How to Find Old Emails in Outlook?

Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by Amit Bansal

If you’re like us, you probably have a lot of emails in your inbox. And if you’re looking for an old email, it can be a daunting task to find it.

Luckily, Microsoft Outlook has some powerful search tools that can help you quickly locate the email you’re looking for.

First, it’s important to note that the process of finding old emails in Outlook may vary depending on the version you’re using.

However, in general, you can use the search bar at the top of the screen to search for specific keywords or phrases within your emails.

This can be especially helpful if you remember a specific word or phrase from the email you’re looking for.

Another option is to search for emails by date. In Outlook, you can use the “Search” tab and click on the “Advanced Find” option to search for emails within a specific date range.

This can be useful if you know roughly when the email was sent or received. Additionally, you can use filters to narrow down your search results by sender, recipient, or other criteria.

email arranged outlook

Finding an email with specific criteria such as the date, a person’s name, specific subject characters, exclusive content, or an email address can often feel like a daunting task.

Fortunately, Microsoft Outlook offers a simplified approach to locating and grouping old email messages.

This powerful tool allows you to narrow down your search criteria by using the built-in Search function in Outlook.

You can search for emails based on various details, including the sender’s name, subject line, date received, and even specific content within the email.

Let’s say you’re looking for an email from “John” sent in “January”. Just type “from:John received:January” into the search bar, and Outlook will bring up all emails from John that you received in January.

Additionally, you can use the Advanced Find option for even more specific search criteria. This tool is especially useful when you are trying to locate an email with exclusive content.

Finally, to organize your old emails effectively, Outlook allows you to create groups or folders.

This functionality helps streamline your email management by enabling you to sort your emails according to different categories, such as sender, subject, or date.

In summary, Microsoft Outlook’s search and organization features turn the potentially overwhelming task of managing your email into a manageable and efficient process.

Let’s dive in:

Understanding Outlook’s Email Storage

When it comes to finding old emails in Outlook, it’s important to have an understanding of how Outlook stores email data.

Outlook stores email data in data files, which are saved on your computer. These data files can be accessed even when you are offline, which makes it easy to access your email data at any time.

In this section, we will discuss the default location of Outlook data files and the different types of Outlook data files.

Default Location of Outlook Data Files

By default, Outlook stores its data files in a specific location on your computer’s hard drive.

The location of these files may vary depending on the version of Outlook you are using, but they are typically stored in the following locations:

  • Windows 10: C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Outlook Files
  • Windows 8: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Windows 7: C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Outlook Files

If you are unsure of the location of your Outlook data files, you can easily find them by following these steps:

  1. Open Outlook and click on the “File” tab in the top left corner of the screen.
  2. Select “Account Settings” and then click on “Account Settings” again.
  3. Click on the “Data Files” tab and you will see a list of all the data files associated with your Outlook account.
  4. Select the data file you want to find and click on the “Open File Location” button.

Types of Outlook Data Files

Outlook uses two main types of data files to store email data: PST files and OST files.

PST Files

PST files, or Personal Storage Table files, are used to store email data for POP3, IMAP, and web-based email accounts like Outlook.com or Gmail.

These files are saved on your computer’s hard drive and can be accessed even when you are offline.

OST Files

OST files, or Offline Storage Table files, are used to store email data for Exchange accounts. These files are saved on your computer’s hard drive and are used when you are working in Cached Exchange Mode.

Cached Exchange Mode allows you to work with your Exchange account data even when you are offline, and any changes you make are automatically synced with the Exchange server the next time you connect to the Internet.

Understanding the different types of Outlook data files and their default locations is important when it comes to finding old emails in Outlook.

By knowing where your data files are stored and what type of data file you are looking for, you can easily search for and access old emails in Outlook.

Searching for Old Emails in Outlook

As we accumulate more and more emails in our inboxes, it can become difficult to find old emails.

Fortunately, Outlook offers several tools and features to help us search for and locate old emails quickly and easily.

In this section, we will explore the different methods for searching for old emails in Outlook.

Using the Default View

The default view in Outlook allows us to search for old emails by date, sender, subject, and other criteria. To search for old emails in the default view:

  1. In Outlook, navigate to the folder where you want to search for old emails.
  2. Click on the “Search Current Mailbox” box in the upper-right corner of the screen.
  3. Enter your search criteria in the search bar. You can search by keyword, sender, subject, date, and other criteria.
  4. Press Enter to perform the search.

Creating a Custom View

If the default view doesn’t meet your needs, you can create a custom view to search for old emails based on your own criteria. To create a custom view:

  1. In Outlook, navigate to the folder where you want to search for old emails.
  2. Click on the “View” tab in the ribbon.
  3. Click on the “View Settings” button.
  4. Click on the “Filter” button.
  5. Enter your search criteria in the filter dialog box. You can search by keyword, sender, subject, date, and other criteria.
  6. Click “OK” to apply the filter.

Using Advanced Find

The Advanced Find feature in Outlook allows us to search for old emails using multiple search criteria. To use Advanced Find:

  1. In Outlook, navigate to the folder where you want to search for old emails.
  2. Click on the “Search Current Mailbox” box in the upper-right corner of the screen.
  3. Click on the “Advanced Find” button.
  4. Enter your search criteria in the Advanced Find dialog box. You can search by keyword, sender, subject, date, and other criteria.
  5. Click “Find Now” to perform the search.

Using Search Tools

Outlook also offers several search tools to help us find old emails quickly and easily. These tools include:

  • The “Search Folders” feature, which allows us to create custom search folders based on our own criteria.
  • The “Instant Search” feature, which allows us to search for old emails as we type.
  • The “Multi-Criteria Advanced Search” feature allows us to search for old emails using multiple search criteria.

By using these tools and features, we can easily search for and locate old emails in Outlook.

How To Find and Organize Old Emails in Outlook? [Using New Search Folder]

Searching in a professional manner, you can create a search folder and group all required messages, here is the tutorial:

  • Lunch Outlook >> Select your inbox or the required folder.
  • Go to Folder Tab >> Select “New Search Folder.
New search folder

Under this step, you are asking Outlook to create an individual folder that filters emails according to your periodic requirement.

  • Click New Search Folder – It consists of a few categories such as (Reading mail, Mail from people and lists, Organized mail, and Custom) which can be sorted out and gathered in a specific folder.
  • Click Old mail-in “Organized mail section”.
Organized mail section
  • Click on Choose, Select the category (days, weeks, months), and further select the numeric value. You can select any time and in case you have multiple accounts in your Outlook, then you can select that specific email account.
  • Then simply hit “OK” and “OK” again.
  • Your folder is created and added to the Navigation Pane having specifically selected period emails. You can check your folder from your selected email address bottom from the left-hand side of your screen [refer: Snapshot].
How to find old emails in outlook app

There are a few options like (rename, delete, and many more) that can be processed by clicking the right mouse button from your folder. There is no such edit option, not to worry, you can simply delete the folder and create a new one.

search folder options

There are multiple ways to get your desired results like rules function, and conditions formatting but this method is specially designed to solve and get your old emails.

Organizing Old Emails in Outlook

Organizing old emails in Outlook can be a daunting task, especially if you have a large number of emails to sort through.

However, with a few simple steps, you can easily organize your old emails and keep your inbox clutter-free.

In this section, we will discuss some of the best practices for organizing old emails in Outlook.

Creating Folders

One of the most effective ways to organize your old emails is by creating folders. Folders allow you to group related emails together, making it easier to find and manage them.

To create a new folder in Outlook, simply right-click on your inbox and select “New Folder.” Give your folder a name that reflects the type of emails you will be storing in it.

For example, you might create folders for work-related emails, personal emails, or emails from a specific sender.

Moving Emails to Folders

Once you have created your folders, you can start moving your old emails into them. To move an email to a folder, simply click and drag the email from your inbox to the desired folder.

You can also right-click on the email and select “Move” or “Copy” and then choose the folder you want to move it to.

This will help keep your inbox organized and make it easier to find specific emails when you need them.

Using Archive Folder

If you have a large number of old emails that you don’t need to access frequently, you can use the Archive folder to keep them out of your inbox.

The Archive folder is a default folder in Outlook that is designed for storing old emails that you don’t need to access regularly.

To archive an email, simply right-click on it and select “Archive.” You can also set up automatic archiving in Outlook to automatically move old emails to the Archive folder after a certain period of time.

Using Deleted Items Folder

Another option for organizing old emails is to use the Deleted Items folder. While this folder is typically used for storing deleted emails, it can also be used to temporarily store emails that you don’t need to access frequently.

For example, if you receive a lot of promotional emails that you don’t need to read, you can move them to the Deleted Items folder to keep them out of your inbox.

Just be sure to periodically empty the folder to avoid cluttering your mailbox.

Overall, organizing old emails in Outlook is an important task that can help you stay on top of your inbox and improve your productivity.

By creating folders, moving emails to folders, using the Archive folder, and using the Deleted Items folder, you can keep your mailbox organized and easily find the emails you need when you need them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, finding old emails in Outlook can be done in a few simple steps.

Whether you use the search bar, filters, or advanced search options, Outlook offers various ways to search for and retrieve old emails.

It’s important to keep your mailbox organized and regularly clean out any unnecessary emails to make it easier to find important ones later on.

By following these tips, you can efficiently manage your email inbox and easily retrieve any old emails you may need in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As we’ve discussed how to find old emails in Outlook, we understand that you may have some questions. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Can I search for old emails by sender?

Yes, you can search for old emails by sender. To do this, click on the “Search” tab and select “Advanced Find”.

Then, select the mailbox you want to search in and enter the sender’s name in the “From” field. Click on the “Search” button, and all the emails from that sender will appear.

How far back can I search for old emails?

The length of time you can search for old emails depends on your Outlook settings. By default, Outlook keeps emails for 1 year.

However, you can change this setting to keep emails for a longer time. To change the setting, go to “File”, then “Options”, then “Advanced”. Under “AutoArchive”, you can change the length of time to keep emails.

Can I search for old emails by subject?

Yes, you can search for old emails by subject. To do this, click on the “Search” tab and select “Advanced Find”.

Then, select the mailbox you want to search in and enter the subject of the email in the “Subject” field. Click on the “Search” button, and all the emails with that subject will appear.

Can I search for old emails by attachment?

Yes, you can search for old emails by attachment. To do this, click on the “Search” tab and select “Advanced Find”.

Then, select the mailbox you want to search in and enter the name of the attachment in the “Has the words” field. Click on the “Search” button, and all the emails with that attachment will appear.

Can I search for old emails in multiple mailboxes?

Yes, you can search for old emails in multiple mailboxes. To do this, click on the “Search” tab and select “Advanced Find”.

Then, select “All Mailboxes” in the “In” field. Enter the search criteria you want to use and click on the “Search” button. Outlook will search all mailboxes for emails that match your search criteria.

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Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of MailSmartly.com. Through this blog, I focus on Microsoft Outlook, offering insightful and informative content. Additionally, I produce educational videos on YouTube to further enhance the understanding of my audience. visit my YouTube Channel

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