Gmail Spam Folder Location: A How-To Guide

When testing email delivery, some Gmail users may find that the email they sent to themselves has seemingly not been delivered. In what is known as a false positive, the email has in fact been delivered, but it was sent directly to the Gmail 'Spam' folder by Google. The Gmail spam folder location is not easy to find. Furthermore, after an email has been sent to the 'Spam' folder once, Gmail may permanently flag all subsequent email from the same sender as "spam".

The following steps describe how to locate the Gmail 'Spam' folder and then remove the "spam" flag by adding the sender to your list of contacts.

Mouse Pointer Roll-over "peek"

Gmail spam folder location

1. As seen in the image above, Gmail's 'Spam' folder is hidden from view by default. To view the folder, simply hover your mouse pointer over any of the folder names in the left column of the GMail user interface (UI).

2. The column will expand to show all the folder labels, including the 'Spam' folder.

3. Clicking on the 'Spam' folder text will load the folder into the main UI window.

4. If your email delivery test has resulted in the test email being sent to the 'Spam' folder, it will appear as unread, in bold text, with the name and email account used.

5. Click the square box on the left corner of the display bar representing the email. A check mark will appear.

6. Then click the 'Not spam' button at the top of the Gmail UI. This will automatically move the email from the 'Spam' folder to the 'Inbox'.

Important - By being flagged as "spam" by Google, all subsequent emails sent from that email account may also be sent to your Gmail 'Spam' folder. Worse still, the flag may apply to everyone to whom you send email to. It is important to correct the errant "spam" flag by adding the sender to your list of contact (See below)

Always Show Spam Folder

You can configure Gmail's 'Spam' folder to be displayed in different ways. To change the setting so that the 'Spam' folder is always shown, use the following steps.

1. In the upper right corner of the Gmail UI, click the gear icon. A drop down menu will appear.

2. Click 'Settings'. The main window will refresh with all available settings.

3. Click 'Labels'.

4. Scroll down until you see the 'Spam' folder setting.

5. Choose from "show", "hide" or "show if unread". You may change the setting back and forth to your liking.

Exactly how you configure your Gmail account is up to you but if you have found one of your test email confirmations in the 'Spam' folder, or if the 'Spam' folder was already set to "hide", you are encouraged to make the 'Spam' folder visible and add the sender to your contact (See below).

Additional information

Google provides extensive help and advice on managing your Gmail account. The help file(s) specific to managing the display of folders is here. ThunderTix performs extensive testing of all new features, but third party applications, like Gmail, are not under our direct control. Please defer to the available Gmail help files for additional information.

Adding a Sender to Your Contacts

Once you have found the Gmail spam folder location, and performed the appropriate account settings, you are strongly encouraged to add the sender to your list of contacts. Doing so is an important step to reducing the likelihood of subsequent test emails from being sent to the 'Spam' folder. Google has acknowledged this as a best practice:

If you find a message wrongly classified as spam, you can unmark the message. Just select the message, and click the Not Spam button that appears at the top and bottom of your current view. Unmarking a message will automatically move it to your inbox.

If you find that some senders' messages are consistently being mislabeled as spam, you can prevent this by:

  • Adding their email addresses to your Contacts list. Gmail will deliver messages from members of your Contacts list to your inbox, unless we know with high confidence that they are spam.
    • Some messages sent from contacts which are very clearly spam can be sent directly to your Spam label. More importantly, in some cases messages from contacts will not be sent to Spam but will be marked with a red warning banner if the content is suspicious - for example, your friend's or contact's account has been compromised and used to send phishing messages.

Mouse-over shortcut

If you are in a hurry there is a quick way to add a sender to your list of GMail contacts.

1. With the email in question open to full display, mouse over the sender's email address. A pop-up will appear.

2. At the bottom of the pop-up, click on the "Add to contacts" text. The page will reload displaying a partially completed contact form.

3. Note that the contact form has automatically populated the email address in the appropriate field. This temporary contact is automatically saved as is, but you may embelish it with additional information (name, photo, alternative email addresses and phone numbers).

Formal method for adding contacts

A more formal method for adding new email addresses to your list of GMail contacts available as an option. The formal method provides a more step-by-step process and includes additional options not available when using the short cut method.

To formally add a sender's email address to your contact list, follow these steps:

1. In the upper left corner of the GMail UI, click the red 'GMail' text. a drop down menu will appear.

2. Click the 'Contacts' text. The page will reload with a new contact form, all fields will be empty.

3. Enter the sender's information in the appropriate fields. Any information you add will save automatically.

Note: These instructions only work with the standard view of GMmail. If they don't match what you see, upgrade to a supported browser or go to the standard view by clicking standard at the bottom of your GMail page.

Email addresses are automatically added to your Contacts list each time you use the Reply, Reply to all, or Forward functions to send mail to addresses that don't already exist in your Contacts list. Each time you mark a message as 'Not Spam,' your Contacts list is also automatically updated so that future messages from that sender are received in your inbox.

Look for automatically added contacts in the Other Contacts group on the left side.

If you don't want contacts to be automatically added, follow these steps:

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right, then select Settings.
  2. In the General tab, find the “Create contacts for auto-complete” setting and choose I’ll add contacts myself.

Additional information

Google provides extensive help and advice for managing your Gmail account. The help file for adding and managing your contacts is here. ThunderTix performs extensive testing of all new features, but third party applications, like GMail, are not under our direct control. Please defer to the available GMail help files for additional information.

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