How To Search Emails In Outlook?

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Amit Bansal

Navigating through Office Outlook can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, especially when searching for a specific email.

Everyone has their own method: some of us recall a particular date, others remember a unique word or phrase, and then there are those who hunt for an attachment by name.

And let’s not forget the folks who exclusively dig through their sent folder.

But let’s face it: with the myriad of emails, we handle daily, having a comprehensive guide to streamline our searches can be a game-changer.

In this article, we’re diving deep into the art of locating an email in Outlook.

Whether you’re sifting through various folders like the Inbox, Sent, Outbox, Draft, or even Deleted items, or pinpointing messages by date, keyword, sender, receiver, or type, we’ve got you covered.

Buckle up and get ready to become an Outlook email search pro!

Using Basic Search Functionality in Outlook

When it comes to searching for emails in Outlook, the basic search functionality is a great place to start.

With a few simple steps, you can quickly locate the email you’re looking for.

Here are some tips for using basic search functionality in Outlook.

Search Emails by Keywords

One of the easiest ways to search for emails in Outlook is by using keywords.

Simply type in a word or phrase related to the email you’re looking for, and Outlook will search through all of your emails to find matches.

You can also use Boolean operators like “AND“, “OR“, and “NOT” to refine your search.

Also Read: – How Does Outlook Boolean Search Works?

Searching the Subject Line

If you know the subject line of the email you’re looking for, you can use Outlook’s search functionality to quickly locate it.

To do this, click on the search box at the top of the Outlook window and type in the subject line.

Outlook will then search through all of your emails to find matches.

How to Search Emails in Outlook (subject line)

Here is the step-by-step guide to finding email using the Instead search bar for specific keywords on the subject line.

  • Open Office Outlook >> Click on the search box above the email, it will automatically open up the search tab option for you.
  • Find the refine group and click on the subject.
outlook advanced search
  • You will get the auto-filled message in the search bar [subject:”keywords”], all you must do is replace the word “keyword” with your search specific.
  • Finally, you can get your results, with the keyword landing in the subject line.
  • Must try ~

For instance: – I enter the keyword ‘Closure’, after the subject: and what I found from the folder, let’s have a look.

search in subject outlook

You can clearly see the list of emails pop out with that keyword, which is how it works.

Sorting Messages by Sender

If you’re looking for emails from a specific sender, you can use Outlook’s search functionality to sort messages by sender.

To do this, click on the search box at the top of the Outlook window and type in the sender’s name or email address.

Outlook will then search through all of your emails and display them in a list sorted by sender.

In conclusion, using basic search functionality in Outlook is a great way to quickly locate the email you’re looking for.

By using keywords, searching the subject line, and sorting messages by sender, you can easily find the email you need.

Search using Sent To Option

search mail sent to in outlook

This is the way to search for emails based on who they were sent to. 

Clicking on the first option [sentTo:Me or CC:Me] will give you a message in the Instant Search field, which is (to:”Amit Kumar Bansal” OR cc:”Amit Kumar Bansal”). 

You can get the list of emails that are directly in the TO form addressed to you or in carbon copy form.

Clicking on the second option [Not sent Directly to Me] will give you a message in the Instant Search field, which is NOT (to:”Amit Kumar Bansal” OR cc:”Amit Kumar Bansal”) 

The result is quite different you will get the search results of emails that are not directly or in carbon copy form sent to you.

The result must be those emails that are sent to you in BCC form.

Advanced Search Techniques

When it comes to searching for emails in Outlook, there are a variety of advanced search techniques that can help you refine your search results and find the information you need quickly and efficiently.

Here are some of the most useful techniques:

Utilizing Search Operators

Search operators are special characters and keywords that can be used to refine your search queries in Outlook.

Some of the most commonly used search operators include:

  • AND” – This operator allows you to search for emails that contain multiple keywords. For example, if you want to find emails that contain both the words “project” and “meeting”, you can use the search query “project AND meeting”.
  • OR” – This operator allows you to search for emails that contain one keyword or another. For example, if you want to find emails that contain either the word “project” or the word “meeting”, you can use the search query “project OR meeting”.
  • NOT” – This operator allows you to exclude certain keywords from your search results. For example, if you want to find emails that contain the word “project” but not the word “meeting”, you can use the search query “project NOT meeting”.

By utilizing search operators, you can quickly and easily refine your search results to find exactly what you’re looking for.

By combining search operators and logical operators, you can create complex search queries that help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

In conclusion, by utilizing advanced search techniques in Outlook, you can quickly and efficiently find the emails and information you need.

By using search operators, searching by date range, and refining searches with logical operators, you can create complex search queries that help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Searching by Date Range

Another useful advanced search technique in Outlook is searching by date range.

This allows you to find emails that were sent or received during a specific time period. To search by date range, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the search box in Outlook.
  2. Click on the “Search Tools” tab in the ribbon.
  3. Click on the “Search Tools” button and select “Advanced Find“.
  4. In the “Advanced Find” dialog box, click on the “Advanced” tab.
  5. Click on the “Field” button and select “Received“.
  6. In the “Condition” box, select “between“.
  7. Enter the start and end dates for the date range you want to search for.
  8. Click “Add to List” to add the search criteria to your query.
  9. Click “Find Now” to execute the search.

Also Read: – How To Search Email by Date in Outlook?

You can also use the refine section (this week). Under this option, your search is not limited to the week, but there are multiple search options.

search mail week in outlook

Selecting any one from the given options, you can observe a specific message appear in the Instant Search field like:

  • received:today
  • received:yesterday
  • received:this week
  • received:last week
  • received:this month
  • received:last month
  • received:this year
  • received:last year

Not only that you will get the result accordingly.

Outlook’s Instant Search Feature

As frequent Outlook users, we understand the need to quickly find specific emails in our inbox.

That’s where the Instant Search feature comes in handy. In this section, we’ll cover the basics of using the Instant Search feature in Outlook.

Instant Search Interface

The Instant Search feature is located at the top of the Outlook window.

Find Email in Outlook

To use it, simply click on the search box and start typing your search criteria.

You can search for text in the subject line, sender, recipient, or the body of the email.

Instant Search Criteria

To narrow down your search results, you can use specific search criteria. Here are a few examples:

  • If you want to search for emails from a specific sender, type “from:sendername” in the search box.
  • If you want to search for emails with a specific subject line, type “subject:keyword” in the search box.
  • If you want to search for emails received within a specific date range, type “received:dd/mm/yyyy..dd/mm/yyyy” in the search box.

You can also use multiple search criteria to further narrow down your search results.

You can select or review previous search terms.

recent search history

Then select a previous search term from the drop-down menu that appears. Either way, Outlook then shows any items that match the search criteria.

Instant Search Shortcuts

To make your search even faster, Outlook provides a few keyboard shortcuts that you can use with the Instant Search feature.

Also Read: – What Does “Ctrl E” do in Outlook?

Here are a few examples:

  • To open the search box, press Ctrl + E.
  • To search for emails with attachments, type “hasattachments:yes” in the search box.
  • To search for emails that are flagged for follow-up, type “flagged” in the search box.

By using these shortcuts, you can quickly find the emails you need without having to manually search through your inbox.

Overall, the Instant Search feature in Outlook is a powerful tool that can save you time and effort when searching for specific emails.

With a few simple search criteria and shortcuts, you can quickly find the emails you need and get back to work.

Searching Emails with Attachments

When searching for specific emails in Outlook, it’s important to know how to search for messages that contain attachments.

This can save you time and effort, especially if you’re looking for a specific file or document.

Using Hasattachment Operator

One way to search for emails with attachments is by using the “hasattachment” operator in the search box. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on the search box in Outlook.
  2. Type “hasattachment:yes” (without the quotes) and hit enter.
  3. Outlook will display all emails that have attachments.

You can also combine the “hasattachment” operator with other search terms to narrow down your results.

For example, you can search for emails with attachments from a specific sender by typing “hasattachment:yes from:example@domain.com”.

It’s important to note that the “hasattachment” operator only works for emails that have attachments.

If you’re looking for emails that don’t have attachments, you can use “hasattachment:no” in your search.

Also Read: – How does Outlook Search for Emails with Attachments?

Tips for Searching Emails with Attachments

Here are a few tips to help you search for emails with attachments more efficiently:

  • Use specific keywords: When searching for emails with attachments, try to use specific keywords related to the attachment. For example, if you’re looking for an email with a PDF attachment, try searching for “hasattachment:yes PDF“.
  • Narrow down your search: If you’re getting too many results, try narrowing down your search by adding more search terms. For example, you can search for emails with attachments from a specific date range by typing “hasattachment:yes received:>=5/1/2023”.

  • Use Advanced Search: If you need more advanced search options, you can use the Advanced Search feature in Outlook. This allows you to search for emails using multiple search criteria, including attachments.

By following these tips and using the “hasattachment” operator, you can quickly and easily search for emails with attachments in Outlook.

Search Tips and Tricks

When it comes to searching for emails in Outlook, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your search.

In this section, we’ll cover two of the most useful tips: Adding Quotation Marks for Exact Phrases and Using Wildcards.

Adding Quotation Marks for Exact Phrases

If you’re looking for an exact phrase in your emails, adding quotation marks around the phrase can help narrow down your search results.

For example, if you’re looking for an email that contains the phrase “project update,” searching for “project update” (with the quotation marks) will only return results that contain that exact phrase.

Without the quotation marks, your search results may include emails that contain the words “project” and “update” separately.

Using Wildcards

Another useful search tip is to use wildcards. Wildcards are characters that can represent any other character or group of characters.

In Outlook, the two most common wildcards are the question mark (?) and the asterisk (*).

The question mark represents a single character, while the asterisk represents any number of characters.

For example, if you’re looking for an email from a particular sender, but you’re not sure of the exact spelling of their name, you could use a wildcard.

For instance, searching for “Jen?” would return results for “Jen,” “Jenny,” or any other name that starts with “Jen” and has one more character after it.

Similarly, searching for “re*” would return results for “reply,” “received,” “report,” and any other word that starts with “re.”

Keep in mind that while wildcards can be useful, they can also return a lot of irrelevant results if used incorrectly.

Be sure to use them sparingly and only when they’re necessary.

In conclusion, adding quotation marks for exact phrases and using wildcards are just a few of the many tips and tricks you can use to search for emails in Outlook.

By using these techniques, you can save time and find the emails you need more quickly and easily.

Customizing Outlook’s Search Settings

When it comes to searching for emails in Outlook, customizing the search settings can save us a lot of time and effort.

In this section, we will discuss how to modify default search locations and create new search folders.

Modifying Default Search Locations

Outlook provides us with a few default search locations, such as “All Mailboxes” and “Current Folder“.

However, we can modify these default search locations to suit our needs.

To modify default search locations, we can follow these steps:

  1. Click on the “File” tab in Outlook.
  2. Select “Options” from the left-hand menu.
  3. Click on “Search” in the left-hand menu.
  4. Under “Results“, click on “Modify“.
  5. Select the search location that we want to modify and click on “Modify“.
  6. In the “Indexed Locations” dialog box, select or clear the check boxes for the locations that we want to include or exclude from the search.
  7. Click on “OK” to save the changes.

Creating New Search Folders

In addition to modifying default search locations, we can also create new search folders in Outlook.

Search folders are virtual folders that contain search results based on specific criteria.

To create a new search folder, we can follow these steps:

  1. Click on the “Folder” tab in Outlook.
  2. Select “New Search Folder” from the left-hand menu.
  3. Select the type of search folder that we want to create, such as “Mail from specific people” or “Mail with specific words“.
  4. Follow the prompts to set the search criteria for the new search folder.
  5. Click on “OK” to save the new search folder.

Once we have created a new search folder, it will appear in the “Search Folders” section of the navigation pane in Outlook.

We can click on the search folder to view the search results based on the criteria that we set.

In conclusion, customizing Outlook’s search settings can help us find emails more efficiently and effectively.

By modifying default search locations and creating new search folders, we can tailor our search experience to our specific needs and preferences.

Search by Attachment Contains in Outlook

I personally love this feature in Microsoft Outlook search by attachment contains, the only reason is finding those emails having specific keyword name in the attachment.

Naming your attachment file sometimes is the only thing you remember, digging with this tool will attract only those emails having that specific keyword.

How to use search attachments contain?

It is amazingly simple to use, here is a few steps tutorial:

  • Open Outlook >> Click on Instant Search field >> Search Tab appears
  • Click to more in ‘refine section’ >> select attachment contain from the drop-down list.
  • You can see an additional search bar appears just below the Instant Search field, which contains two sections. [ 1. Attachment contains & 2. blank section]
  • The Black section required your keyword, and what you want to search.
  • Enter the “keyword“, and the Instant Search field is automatically filled with (attachment:”your keyword“).
  • Finally, you will get your result if the form of an email with the attachment of your entered keyword.
  • Refer to the below snapshot.
Search by Attachment Contains in Outlook

How To Refine Search?

Refining the results from emails in your inbox is really a meaningful change for the user, there are multiple options and categories available in Office Outlook (search tools), which help to grab your required result very easily.

How To Refine Search In Outlook

You can filter the emails through the following categories.

  • From – You can search from the specific “from” for instance – Name of the sender.
  • Subject – The user is required to find a specific keyword in the subject line from the mail folder, for instance – An account statement.
  • Has attachment – Can bring attachment results in a row.
  • Categorized – Categorized is the color separation of the message, you can easily filter the emails by selecting a specific color.
  • This week – This option is specifically designed to search an email by dates in Outlook. You can select according to your preference and the result is on.
search mail week in outlook
  • Sent to – This option is slightly tricky, there are three options in this category. (Sent To: Me or CC: Me, Not Sent Directly to Me, Sent to Another Recipient)
search mail sent to in outlook
  • Flagged/Important – These two categories are rarely used but are useful for the user.refine more category
  • More: More option contains tons of other variety of options.
  1. Attachment contains
  2. Bcc
  3. Categories
  4. Cc
  5. Due Date
  6. Expiration Date
  7. Flag Status
  8. From
  9. Important
  10. In Folder
  11. Body
  12. Modified
  13. Read
  14. Received
  15. Sensitivity
  16. Sent
  17. Message Size
  18. Start Date
  19. Subject
  20. To

Some of the search options are great and are popular among users, but most users still facing search problems and unable to get the results as expected.

I have randomly selected some major options

Search Specific Word/Content in Outlook Body

Technically if you want to search for a specific word content or phrase in the body of your email, this section will help you out.

Search attachments and search content in the Outlook body are almost similar.

How To Search in Email Messages Body/Text in Outlook?

Search in the email messages body to narrow your search scope for specific keywords in the message body.

Without wasting more time drive straight – How to Search in Email Messages Body/Text in Outlook?

  • Open Outlook >> Click on Instant Search Field >> Search Tab appears
  • Click to more in ‘refine section’ >> select body from the drop-down list.
  • You can see an additional search bar appears just below the Instant Search field, which contains two sections. [ 1. Attachment contains & 2. blank section]
  • The Black section required your keyword/text, and what you want to search.
  • Enter the “Text”, Instant Search field automatically filled with [contents:(TEXT)]..
  • Finally, you will get your result in the form of an email with that text available in the body.
  • Refer to the below image.
How To Search In Email Messages Body In Outlook

Message Size and Sensitivity are some more major filter requirements users usually require.

Bonus Search Ideas in Outlook 2019

Before repping up the article, I had one more search idea in Outlook, which really turns me crazy.

Have you ever realized if you want to filter your search with more than one criterion?

Is it possible to Outlook?

Yes, it is.

Here are some search ideas with multiple criteria.

  • What to search for in an email with a specific subject and attachments.

You can select both simultaneously and the result is clear in the Instant Search field, you will get the list of emails having closure keywords in the subject, and all emails have the attachment. Refer image.

some search ideas with multiple criteria
  • Another example is if you like to search for emails received this week with attachments and have specific “Text” on the body.

All three commands are easily viewed in the search bar and the results are also clear.

Bonus Search Ideas in Outlook 2019

The Power of Outlook Search

There are multiple permutations and combinations you can try to get your result clear.

Most experts even don’t know the things outlook behind their backs. Use this as a springboard to learn what else Outlook can do for you.

Beyond Email: Searching Contacts and Calendars

In addition to searching for emails, Outlook also allows us to search for specific contacts and calendar events.

This can be especially useful when we need to quickly find a specific contact or event without having to manually go through our entire list.

Finding Specific Contacts

To search for a specific contact, we can use the search bar at the top of the Contacts tab.

Simply type in the name or keyword related to the contact we are looking for, and Outlook will display a list of all the contacts that match our search criteria.

We can also use advanced search options to narrow down our search results even further.

Another way to quickly find a contact is by using the Instant Search feature.

This allows us to search for a contact by typing their name or other identifying information directly into the search box in the main Outlook window.

As we start typing, Outlook will display a list of matching contacts, making it easy to find the one we need.

Locating Calendar Events

To search for a specific calendar event, we can use the search bar at the top of the Calendar tab.

Simply type in the name or keyword related to the event we are looking for, and Outlook will display a list of all the events that match our search criteria.

We can also use advanced search options to narrow down our search results even further.

Another way to quickly find a calendar event is by using the Instant Search feature.

This allows us to search for an event by typing its name or other identifying information directly into the search box in the main Outlook window.

As we start typing, Outlook will display a list of matching events, making it easy to find the one we need.

In addition to searching for specific events, we can also use Outlook’s search features to locate events that fall within a certain date range or events that are associated with a specific person or category.

This can be especially useful when we need to quickly find all the events related to a particular project or team.

Overall, Outlook’s search features make it easy to quickly find the information we need, whether it’s an email, contact, or calendar event.

By using advanced search options and the Instant Search feature, we can quickly and easily narrow down our search results and find the exact information we need.

Conclusion

In conclusion, searching for emails in Outlook can be made easier by using the built-in search filters provided by the application.

By clicking in the Search box, you can use the Advanced Search feature and filter your search by various criteria such as sender, subject, date, and more.

Additionally, you can refine your search results by selecting options such as All Mailboxes, Current Mailbox, Current Folder, Subfolder, or All Outlook Items.

If you are looking for old emails in Outlook, you can follow the steps provided in our knowledge base or search results to find them.

By opening the “File” tab and selecting “Account Settings,” you can access the “Change Account” window and click on the “Advanced” button to retrieve old emails.

It is important to note that the accuracy of your search results depends on the search criteria you use.

If you want to search for an exact phrase in Outlook, you can enclose the phrase in quotation marks to ensure that the search results return emails containing the exact phrase.

Overall, searching for emails in Outlook can be made easier by using the built-in search filters and following the steps provided in our knowledge base or search results.

We hope this article has been helpful in improving your Outlook search experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When it comes to searching emails in Outlook, we understand that users may have some questions.

In this section, we will address some of the most commonly asked questions to help you search your emails more efficiently.

How can I search for emails from a specific sender?

To search for emails from a specific sender, you can use the search box located at the top of the Outlook window.

Type the sender’s name or email address into the search box, and Outlook will display all the emails that match your search criteria.

You can also use the “From” filter in the search tab to narrow down your search results.

Can I search for emails by date?

Yes, you can search for emails by date in Outlook. To do this, click on the search tab and select “Advanced Find.”

In the “Advanced Find” window, select the mailbox you want to search in and enter the date range you want to search for.

Click on the “Search” button, and all the emails from that date range will appear.

How can I search for emails with attachments?

To search for emails with attachments, you can use the search box and type “hasattachments:yes” followed by your search criteria.

For example, if you want to search for emails with attachments from John Doe, type “hasattachments:yes from:John Doe” into the search box.

Can I search for emails in a specific folder?

Yes, you can search for emails in a specific folder by selecting the folder you want to search in and typing your search criteria into the search box.

Outlook will only search for emails in the selected folder.

How can I search for emails using keywords?

To search for emails using keywords, type the keywords into the search box and hit enter. Outlook will display all the emails that match your search criteria.

You can also use the “Subject” and “Body” filters in the search tab to narrow down your search results.

In conclusion, by using the tips and techniques mentioned above, you can easily search your emails in Outlook and find the information you need quickly.

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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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