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(This post was first published in 2010. It's obvious from the number of hits this page gets that people's inboxes are still overflowing. We thought we'd share it again to help you out.)
Hi, I am Roby Kurian, Product Manager for Outlook. How often do you ask yourself, “Where’s that message?”
Whether you are a filer (you keep messages carefully organized in folders) or a piler (you keep all of your messages in your Inbox), these three tips can help you find that elusive message.
Personally, I am more of a piler — I have created folders and use Outlook rules to direct some messages automatically to those folders. But most of my work messages stay in my Inbox. Leave a comment below and let us know if you are a filer or piler.
Now let’s talk about the main topic of this blog — search. We made great improvements to search performance in Outlook 2010. Here are three scenarios and strategies to find the email you are searching for.
Instant Search is always a great place to start. If you’re looking for a message from Dan Wilson about some TPS Reports, just type “Dan Wilson TPS Reports” into the Instant Search box. The message from Dan appears.
Sometimes, there might be too many results matching your Instant Search criteria. For example, you’re looking for a message from your manager, and you have 200 messages from him or her in your Inbox (or 2000, if you’re a piler like me and your manager sends as many messages as mine does). In this case, the Search Tools ribbon comes to the rescue. As soon as you click in the Instant Search box, the Search Tools ribbon automatically appears.
Fine tune the search with any additional information you have about the message you’re looking for. If you know part of the subject, click Subject, and type the subject. If you know the message had an attachment, click Has Attachments. There are many ways to refine your search by clicking More in the Refine group.
If you are a filer and can’t remember which folder a message is in, don’t forget to select a folder scope in the Scope group on the ribbon. Click All Outlook Items to expand your search to more mail folders or to include all folders including your calendar, contacts, and tasks.
If you find yourself repeating the same search over and over, you might want to create a Search Folder. A Search Folder is a virtual folder that provides a view of all email items that match specific search criteria. For example, if you regularly search for emails that are more than 1 MB, you can create a Search Folder. Then, the next time you want to find those large messages, just open the Search Folder you created. It’s always up-to-date with the items that match that Search Folder’s criteria.
You can learn more about Search Folders at Office.com.
If you’re using Outlook 2010, leave a comment about your experience with search compared to previous versions of Outlook.
Roby Kurian Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Outlook
More info on Outlook Search:
Better Searching in Outlook 2010
Outlook Best Practices: Search foldersFind a message or item with Instant Search
Best Practices for Outlook 2010
I am currently running the free version of Xobni, which has an ultrafast search. It also shows a kind of a business card of the sender of the mail you are looking at. Also a list of recent attachments between you and that user, that you can click and open directly. Functinality I use a lot. It has several other features as well.
To clarify: Xobni, that I mentioned in the previous post, is a plugin for Outlook. Try spelling it backwards :)
I use two email accounts with outlook 2010. I can search email from webmail account but I can not search email from gmail account, I reinstalled Office 2010 and Windows 7 but can not solve this problem?
Please help me!
just found out my computer was mistakenly configured with imap instead of pop3. how can i fix that?
Hello Roby, Hope you help me with this very unique situation.
Recently hooked-up to the internet at our ski chalet. Althought Outlook 2010 worked well at home, it does not permit me to send e-mails anymore. In Options-delay function I noticed the delay box checked with the next day at 5pm for send outs. I've tried to cancel this function to no avail and when I waited until the 'automated send date and time' the messages would still be stuck in the outbox. I've consulted numerous forums about this and cannot find a solution to theis very peculiar situation.
Can you propose a solution?
Much appreciated thanks
How do I find the folder that an e-mail is in when I do a multi-folder search? In the old days there was a column in the reading pane that had the folder name or you could open the e-mail and under Properties find the folder. I am a Filer, but sometimes an e-mail isn't where I thought it would be and I want to find that folder.
How can I do a saved search for all unread mail across my 5 POP3 accounts? If there was a unified inbox as in previous versions of office, this would not be necessary. Thanks.
My send folder does not display any sent emails. How do I get the sent folder to display emails?
This is a helpful post, but it didn't answer the question that Scott Leonard asked 75 days ago. I searched for an answer, and found one that helped me. Here's what it said: "Another way to relocate your folder is to search for an item that you know was in that folder via Windows Search or another Search Indexer tool (such as Google Desktop Search). These tools can often reveal the folder path of the item that was found.
An easy way to do this in Windows Vista or Windows 7 is by searching for the message via the Search box in the Start Menu. When the message shows up, right click it and choose “Show Conversation”. An Explorer window will open now with the search results. When you set your view to the Details view, you’ll see the Folder column which shows the full path to the folder. The name between parenthesis is the name of the mailbox or pst-file as it appears in Outlook.
With Windows Desktop Search on Windows XP, the folder path will also be shown when opening the Search Results window or when you search via; Start-> Search"
Thanks for the post, that was cvery useful, I always mess up my e-mails. These tips are very useful, thanks for the guidelines! Hopefully, they will help me to get my Outlook ideas straight.
Keith Wolf, word search puzzle maker freewordsearchmaker.org
Hi Scott. I had the same question and finally found a simple solution. (XP / Outlook 2010)
When you have done your search then go to View > Change View and select "Outlook Data Files"
This gives you a column call "In Folder" which shows you where the mail is in your filing system,
You can then select "Apply Current View to Other Mail folders" and tick the "search folders" in the popup box.
This will keep the "In Folder" column visible
hope this helps
Thanks for this really useful tip! I'll reply to Scott Leonard to let him know, too.
Managing Editor, Office Blog
I hope it's not too late to pass along another solution. Check out Preston Zuckerman's tip above.
Thank you, Preston Zuckerman, your suggestion did work. I tried Jimmy OCallaghan's suggestion, but when I did my search within Outlook and went to View > Change View, there was no "Outlook Data Files" to select and I do have Windows XP and Office/Outlook 2010. While I was hoping for solution to use within Outlook (since it used to have that capability), at least I have something through Windows that I can use.
I feel so fustrated with this 2010 inbox. Yes it is great to search for something.. because then I get it.. but the fact that I get new emails and they do not appear in my inbox is driving me crazy. How can I search for something that I do not know what it is???