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This chapter is from the book

Searching for Messages

As your digital stack of email grows, so does the inevitable need to search through them for a particular message. If you’re worried that searching for a message may be like looking for a needle in a haystack, don’t sweat it. Outlook has tools you can use to look for messages. In fact, Outlook taps into the Windows Search technology, which means you can even search for Outlook items from the Windows Start menu (Windows 7) or using the Windows 8 search screen.

Conducting a Quick Search

When you select an Inbox to view in the Mail module, a search box appears at the top of the list, much like the one found in Figure 5.19. You can click in the box and type any keyword or words you want to search for, whether it’s a name, subject title, or a word within the message body. As soon as you start typing, Outlook starts searching. Any matches are listed, newest emails first, similar to Figure 5.20. Outlook also opens a Search tab on the ribbon with additional search tools you can access and apply.


FIGURE 5.19 Use the search box at the top of the message list to search for messages in that particular Inbox or folder.


FIGURE 5.20 Outlook displays possible matches and opens a Search tab of tools.

You can narrow the search by adjusting the keyword or words you search for, or by tweaking the search criteria, such as searching subject lines or recipient names. To add search criteria, select among the Refine group of tools on the Search tab and then type in your refining keyword or words in the search box, similar to Figure 5.21. You can also click the drop-down arrow on the search box to change which folder or Inbox you search.


FIGURE 5.21 Use the Refine group of tools to refine your search further.

When you finish with your search, click the Close Search button on the Search tab.

Making Search Folders

You can use Outlook’s Search folders to speed up searching tasks. A Search folder gives you a spot to look for certain kinds of messages regardless of where they’re actually located. It’s rather like a catalog of messages pertaining to a set of criteria. Search folders can save you quite a bit of time and energy otherwise searching through a vast amount of messages. Plus, after they’re established, Outlook keeps your Search folders up to date.

Outlook offers several preset Search folders you can use. For example, the Mail Flagged for Follow Up folder shows only messages you’ve flagged, whereas the Unread Mail folder shows only messages you haven’t read yet.

To create a custom search folder, click the New Search Folder button on the Folder tab. The New Search Folder dialog box opens, similar to Figure 5.22. Choose the type of Search folder you want to add. If you’re making a custom folder, click the Choose button to fill in any additional information required by the type. When you finish filling out details, click OK.


FIGURE 5.22 The New Search Folder dialog box.

To search your Search folder, click the folder name and a list of messages immediately appears. To exit the folder, click the Inbox again.

See Chapter 16 to learn more about searching in Outlook.

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