Better Search in Outlook

By: standss , Jan 30th, 2013

I like using Instant Search in Outlook 2007, 2010 and now in Outlook 2013. Most times Search will find what you want. Here’s a quick tip that you can use to refine searches so that you don’t have to scroll through search results looking for that one email you need.

The tip shows you can refine search results by using AND, NOT and OR in the Instant Search box.

The following examples help illustrate how to use them to improve your own searches.

Type To Find
James This will find all emails with the word James in it (it doesn’t matter if your type James or james or captialise the word any other way)
James Smith This will find all emails with both the words James and Smith in them. The words do not have to be together or in any particular order.
James AND Smith This will find all emails with both the words James and Smith in them. The words do not have to be together or in that order.NOTE: The word AND must be in capital letters!
“James Smith” This will find any emails with the phrase “James Smith” in them. The two words will need to be together and in that order. Capitalisation does not matter.
James OR Smith This will find any emails with either or both the words in them. NOTE: The word OR must be in capital letters!
James NOT Smith This will find any emails with the words James in them but only if the email does not have the word Smith in it as well.NOTE: The word NOT must be in capital letters!

I have found this simple tip very handy since I started using Email Tags for Outlook which is built on Outlook’s category and Instant Search features.

For example: I can type category:=”Project X” AND “James Smith” to show me all emails for Project X that I sent to or received from James Smith. This is very useful if there are a lot of emails for Project X that are not from James Smith. It means I have to scroll through a much small list to quickly find what I want.

Try it out for yourself. You’ll be surprised how useful such a simple tip can be.

Do you have any other Outlook Search tricks of your own? Share it with other readers by leaving a comment.

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