Your email inbox is already brimming with important messages that you need to read, consider, and respond to. When you get too many messages from annoying sources, or when you keep hearing from people you want out of your life, it’s irritating.

Fortunately, every email management platform has a built-in option to block specific email addresses (and often, entire domains) from sending you messages.

That’s what we’ll cover in this article. Read on to learn how to block emails in Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook!

4 Common Reasons to Block Emails

There are many good reasons to block an email address, including:

1. Spam and scams

Google has a built-in spam filter that catches 99.9 percent of all spam messages, and most email platforms have a similar system. However, there’s no such thing as perfect spam protection. Sooner or later, a spam message will work its way into your inbox, or you’ll receive persistent messages from someone trying to spam you. Blocking these email addresses (and reporting them) not only protects you, but also gives more information to companies like Google so they can more thoroughly and accurately prevent messages like this from going through in the future.

2. Harassment or toxicity

One of the most common reasons for blocking an email address is persistent harassment or toxicity. Someone is being rude to you, or intentionally making you uncomfortable, and you’re well within your rights to block them from sending you any messages in the future.

3. Inbox reduction

Inbox management is a high priority for many professionals, since your email inbox serves as a kind of gateway to productivity. Blocking overwhelming email addresses can help you keep things in order.

4. Annoyance

Let’s face it. Some people (and companies) are annoying, and they won’t leave you alone unless you block them. There’s no shame in it, especially if you’ve already tried to work out a peaceful resolution.

3 Types of Email Blocking

When people use the term “email blocking,” they may actually be referring to different actions, all of which are related to reducing incoming emails.

1. Actual blocking

In its purest form, “blocking” just means you will no longer receive emails from the person or domain specified. Depending on the platform, you may never see these emails (unless you unblock the person), or they may show up only in your spam folder. In most cases, blocking is fully reversible within your email platform.

2. Unsubscribing

You can also choose to unsubscribe from lists that include your email address. This is usually the best option if you’re getting too many messages from an email newsletter, or promotional emails from a specific company. Oftentimes, you can unsubscribe within the body of the email itself. Once unsubscribed, you can always sign up for the list again to receive more emails in the future.

3. Flagging spam or suspicious messages.

In addition to blocking a sender, you’ll have the option to flag a message as spam, or mark it as “suspicious.” Taking this action typically also blocks that email address by default. By doing this, you’ll be sending information that Google, Microsoft, and other companies can use to better understand the nature of spam and improve their spam filters in the future.

It’s also worth noting that you can control your incoming emails with strategies beyond merely blocking or unsubscribing.

For example, in Gmail you can set up filters, and in Outlook, you can set up rules—both of these concepts allow you to create automated workflows that distribute or handle your incoming messages in whichever ways you specify.

For example, you may automatically direct all emails from a specific sender to a specific folder.

How to Block Emails in Gmail

Here’s how to block emails in Gmail:

  1. Open the message in question.
  2. Click or tap More (vertical ellipses).
  3. Click or tap Block [sender].

Here’s a gif that illustrates the process:

how to block emails in gmail

Image credit: Google

Note that by opening this same menu, you’ll also have the option to report this message as Spam, or specifically report it as phishing.

How to unblock emails in Gmail

If you need to unblock an email in Gmail, you can do the following:

  1. Click the Settings (gear) icon in Gmail, then click Settings
  2. Click Filters and Blocked Addresses
  3. Here, you’ll find a list of email addresses you’ve blocked. You may unblock them at any time to return them to normal. You can also add new email addresses or domains to block manually here.

gmail filters and blocked addresses

How to Block Emails in Yahoo Mail

Follow these instructions to block an email address in Yahoo Mail:

  1. Open the email in Yahoo.
  2. Click or tap the ellipses at the top.
  3. Click “Block Sender.

You can also shortcut this by clicking the Spam button at the top of the desktop app.

how to block emails in yahoo mail

Head to Settings > More Settings > Security and privacy to find a list of currently blocked email addresses. You can also add new email addresses or domains to block manually here.

yahoo mail security and privacy

You can also unsubscribe from emails following the same directions as Gmail, since most marketing emails feature an Unsubscribe button at the bottom of the message.

How to Block Emails in Outlook

Here’s how to block emails in Outlook. These instructions have slight variances, since the layout of the desktop web app and desktop client are slightly different.

  1. Open the email in Outlook.
  2. Right click the email (or click/tap on the ellipses in the top right).
  3. Select “Block” or “Security Options,” and then “Block Sender.

Note that if you choose Security Options, you’ll also have the option to report this message as Spam, or specifically report it as phishing.

If you ever want to review your list of blocked email addresses, or want to unblock an email address, you can head to the Settings menu, and under the Junk email section, you’ll be able to view and manage everything. You can also add new email addresses or domains to block manually here.

how to block emails in outlook

You can also unsubscribe from emails following the same directions as Gmail, since most marketing emails feature an Unsubscribe button at the bottom of the message.

Getting Closer to Inbox Zero

If you’re looking to be more productive, email blocking exists mostly as a tool to help you keep your inbox clear; to reach inbox zero. If you’re interested in improving your email productivity even further, consider employing the help of a tool like EmailAnalytics.

With EmailAnalytics, you’ll get a thorough report on your email activity, including your top senders and recipients, average response time, and average email thread length. With interactive visual reports and ongoing assessments, you’ll be able to accurately measure—and improve—your productivity. Sign up for a free trial today!