Friday, February 11, 2011


Search Feature In Outlook 2010 Compared To Previous Versions Of Outlook

I love the new search features in Outlook 2010. They have already saved me quite a bit of time.

How often do you ask yourself, “Where’s that message?” Whether you are a filer (you keep messages carefully organized in folders) or a piler (you keep all of your messages in your Inbox), these three tips can help you find that elusive message.

Personally, I am more of a piler — I have created folders and use Outlook rules to direct some messages automatically to those folders. But most of my work messages stay in my Inbox. Leave a comment below and let us know if you are a filer or piler.

Now let’s talk about the main topic of this blog — search. We made great improvements to search performance in Outlook 2010. Here are three scenarios and strategies to find the email you are searching for.

Can’t find that email message? These three tips can help

1. Use Instant Search

Instant Search is always a great place to start. If you’re looking for a message from Dan Wilson about some TPS Reports, just type “Dan Wilson TPS Reports” into the Instant Search box. The message from Dan appears.

Outlook 2010 Search 1 2. Use the Search Tools ribbon to refine your search

Sometimes, there might be too many results matching your Instant Search criteria. For example, you’re looking for a message from your manager, and you have 200 messages from him or her in your Inbox (or 2000, if you’re a piler like me and your manager sends as many messages as mine does). In this case, the Search Tools ribbon comes to the rescue. As soon as you click in the Instant Search box, the Search Tools ribbon automatically appears.

Outlook 2010 Search 2Fine tune the search with any additional information you have about the message you’re looking for. If you know part of the subject, click Subject, and type the subject. If you know the message had an attachment, click Has Attachments. There are many ways to refine your search by clicking More in the Refine group.

If you are a filer and can’t remember which folder a message is in, don’t forget to select a folder scope in the Scope group on the ribbon. Click All Outlook Items to expand your search to more mail folders or to include all folders including your calendar, contacts, and tasks.

Outlook 2010 Search 33. Create a Search Folder for repeated searches

If you find yourself repeating the same search over and over, you might want to create a Search Folder. A Search Folder is a virtual folder that provides a view of all email items that match specific search criteria. For example, if you regularly search for emails that are more than 1 MB, you can create a Search Folder. Then, the next time you want to find those large messages, just open the Search Folder you created. It’s always up-to-date with the items that match that Search Folder’s criteria.

Outlook 2010 Search 4

Using Online Archive folders: There are few complaints about Outlook locking up when trying to search from a very slow connection.

In most cases, Outlook searches your folders using Windows Search and a local index of your mail. Since the Online Archive is never downloaded to your computer, searches for the Online Archive are run by sending your search query to the Microsoft Exchange Server. This can take longer than a local search, especially on a slow connection. Searches in the “current folder” or “subfolder” scope in your mailbox should not be affected by this. If you want to disable searching your Online Archive during All Mail Item searches, on the search contextual ribbon tab go to “Search Tools” and under “Locations To Search” uncheck your archive.

You can learn more about Search Folders at

If you’re using Outlook 2010, leave a comment about your experience with search compared to previous versions of Outlook.


About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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Write comments
May 19, 2011 at 9:24 PM delete

There seems to be a bug on searches concering the subject. Substrings wouldn't show up on the result:

subject: xyz1234
search pattern: subject contatins '1234'
... no hits...