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December 15, 2007

Marking Spam as Read in Gmail

by Dan

I’ve always been annoyed that the link to my spam folder in GMail showed up as bold text because there were unread messages inside. At first, I tried using Greasemonkey scripts or other forms of hacking the style sheet so that the word “Spam” wouldn’t be so attention grabbing. These worked until I’d use a new computer or reinstall my browser (like after my hard drive crashed at work).

After reading Matthew Gallant’s note about how he uses filters to automatically mark his spam as read, I tried it out. After a few tweaks, it’s working great. I only get a few spam messages a month that causes me to open my Spam folder. In one case, it was a legitimate email that I was glad not to have missed.

The basic idea is to create a filter that marks everything in the Spam folder as read unless it contains one (or more) keywords you specify, like your real name. That way, most spam will just be ignored, but misclassified emails will show up as unread which you can then verify by hand. Very nice.

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