Searching in Outlook – Part Two

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A couple of weeks ago, I gave you some tips on how to refine your Outlook searches. As promised, here are a couple more to help you find that pesky email.

Narrow down your search using logical operators.

This is also known as a ‘boolean search’ and sounds a lot more complex than it actually is. Logical operators are used to combine keywords – the logical operators are words or symbols that represent a particular search action. You can find a full list of operators for outlook here, however, here are some you are likely to use:

AND (searching for an email containing two criteria, e.g. email AND gobbledegook)

NOT (searching for an email with one criteria that doesn’t contain another, e.g. containing the word gobbledegook but not the word thingymejig: gobbledegook NOT thingymejig)

OR (searching for either one word or another in the email, but not both – e.g. gobbledegook OR thingymejig)

–  < or > (can be used to identify items of a particular size, e.g. larger than 5 MB, messagesize:>5 MB)

The following example shows the difference a logical operator can make.

Search 1: This is a search for the word ‘gobbledegook’. You can see it has returned three emails and note that the search is not case sensitive, so has returned ‘Gobbledegook’ and ‘gobbledegook’.


Search 2: This time, I’ve asked Outlook to find an email with subject ‘gobbledegook’ from ‘virtual’.


Search 3: Just to prove that really does work, the last example asks Outlook to find an email with subject ‘gobbledegook’ from ‘holly’. This time you get the two emails the sent one and the received one.


Using the Search Tab

If you aren’t able to remember the different search terms, don’t worry, Outlook does make it a little easier for you by giving you some options in the search tab. This tab appears when you click in the Instant Search box.


I hope these blogs have helped you with narrowing down your email searches. Have you found any other ways that work?

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