Contents  SpamSieve Manual  Technical Support

5.3.7   Show Whitelist

The Show Whitelist command in the Filter menu opens the Whitelist window. The whitelist consists of a list of rules. If a message matches one or more enabled rules on the whitelist (and Use SpamSieve whitelist is checked), SpamSieve will predict that it is good. The whitelist is most commonly used for matching messages sent from particular addresses, domains, or mailing lists.

spamsieve whitelistspamsieve whitelist

The counterpart to the whitelist is the blocklist.

Creating Rules

There is normally no need for you to manually create or delete whitelist rules because SpamSieve learns to recognize your good automatically. If a lot of good messages are in your Spam mailbox, your first steps should be to check the setup in your mail program and to check the log rather that to create whitelist rules.

Rules and Training

By default, the Train SpamSieve whitelist preference is enabled. This means that SpamSieve will automatically create whitelist rules when you train a message as good. Once you receive one good message from a person, all future messages will get through to your inbox.

SpamSieve will also disable matching whitelist rules when you train a message as spam. This prevents a bad whitelist rule from letting through similar spam messages.

By default, the Auto-train with incoming mail preference is enabled. This means that if you receive a message that SpamSieve thinks is good, SpamSieve will automatically add whitelist rules so that future messages from that same sender are also classified as good. Thus, it is important to correct all the mistakes to avoid having incorrect whitelist rules.

Editing Rules

You can edit a rule’s Header or Match Style by clicking in the corresponding column and choosing from the pop-up menu. To edit a rule’s Text to Match, double-click the text. For more information about the available options see the Rule Columns, Headers, and Match Styles section.

Deleting and Disabling Rules

You can delete a rule from the whitelist by selecting it and pressing Delete. Generally, there is little reason to delete rules. SpamSieve is optimized such that having lots of rules does not reduce performance.

Spammy Whitelist Rules

It is normal to see spammy rules on the whitelist that are unchecked. This is because of auto-training. When SpamSieve thinks an incoming message is good, SpamSieve also adds a rule to the whitelist. SpamSieve may be wrong about that message, and that’s OK. If SpamSieve makes a mistake and lets a spam message through, when you train the message as spam it will disable the corresponding whitelist rules. The rules will then be shown as unchecked. A disabled rule won’t match any messages, so it won’t cause any spam to get through.

If you see spammy rules that are checked, this is not normal. It means that you have not been correcting all the mistakes.

Do not delete spammy whitelist rules. This is almost never a good idea:

Whitelisting Domains

You can tell SpamSieve to classify every message from a particular domain as good. For example, to whitelist every message from Apple, open the Whitelist window, click the + button, and create a rule that says From (address) Ends With

Mailing List Messages

The whitelist has special support for mailing lists. If you train SpamSieve with a good message from a mailing list, it will add a rule to the whitelist that matches the message’s mailing list header (List-ID, List-Unsubscribe, or Mailing-List). Then SpamSieve will know that all messages from that mailing list are good, regardless of who sent them.


You can use the whitelist to create codewords. For instance, you could create a rule in the whitelist that matches subjects containing “eggplant” (or some other word unlikely to occur in regular mail). You can tell select people to put “eggplant” in the subject of messages that they send you, and then you can be assured that their messages will get through, even if the sender addresses are not in your address book or whitelist.

Finding Rules

You can type the first few letters of a rule’s Text to Match to quickly locate that rule, or use the search field in the toolbar to focus on a group of related rules.

Exporting Addresses

You can use the Copy Whitelist/Blocklist Addresses script to get a list of addresses, e.g. to add to the configuration of a server-side spam filter.

Troubleshooting Rules

Whitelist rules will not match a message if:

     Contents  SpamSieve Manual  Technical Support