How to Speed Up Searching For Emails In Outlook

How to Speed Up Searching For Emails In Outlook

We’ve all experienced difficulty with finding that one particular email, it can be so frustrating!

Most of us use simple terms in the Instant Search field in Outlook to hunt down specific emails when we need to revisit them. Did you know there is a better way?

Using Short Commands, it’s quick and easy to streamline your search query to an area you can set yourself for more accurate results. These commands could be a certain sender, a specific time period, a defined file size, or all three at once!

The Most Important Outlook Search Commands

Type… …to find the items that…
tom AND jim …contain both tom and jim, regardless of the order.
tom NOT jim …contain tom, but not jim.
tom OR jim …contain tom, jim, or both.
“tom jim” …contain the exact phrase in between the quotation marks, not variations.
from: “John Doe” …are sent by John Doe.
hasattachment:true …contain attachments.
subject:”John Doe” …have a subject including the exact phrase John Doe.
subject:max smith …have max in the subject and smith is included anywhere in the item
cc:”max smith” …have a CC line including max smith.
cc:[email protected] …have a CC line including the email address [email protected].
bcc:”max smith” …have a BCC line including max smith.
category:blue …contain a word with the term blue in it.
sent:yesterday …you sent or that were sent to you yesterday.
to:sam …contain emails you sent to sam (sent items folder).
read:false …you have not read, yet.

Outlook Search Syntax for Dates

If you’re hunting down an email from a certain date, the commands before and after can be quite helpful. Behind the selected command, you’ll use the date statement you’re looking for.

Make sure you use the date format as configured in Windows (e.g. mm/dd/yyy or!


Outlook Search Syntax for Sizes

Another useful command is the size command, so you can find items with the specific size you are looking for.

Specific size ranges

• Empty: 0KB
• Tiny: 0 to 10KB
• Small: 10 to 100KB
• Medium: 100KB to 1MB
• Large: 1 to 16MB
• Huge: 16 to 128MB
• Gigantic: >128MB


size:large  –  to find all items between 1MB to 16MB