Better Searching in Outlook

A common problem with email searches is that they can return too many results. For example, entering someone’s name may return matches where the name appears in parts of the message’s body even though you meant to look for messages from that person. It can be also hard to enter other criteria to help narrow your search, such as whether it has an attachment or that it has a particular category applied. Using Instant Search in Outlook, you can use specific words or “parameters” to narrow your search criteria for a faster and more efficient search.

The Search Contextual Tab is displayed each time you click into the search box. It allows you to filter your search results using a variety of parameters, including:

  • Sender’s name
  • Subject keywords
  • Presence of attachments
  • Categories
  • Sent date
  • Flagged messages
  • The recipient’s name in the TO or CC fields
  • Importance
  • Read/unread status

You can use this tab to help you find messages quickly and easily. For example, suppose you are searching for a message with the phrase “Food Blog”, but more than 100 items return matching that query. Let’s suppose you also remember that this message has an attachment. Now you can instantly narrow down the results to a much smaller set to find what you are looking for by clicking the Has Attachments button in the Search Contextual Tab:

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