Save Your Sanity: Block & Filter Those Forwarded Emails

Aaron Couch 18-10-2012

We’ve all received them – those dreaded emails. Perhaps they don’t even deserve to be held in the same regard as “emails”. They’re worse than just an email, they’re a forward! Nooooo!  OK, so I’m probably dramatizing them just a tad, but not by much, wouldn’t you agree?


Forwarded emails are a pain. You might be thinking that it’s a bit harsh to put them in the same category as spam (referring to the introductory image), but frankly they practically are – not technically, but as far as what we view as important in our inbox, they might as well be spam.

If you’re cursed with multiple chronic forwarders (contacts who forward everything), your inbox is likely to be overloaded with emails that you never intend to read. Sure you could ask the person (or persons) to not send you forwards, but what if they’re difficult to deal with, or perhaps continue to forward them to you even after you’ve asked them to stop? Thankfully, there are ways to deal with this on your end instead of relying on others’ habits to change.

Setting Up Folders & Filters

block forwarded email

The magic in keeping forwards out of your inbox lies in filters and folders, which most email clients have. We have an article that extensively covers how to do this How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook Here's how to filter emails in Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook so you can better organize your inbox and stay productive. Read More in Gmail, Hotmail (now called and Yahoo Mail. This article is your best friend if you have any or a combination of these web mail accounts.

Now what if you don’t have Gmail, (not to be confused with the desktop program) or Yahoo Mail? Perhaps you have AOL or some other webmail account? If so, there are likely ways to create folders and filters in these too. However I highly recommend you look at Gmail or as an alternative. With both Gmail and you can actually import email from another account without having to change your email (although it might not be a bad idea to do that too if your email is something like


We’ve covered how to do this with Hotmail and Gmail How To Access Hotmail Email Messages from Your Gmail Account Read More , but if you have something different than an account, the process in Gmail would be similar for any webmail client. I’ve also personally written an article on MakeUseOf about Hotmail/ and how to get control of your inbox Easily Do A Complete Overhaul Of Your Hotmail Inbox, And Maintain It Have you seen or used Hotmail lately? Despite its rough past, it’s pretty nice and it surely gives Gmail a run for its… well, I was going to say "money" but both are free. Which,... Read More . This includes creating filters, folders and staying on top of new mail. The article refers to it as Hotmail, but the features haven’t changed in that regard.

As far as desktop clients go, there are ways to do this with them too. Below are two links of the more popular clients – Microsoft Outlook and Thunderbird.

Which Is Better For Filtering Forwards? Or Gmail?

Now that we have established that creating filters is the most efficient way to manage forwards, let’s take a look at which webmail client allows you to do this the easiest – or Gmail. Gmail has long been the go-to email client for establishing filters and organizing email through labels and recently they have made it quite a bit easier to do so.

block email forwarding


Above is all you have to do to create a filter. Once you fill out how you want Gmail to detect the filter, click “Create filter with this search” and choose what Gmail does with the emails.

block email forwarding

Now there is another way to do this, which is explained in the article I previously linked to regarding setting up filters in Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo. This was published before Gmail made this change, but is still relevant and you can create filters that way as well.

In order to filter by a term such as “Fwd” or “Fw” in, you must go to Options, then More mail settings. Under Customizing Outlook, click Rules for sorting new messages. Click New. If you want to filter out forwards you might change the dropdown menu in Step 1 to Subject and the dropdown menu next to it to contains then type fwd in the text field below it.


block email forwarding

In step 2, deciding if you want to use a new or previous folder will decide which option you use. If you’ve already created a folder that you want your forwards sent to, select it from the dropdown menu where “Move to Inbox” is. If you haven’t created it yet, type the name of the folder in “Move to a new folder” text field.

block forwarded email has several other options allowing you to easily filter out senders. In fact, this is a strong point in Outlook and it’s quite impressive how easy it is to manage emails now with Sweep, Categories, Folders, and Flags.


Both have other options which allow you to delete the message before it even comes to your inbox. If you are 100%, and I mean one-hundred percent, positive that you won’t ever need to read any forwards, this isn’t a bad option, but “blocking” can be dangerous as it takes away your discretion. I would much rather recommend choosing the setting to skip the inbox and send to a folder. This allows you to still keep the email, but also not worry about it clogging up your inbox.

The bottom line is you should use whichever one you feel most comfortable with. If you use Gmail and want to give a try (or visa versa), you can easily do that How To Play With Without Giving Up On Gmail I don’t think you will be changing over from Gmail to too soon. Definitely not brand loyalty, but certainly our email habits which makes that change just a future prospect. Gmail is great by... Read More . Also, please realize that I am not biased towards or Gmail, I simply feel I would be doing a disservice to you by recommending Yahoo Mail, AOL or any other web mail client that is far below par and that leaves Gmail and as the two best options for managing not just your forwarded emails, but emails in general.


Really, filtering out forwards is quite simple. And it’s not just forwards that you can filter out – we get loads of graymail that needs to be removed and filtered out. James wrote an excellent article on removing and managing graymail Grey Mail: The New Email Nuisance To Hit Your Inbox Spam has been the bane of email for a long time, but I'd be lying if I said my inbox was full of spam nowadays - it isn't. Filters and worldwide anti-spam networks cut it... Read More . And actually, does an excellent job with this. I would even go to the extent of saying that it makes it easier to handle than Gmail does.

So, tell us, who’s that one person who always sends you forwards? And what do you think about blocking these emails versus skipping the inbox? Looking forward to your thoughts in the comments!

Image Credit: Important Mail Hidden Under Spam Mail via Shutterstock, Letter-Mail From Sky With Recycled Paper Craft via Shutterstock [Broken URL Removed]

Related topics: Email Tips, Spam.

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  1. Andrea Bonini
    October 18, 2012 at 6:19 am

    tnx :) so usefull! good idea!

  2. Nohl Lyons
    October 18, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Nice article! Thanks. I'll share it.

  3. Muge Muthu
    October 18, 2012 at 4:04 am

    hey.... nice

  4. mik
    October 18, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Thanks for this guy it will help out a lot of people