoft Outlook comes with a junk mail filter that is quite effective—and reasonably precise, too. It files most junk emails in the Junk E-mail folder, and filters mostly junk emails to this folder.

Still, false positives—good messages mistakenly marked as spam and moved to the Junk E-mail folder—can and do occur in Outlook.

Fortunately, reviewing the spam folder is easy, as is recovering the missing messages to the Inbox.

You may even teach the Outlook spam filter a lesson, this time about what a good email looks like.

Recover Mail From the Junk Mail Folder in Outlook

To move an email from your spam folder to the inbox and, optionally, secure future messages from the same sender from being treated as junk in Outlook 2013:

  1. Open the Junk E-mail folder in Outlook.
  2. Now open or highlight the email message you want to recover from the spam folder.
  3. If the email is open in the reading pane or just highlighted in the folder list:
    • Make sure the HOME ribbon tab is visible.
  4. If the message is open in its own window:
    • Make sure the ribbon tab is active and expanded in the message’s window.
  5. Click Junk in the Delete section.
  6. Select Not Junk from the menu that appears.
    • You can also press Ctrl-Alt-J.
  7. To add the sender to your safe senders’ list (messages from their addresses are never treated as spam):
  1. Click OK.

Outlook automatically moves the message to your Inbox or the message's previous folder, where you can read and work on it.

Recover a Message from the Junk E-mail Folder in Outlook 2003/7

To mark a message not spam in the Outlook Junk E-mail folder:

  • ›› Step by Step Screenshot Walkthrough (using Outlook 2003)
    1. Go to the Junk E-mail folder.
    2. Highlight the message you want to recover.
    3. Click the Not Junk toolbar button.
      • Alternatively, you can press Ctrl-Alt-J (think junk) or
      • select Actions | Junk E-mail | Mark as Not Junk... from the menu.
    4. If you want to add the sender of the email you have just recovered to your list of trusted senders, make sure Always trust e-mail from "{email address}" is selected.
    5. Click OK.

    (Updated October 2016, tested with Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016)