How can I display the Spam Confidence Level (SCL) score in Outlook 2003?

Posted on January 8, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Exchange Server with 0 Comments

Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter is a product developed by Microsoft to help companies reduce the amount of unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), or spam, received by users. You can read more about IMF on theĀ  page.

When an external user sends e-mail messages to an Exchange server with Intelligent Message Filter enabled, IMF evaluates the textual content of the messages and assigns the message a rating based on the probability that the message is UCE or spam. All incoming messages are marked with a Spam Confidence Level (or SCL) rating.

SCL is a “rating system” that on a scale from -1 (only used for authenticated users) to 10, will tell Outlook or OWA whether or not the e-mail should be moved to the Junk E-mail folder (depending on the users settings). Note that not all messages might be transferred to the store (i.e. the users mailbox) depending on the settings on the IMF tab. Read more about how to Configure Intelligent Message Filter in Exchange 2003 SP2.

Viewing this SCL rating might be beneficial in some cases, especially when evaluating the effectiveness of IMF right before beginning to actually delete messages instead of just rating them or archiving them (read View Intelligent Message Filter Archive).

You can view the SCL rating in Outlook Web Access. Read Display SCL Level in OWA 2003 SP2 for more info.

You can also view the SCL rating in Outlook 2003. There are two methods for doing so, but in case you know of another method please contact me and Ill update this page.

Method #1: Using an SCL.CFG file

This will work nicely, but the major drawback is the fact that youll need to perform the form installation on each and every computer that needs this functionality, plus, the user will need to manually configure Outlook to display the SCL information.

Many sites have this procedure described, some of them will be listed below. Here is an Outlook configuration file provided by Paul Bowden. Follow these steps in order to expose the SCL rating in Outlook:

Download the following small (1kb) SCL.CFG file (unzip it after downloading) and save it in the same location as the .ICO files (IPML.ico and IPMS.ico), usually:

English Office 2003 will have a 1033 folder, Hebrew Office 2003 will have a 1037 folder. I suggest you place the file in all the language ID folders you have, it wont harm anyone…

Next follow the instructions below to install it:

  1. Open Outlook 2003. Go into Tools > Options > Other > Advanced Options > Custom Forms > Manage Forms.

  1. Press on the Install button and choose SCL.CFG. Install it into your Personal Forms Library.

  1. Press OK several times to return to the main Outlook screen.
  2. Right-click on the column headings in your Inbox (or any other folder) and choose “Field Chooser”.

Note: If you dont see the “Field Chooser” option, it is most likely that your reading pane is obscuring it. You can either temporarily make the reading pane smaller by dragging the dividing line a bit to the right till you see that option when you right click on the column headings, or follow the procedure listed in the Optional method to select the SCL column below.

  1. Pull-down the scroll-bar and choose “Forms”.

  1. Browse to your Personal Forms, choose the SCL Extension Form, then click Add.

Sponsored

Sponsored
Click on Close.

  1. Drag and drop the SCL property into your column headings into the proper place.

The result will be an SCL column displaying the SCL rating of the messages in that folder.

I suggest you put the SCL column more to the right, just before or after the message size:

Note that you do not need to actually look at the SCL column, you can simply hover your mouse over any message and the yellow balloon will display the SCL rating for you:

Done. Once the SCL field is added to a view using Outlook, you can use the view in Outlook or OWA to see the SCL rating (read Display SCL Level in OWA 2003 SP2 for more info). If youre using Cached mode on your Outlook 2003 profile, you must disable it in order to ensure that the view is saved on the server and available to OWA.

Optional method to select the SCL column:

Lamer note: You do NOT need to perform these next steps if you had the “Field Chooser” option in step #4 above. Proceed to step #5.

  1. Right-click on the column headers, select “Custom”.

  1. In the Customize View Messages window press on Fields.

  1. In the Show Fields window, from the Select Available Fields From drop down list select “Forms”.

  1. Browse to your Personal Forms, choose the SCL Extension Form, then click Add.

Click on Close.

  1. Back in the Show Fields window, from the Select Available Fields From drop down list select “SCL Extension Form”.
  2. In the Available Fields list, select the SCL field and either drag it to the list on the right, or click on it and press on the Add button.

Click Ok.

Method #2: ShowSCL for Exchange 2003

ShowSCL for Exchange 2003 is a freeware application written by Victor Ivanidze that allows you to place the message SCL score to the message category, so that you can easily find, sort, filter, or group the items by the SCL value. The application is an Exchange store event sink. This brings up 2 major benefits:

  • You can set up ShowSCL on per-mailbox basis or as “store-wide” application, i.e. it will work on each users Inbox in the certain Exchange mailbox store.
  • The application is server-centric, so you do not need to install any extra software on the client side.

You can visit the authors website read the detailed instructions, and download this nice freeware tool:

Download ShowSCL (37kb)

ShowSCL website and instructions

Further Reading

You might also want to read the following related articles:

Links

Using Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter

You Had Me At EHLO… : Exposing SCL (Spam Confidence Level) in Outlook

Sponsored