Q: Why CTRL-F is NOT Find in Outlook?(Ans: Bill Gates)

By: standss , Mar 10th, 2015

Have you ever pressed CTRL-F to find something (in Outlook) to discover that it does not work! For some reason CTRL-F does a Forward instead of a Find. Here’s a bit of history as to why this (strange) decision was made and alternative keyboard shortcuts to do a Find in Outlook.

CTRL-F is probably the best and most widely used Keyboard shortcut. Whether you’re using Excel, Word, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader, Chrome… the list goes on… CTRL-F brings up the Find dialog. Except in Outlook…

Why… Oh Why???
According to The Old New Thing the reason for this strange behaviour is Bill Gates.

blog post

What keyboard shortcuts can you use to Find in Outlook?

Unfortunately there is no way to change how Outlook handles CTRL-F. The two alternatives you can use are F4 or CTRL-SHIFT-F. By the way these shortcuts only seem to work when you have an actual email open (and not from a folder).

Thank you to reader Bruno for the following addition to this tip.

The easiest thing to do is press Ctrl+E, which brings you directly to the Search (= simple Find) function at the top of the Outlook window – and without needing to have an email open.

Hope you found the bit of history interesting. Feel free to rant by leaving a comment below.

3 Replies to “Q: Why CTRL-F is NOT Find in Outlook?(Ans: Bill Gates)”

  1. Very annoying indeed, but your suggested alternative shortcuts need some more clarification.
    The easiest was for a simple Find is Ctrl+E, which brings you directly to the Search (= simple Find) function at the top of the Outlook window – and without needing to have an email open.
    The suggested CTRL+SHIFT+F does not bring up the simple Find function but the Advanced Find dialogue – regardless of being in an email or in a folder.
    While F4 exclusively brings up a straightforward Find and Replace box while within a mail.

  2. Leave it to MacroShaft to break its own effing rules. Incredibly stupid… so I should have expected it.

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