Use Email Search to Find What you Need in Outlook

Back in the dark ages (before Internet access was widely available), access to information was the big problem. Today, we're drowning in the stuff and finding the specific bits you want want is the problem.

Email search tools are particularly valuable, and Outlook provides the capability as part of its general search features. This part of the site deals with Outlook search capabilities.

Basic Searching with Find

If you want to do a basic search in Outlook, the Find tool will get the job done for you. The Find tool is part of the Find bar, which appears to the right of the Navigation pane and above the other panes that are visible.

The "Find" bar contains several controls, including a Look for text entry box and a Find Now button. In the Find bar, the buttons appear as regular text until you point at them with the cursor.

NOTE: If the Find bar isn't visible, you can make it appear by pressing the CTRL-E keyboard shortcut.

The easiest way to use the Find tool is to go to the folder you want to search, type a word or phrase into the "Look for" box, and click Find Now. This causes the tool to search the current folder for the word or phrase. If the tool finds the term in the folder, it displays a list of the items containing that word or phrase.

To search in some location other than the open folder, you can click the Search In button. This displays a list of common searches, as well as an option to manually specify the folders you want to search. Choose the folders you want to search, then click Find Now to search those folders.

When you are finished with a set of search results, click Clear to return to the original view.

NOTE: The Clear button becomes active when search results are shown.

The Options button lets you control whether Outlook searches all the text in each item, or just the headers. It also gives you the option to save the search results in a search folder, or do an Advanced Search.

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