Using search within Outlook 2007

Who else wants to know the secret to Excel Formulas?

Invest in yourself in 2015 and reduce your frustration with formulas in Excel for just $19.95 - Click here to enroll today

Hey do you remember how awfully slow searching for emails was in old versions of Outlook? 

Well thank you to the folk at Microsoft who fixed this up and gave us a far superior search feature!  But are you getting the most out of Outlook 2007 search?

Obviously you can do a standard basic search for keywords in your emails, and that works quite well.  But did you know you can get quite granular with your search and find the email you are looking for much quicker?

For example, it is quite simple to search for emails that are from your boss that had the subject “Payrise” in them – and get the results very quickly without having to scroll through dozens if not hundreds of results.

So with that in mind, I thought I would run through some of the different search criteria you can use to get the most out of search in Outlook 2007.  I can’t go through every single possible search query, but you will get the idea.  Just remember that you can combine any of the searches below, and include keywords at the end to really target the email you are after.

Search for emails from an individual

Simply type “from:insert name or email address here” and that will return all the emails from that person.

For example – from:bill, or, or from:"Bill Smith"

Search for emails sent to an individual

Simply type “to:insert name or email address here” and that will return all the emails sent to that person

For example – to:bill, or, or to:"Bill Smith"

Search for emails received in the last x number of days

Simply type “received:timeframe" and that will return all the emails in that particular timeframe

For example – received:yesterday, or received:last week, or received:this year

Search for emails with a particular subject line

Simply type “subject:subject line” and that will return all the emails with include that subject line

For example – subject:payrise, or subject:(leave application), or subject:(lunch on thursday)

Search for emails with particular words in the body

Simply type “body:keyword” and that will return all the emails that include that keyword in the body of the email

For example – body:payrise


There are plenty of other search criteria you can use… here is a list:

  • If the email has been read
  • If the email has an attachment
  • Who was BCC’d on the email
  • Who was CC’d on the email
  • What categories the email was placed in
  • The due date for any follow up on the email
  • The importance of the email
  • The flag status of the email
  • What folder the email is in
  • What size the email is
  • When the email was last modified
  • What sensitivity level the email has
  • When it was sent
  • When the start date of the email follow up is


So there you have it, a quick introduction to the possibilities with Outlook 2007 search.  Now you can be confident that you will always be able to find emails when you need them!

‘till next time!

8 thoughts on “Using search within Outlook 2007

  1. Wow I didn’t know that microsoft really managed to improve the search in Outlook. But still there are a lot of things, I miss. What about searching in contacts and the calender? What about searching within attachements? What about indexing huge PST-files? You see, there is still a lot of work to do for Microsoft.

  2. I won´t remember all these search-restrictions. I agree to Matthew and recommend an external search-tool like Lookeen.

    I think that tool is still better as the built-in search of outlook.

  3. I see the option to search for any emails that have an attachment… is there any way to search for emails that have a particular type of attachment? For example – I would like search to return the list of all emails in a folder structure that have an excel spreadsheet as an attachment. Any ideas or thoughts?

  4. I have an answer for Eric – yes you can, here is how:

    in the search bar type the following:

    attachment: .pdf – this will bring up all mail with a PDF attachment

    attachment: .docx – will bring up all mail with a word attachment

    so you basically type the file extension preceeded with a . after typing attachment: , and it will give you the results you are lookiing for 🙂

  5. Is there any way you know of to force a ‘logical AND’, or ‘all words’. If I search on
    petroleum exploration
    I get emails that have EITHER word, not BOTH words.

    Or, if I wish to retain the literal spelling of a phrase with special characters
    AG-285-A (for a part number)
    pulls up any email with the word “a” in it, which is a lot

    Many thanks.

  6. Sorry since I sent this email, I already see this on the web. I can use quotes to force an exact phrase, or the upper case word AND to force both present, such as
    “May 9” AND 10
    finding emails where May 9 10 are mentioned.

  7. I really don’t see how this is better. Whenever I wanted to see all of the emails from Petra Rovine, I would type “Rovine” in the search box and presto…. there they were.

    Now I have to type sender:rovine to find them? Isn’t that MORE typing? Also, now it searches every single word of every single email which actually takes LONGER.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *