How To Create a New Search Folder In Outlook?

Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Amit Bansal

New Search Folder is the customized Folder designed to separate and keep a copy of the specific nature of emails from your desired folder, whether by size, date, address, or any other multiple options.

There are several predefined Search Folders available, but the most useful Search Folders are your own customized Folder.

Some called this virtual folder that matches specific input criteria for your Search Folder.

In this article, you will learn Step by Step method “How to create your desired search Folder” with different criteria and Pros and Cons.

What is a Search Folder in Outlook?

A Search Folder is a virtual folder in Microsoft Outlook that dynamically gathers and displays emails that meet specific search criteria you define.

The contents of a Search Folder are always up-to-date since they are not stored physically, but are queried each time you access the folder.

For example, you can create a Search Folder for all emails from a specific sender, emails that are marked as high importance, or emails that contain specific keywords.

The options are quite flexible, allowing you to make a Search Folder for virtually any criteria that you regularly search for.

To create a Search Folder:

  1. In Mail, on the Folder tab, in the New group, click New Search Folder.
  2. In the New Search Folder dialog box, under Select a Search Folder, select a predefined Search Folder from the list.
  3. To customize the Search Folder, click Criteria, specify the criteria you want, and then click OK.

This can save you a lot of time when you’re trying to find specific emails, and it keeps your Outlook organized.

Remember, the messages that appear in a Search Folder are also stored in their original folders, so if you delete a message from a Search Folder, you are deleting the original message.

Select a Search Folder

Searching for email fail under specific requirements is quite easy using the search bar and advanced search but why bother typing out the same searches over and over if you perform them regularly?

Is there any other choice?

Yes, Custom Search Folders help you and keep a copy of desired searches so you can get back to them any time you want.

The search Folder consists of predesigned formats:

  • Reading Mail
  1. Unread Mail
  2. Mail Flagged for Follow up
  3. Mail either unread or flagged for Follow up
  4. Important Mail
  • Mail from People and Lists
  1. Mail from and to a specific person
  2. Mail from Specific Person
  3. Mail send directly to me
  4. Mail send to public groups
  • Organizing Mail
  1. Categorized mail
  2. Large Mail
  3. Old Mail
  4. Mail with attachment
  5. Mail with Specific Words

Look closely and all the above categories consist of a preformatted sort of program, which arranges a copy of emails matching the selected option.

Unread Mail

Unread mail filter and create a copy of all emails not opened or read by the user, although there are a few other methods to instantly filter unread emails in the folder.

Once you open and read that unread email from the new search folder, that email will disappear from the folder.

Mail Flagged for Follow up

All Emails flagged for follow-up are separated in this folder, which later works by the user. These emails are flagged to keep those emails for later.

These emails include all flagged emails even if they are read or unread.

Mail Either Unread or Flagged for Follow up

This selection allows unread emails, as well as flagged emails to land under the New Search Folder, the nature of both the criteria, is important and urgent, New Folder helps to react for both Either Unread or Flagged with missing any email.

Mail from and to a specific person

Finding all emails from/To a specific person or email address in Outlook is extremely easy and has multiple ways, New Search Folder is one of the approaches you can separate all emails sent/Received from a Specific person.

In case you select this option filter work for both inboxes and sent box and collects the copy of all emails from a specific person or email address and keeps it in the New Search Folder.

Mail From Specific Person

Under this option, all emails received from the specific person will be separated in the form of copies to the new search folder.

I personally use this option for the emails received from My Boss and keep the folder in Favourites, which will keep me updated on any email received from him.

Mail Send Directly to Me

This option is a smart move from Outlook, every email is important but the most important one is directly addressed to you, which means you need to respond to those emails personally, New Search Folder keeps those emails in a separate folder.

Mail Send to Public Groups

Users dealing with the bulk of people such as marketing, or affiliating conferences use to send emails to public groups, these options help them to separate those emails in a customized New Search Folder.

Categorized Mail

Categorized mail are those emails that are tagged with color code, which the user uses to create their own customized category and sort those emails accordingly.

While creating the new search folder, you need to select the color categories, those emails having selected categories are separated in New Search Folder.

Large Mail

I personally like this criterion, this option separates all emails received with large sizes, after separating those emails that will help me to remove or delete the emails from your inbox folder to enhance the size of the folder.

You can set up the size range by clicking on choose from the Customize search folder, before filtering the emails.

Old Mail

Searching Old emails and separating them into New Search Folder according to our requirements such as day(s), week(s), and month(s), you can enter the number of days (s), week(s), and month(s) maximum up to 99.

Mail with Attachment

The majority of emails landed in your inbox consist of attachments, you can separate those emails in New Search Folder using this option, you can also sort emails having attachments, but the most important thing in the new search folder is you can review them at a glance.

Mail with Specific Words

Searching for emails received in your inbox consists of specific words, there are numerous methods to do so, new search Folder method holds the top position to sort emails with specific words.

All you must do is type the inputs for instance “student performance“. You can easily keep a record of all the emails received from that specific word included in the Subject, for further correspondence.

Steps to Create a Custom Search Folder

All the above Predefined Search Folders are available in Microsoft Outlook by default, in case your search matches the criteria, you can directly select the option and get the required results in your new Search Folder.

Customer Search Folder is designed to create your own customized folder that provides results that all the above-predefined search folders can’t.

Custom Search Folders let you save those custom searches so you can get back to them with just a click or two.

Here I will walk you through step-by-step methods “How to Create a Custom Search Folder“.

  • Open Microsoft Outlook
  • Switch to the ‘Folder‘ tab on the Ribbon, and then click the ‘New Search Folder‘ button.
  • In the New Search Folder dialog box, all the available Predefined options are available, scroll down to the bottom of the list, select the ‘Create a Custom Search Folder‘ option, and hit the ‘Choose” button to specify criteria.
  • Custom Search Folder dialog box appears, the first option is to Name your customized search folder.

The next step is to formulate your set-up criteria for the search, so click on the ‘Criteria‘ button.

The Search Folder Criteria window opens, which consists of numerous options, and you can select as many of the available criteria as you want. The search Folder Criteria dialog box consists of three tabs:

  • Messages
  • More Choices
  • Advanced

Message Tab

The top messages tab consists of the basic search for specific words, in the subject field or message body, or frequently used text fields.

You can also limit the search to messages by entering the email address of the specific person emails are received from or sent to, where you are the only person on the ‘To’ line or on the ‘To’ or ‘Cc’ line with other people.

You can also specify a time range for the messages based on when they were received, sent, modified, and so on. there are multiple combinations available, which were designed considering every aspect of the scenario.

For instance, you could show only messages received last month.

More Choices

Next is the ‘More Choices’ tab which provides more selection and narrows down your search.

Starting with categories, only items that are read or unread, having one or more attachments or no attachments, the importance of the message (normal, low, high), only items that are flagged or not, and even the actual size of the message.

That last one can be helpful for finding and deleting large attachments.


The ‘Advanced’ tab consists of tons of such options you add criteria based on all the fields in Outlook.

But if you need to search for something you haven’t found on the other tabs, the chances are you’ll find it by clicking that ‘Field’ button and browsing the menus.

Every option consists of multiple selections when you select one of them, which opens up the condition and value.

Condition is the dropdown selection, and you like to enter the value manually.

Almost every information you have done setting, all the criteria you want on those under three tabs, click yes and ok, a user instruction is added in “Find the item that matches these criteria“.

You can remove the setup simply by selecting the setup and clicking remove, or you can also add more criteria at the same time. Click Ok to return to the Custom Search Folder window.

In the Final step, you need to select the folder you like to pull information from, by default, the custom search you create will pull from all the folders in your Outlook data file. If you want to limit that to just certain folders, click the ‘Browse’ button.

Select folder(s) dialog box appears, select the folder you like to add to the search and click Ok to close the box.

Finally, you are forwarded to the Custom Search folder again, click ‘OK’, Outlook creates your custom search folder and adds it to your folder view.

Custom Search Folder consists of all emails matching all your inputs, it’s a pretty powerful feature.

What is the Purpose of an Outlook Search folder?

A Search Folder is a virtual container that displays all email items that conform to specific search criteria. You will never miss any important emails that match your criteria,

For instance, the Unread Mail Search Folder allows users to view all unread messages in one virtual location, even though the messages might be physically stored in different folders across the mailbox.

What is the difference between using a search folder and using the search field in Outlook?

Search Filed in Outlook is another great tool in Outlook to search for specific criteria of emails. If you compare New Search Folder and Search Field,

The search field is a one-time setup, the emails will be filtered and shown on your screen, ones you are done with it, you need to reset the folder, but the new search folder created a separate folder with consists of emails that match your search inputs.

Any new emails received in your inbox or any other folder that matches the criteria will be added to the search folder.

Basically, it’s a one-time setup.

Secondly, the Search Folder keeps a copy of all emails in a virtual folder, without disturbing the original folder.

Keyboard Shortcut to open New Search Folder

Click Alt + O + SF which will open the New Search Folder, to select the options you can use the up and down arrow or click the alphabet to select the options to start with.

For instance: Click M in case you like to select ‘Mail Send Directly to Me’ or ‘Mail with Attachments.’

What Happens if you Choose to Delete a Search Folder in Outlook?

When you delete a search folder, the folder and its contents are removed. The email messages that were in the folder remain in their original locations.

Search Folders is a virtual folder, you can regenerate the folder with a few clicks.

Final Words

Custom Search Folder in Outlook always separates those emails which are really difficult. How will you use Search Folders to save time and be much more productive working with your email and Microsoft Outlook?

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Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of 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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