Search Email in Outlook (Keyboard Shortcuts)

Most of us access our email accounts constantly. It seems like we are accessing email every day, but we rarely type in a search query to find a specific email. Instead, we rely on our inboxes to auto-sort based on our criteria.

However, inboxes are efficient, but they aren’t always perfect. At times, we drop an email in our inbox and later realize we didn’t necessarily need to read it. Or you accidentally deleted an important email, even though you didn’t mean to.

Searching for the hidden email to like searching for buried gold in Outlook, but if you apply smart technics using sort, conditional formatting, and filter the emails themselves popup automatically.

We have posted numerous articles on this; in this short article, you will learn the shortcut keys to help you shorten the methods to find the email in Outlook.

Shortcut to Search Email in Outlook

In Outlook for Microsoft 365 with the Search on Top feature, you can now also use ALT+Q or F3 directly.

The search function in Outlook will either search the current folder you have open, or your entire mailbox, depending on your default search settings and the version of Outlook you are using.

Sometimes you won’t get your desired result because the folder is not selected, you can use any of the keyboard shortcuts below to explicitly set your search scope.

What it Does?Keyboard Shortcut
Current Folder‘CTRL’ + ‘ALT’ + ‘K’
Sub Folder‘CTRL’ + ‘ALT’ + ‘Z’
All Outlook Items‘CTRL’ + ‘ALT’ + ‘O’

The default search scope for Outlook 2010 is the Current Folder.

For Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019, and Microsoft 365, the default is to search the Current Folder or the Current Mailbox when you are in the Inbox folder.

Advanced Search Shortcut key

Most of the time advance search is required to DIG out buried email messages from the folder:

'F3' + 'TAB' + 'SPACEBAR'

A further selection of Folder uses up and down arrow keys.

CTRL’ + ‘SHIFT’ + ‘F’ is another shortcut key to use Advanced Find, further you can use “TAB” to move forward and “SHIFT + TAB” to move backward and SPACE BAR to make a selection, it is easier to navigate via a keyboard.

Few more interesting Shortcut keys for Search

What it Does?Keyboard Shortcut
Close SearchESC
Search PeopleF11
Search a specific word within an opened itemF4
Find and replace specific text‘CTRL’ + ‘H’

For more Outlook keyboard shortcuts see the guide Keyboard shortcuts.

In conclusion, I don’t like to get too deep into all the many ways you can use shortcuts in Outlook. All I know is that I find shortcuts to speed things up.

Related Articles

Keyboard Shortcut for Reply/Forward in Outlook
Keyboard Shortcut to Permanently Deleting Email in Outlook
Keyboard Shortcut to Mark Email as read in outlook

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