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Gmail's filters are very powerful, and easy to set up. I'll look at creating a filter to automatically delete email from a specific email address.

I know I can use Gmail filters to automatically mark everything from a specific email address as spam, but I looked at the filter but couldn't figure out how to use it.

Gmail's actually got a pretty powerful filtering utility, however it seems that the one thing you cannot do is set up a filter to automatically mark it as spam. If actually marking it as spam is important, then you'll have to keep doing that manually.

However, a slightly related filter might serve your purposes just as well: "if it's from this email address delete it" is fairly easy filter to create.

Create a Filter From a Message

Let's start with a message that's in your inbox that's from the sender you want to block:

An example of some spam in my inbox

Click on the More Actions dropdown and you'll see "Filter messages like these":

Filter messages like these option in Gmail

Click on that and you'll be taken to the filter creation interface, with some values pre-loaded:

Create a Filter interface in GMail

As you can see the filter is already pre-loaded with the email address of the sender. Perfect.

Now click Next Step » to indicate what you want done with the message.

Delete action in a filter

Check "Delete it", click Create Filter and from now on you'll no longer see email from that email address - it'll be immediately deleted.

Editing it Later

Click on Settings in the upper right of your Gmail window and you'll get the General settings page with this bar of additional settings:

Gmail settings

Click on Filters and you'll be taken to a list of filters currently defined for your account, including the one we just created:

A filter listed in Gmail's settings

Click the edit button and the edit interface we used to create the rule will appear at the top of the page where you can make whatever changes you might like.

Article C4678 - December 11, 2010 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

December 14, 2010 8:39 AM

There was a time when I would receive those forwarded, horribly formatted emails sent to 50 people at once, 10 times over. The person it came from, however, would send me legitimate emails from time to time, as well. Thus, I did not view simply deleting everything from that email address as an adequate solution.

What I did was create a new Label called "Forwarded Crap" and told Gmail to make it hidden (I could access it from the drop-down), and anything from that email address with "Fwd" or "Fw" in the Subject line was immediately archived and sent to that label.

In effect, I created my own spam filter specifically dealing with forwarded emails from that email address, while making sure nothing was deleted without my knowledge, in the event that something good got caught in the filter (after all, not all forwarded messages are, indeed, garbage). While I realize my specific situation may not fit everyone's purposes, perhaps it can be modified and therefore prove useful to someone.

December 14, 2010 9:30 AM

Just start marking the emails as spam. The program will look at the information in the message as well as the address and (after some consistent instances) it will start marking them as spam automatically.

My wish is that they would break their spam filter into a couple levels. I would love to see the borderline hits fall into a bin that I could look at without the avalanche of sex products and Nigerian scams. It would make watching for the rare non spam that gets accidentally marked much easier. There is one mailing list that I am on (no spam on the list or topics that would look like spam) occasionally get miss listed but fewer times as I correct it.

Macon Richardson
December 14, 2010 2:10 PM

How utterly simple to do! Thank you, Leo. After years with the same gmail address one builds up a percentage of crank correspondents, folks who wear collandars or tin foil over their heads, persons who threaten to kill you or who have developed psychotic love for you--the prelude to threatening to kill you.

Of course, while sticks and stones, etc. . .emails can never kill me. Yet, how much nicer it will be to open my gmail account and not even have to think about these cyber-predators.

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