You can narrow, expand, and otherwise fine-tune your searches in Outlook.
If you use Microsoft Outlook, you’ve probably tapped into the regular search feature in which you type a keyword or phrase in the search field and then wait for matching emails to appear. But there’s much more to searching in Outlook than meets the eye. In this article, you’ll master the following skills:
- Search just your current mailbox or all mailboxes as well as your current folder or all folders.
- Limit the search to just recent items or include older items as well.
- Look for messages based on sender, recipient, date, attachment, status, body text, and more. You can easily access recent searches. You can search your calendar and contacts separately or along with email messages.
- Modify the default settings for searching.
I’m using Outlook 2016 via my Office 365 subscription. But most of the features and options I discuss here should work in the prior couple of versions of Outlook.
To start, open Outlook. If you’re like me, you may have thousands of messages scattered throughout a host of folders. You may even maintain more than one account or mailbox in Outlook.
To run a basic search, type your keyword or phrase in the search field. By default, Outlook will look in only your current folder. To expand the search, click on the drop-down menu next to the search field and change the setting to Subfolders, Current Mailbox, All Mailboxes, or All Outlook Items. Here’s what each setting does:
- Subfolders looks in any subfolders branching off the parent folder.
- Current Mailbox looks throughout your entire mailbox.
- All Mailboxes searches all the mailboxes you’ve set up.
- And All Outlook Items looks for contacts and calendar events as well as messages.