Using Outlook Advanced Find

Outlook Advanced Find Searching Emails

The Outlook Advanced Find feature provides a powerful set of features to help find even your most deeply hidden Emails.

Outlook provides many ways for you to search for your Emails, including Outlook Search Terms and the Outlook Instant Search.

However, sometimes, you need something even more flexible and powerful to find those very difficult to find Emails.

That is where the Outlook Advanced Find utility comes to the rescue - it can find even the most deeply hidden messages.

Outlook Advanced Find contains a wide array of advanced search options and allows you to construct specific and complex search queries.

Advanced Find is the tool to use when you need to find that old needle-in-the-haystack Email!
— Michael Einstein

The way you access Outlook Advanced Find depends upon your specific version of Microsoft Outlook.

To access Advanced Find In Microsoft Outlook 2007:

  • Select “Tools”.
  • Select “Instant Search”.
  • Select “Advanced Find”.

To access Advanced Find In Microsoft Outlook 2013:

  • Click in the Search box to activate the Search Toolbar.
  • Select "Search Tools".
  • Select "Advanced Find".
Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot1

Note: The steps to access Advanced Find may be a  bit different in older versions of Microsoft Outlook.  But all recent versions of Outlook contain the Advanced Find utility.  If you have problems locating it, feel free to contact me.

Advanced Find can search different areas of Outlook:

You can use Advanced Find to search only for specific Outlook components.

This can be just your Messages, Tasks, Appointments, or you can broaden your search to "Any Type of Outlook Item".

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot2

But by default, if you are in your Mailbox when you activate Advanced Find, it will look for "Messages" items.

There are three tabs in Outlook Advanced Find:

  • Messages (when you activate it from your Mailbox).
  • More Choices
  • Advanced

Now, let’s look at each one in a bit more detail....

The messages tab:

The messages tab allows you to search for specific words.

You also have options to search either in the "From" or in the "Sent To" fields.

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot3

If you select the "In" field, you have a drop-down of more options to refine exactly where to search for your desired word, including in the subject, the subject and message body, or in a specific text field you can select.

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot4

And for further search filtering, you have an option to select the "Where I am" check-box.

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot5

This allows you to search messages where you are the only person on the "to" line, on the "towith other people, or on the "cc" with other people

As you can see, you can get very specific using only the first "Messages" tab!

The More Choices tab contains a number of options:

There are options to search for specific categories, items that are read/unread, items with attachments/no attachments, items of specific importance, items with specific flags, and items of specific size ranges.

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot6

You can select as many check-boxes as you need to refine your search.

And it is possible to combine selections on this tab with choices you made on the first "Messages" tab. Just remember that by adding more criteria, you are making the search more restrictive - it combines all the criteria together!

Last is the Advanced tab:

This tab allows you to create very advanced and customized search queries.

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot7

You begin by choosing a specific field that you want to search against.

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot8

You can select from virtually every available field in the Outlook system.  This includes fields for Email messages, contacts, appointments, tasks, and even detailed document information.

If it is a field with some sort of data or value, you can select it and search against it!

After you select your field, you choose the search "condition":

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot9

This includes conditions such as "exactly", "contains", "doesn't contain" or "starts with".

And then lastly, you choose a "value" to compare against the selected field and your defined condition.

You can even "stack" several criteria to make the search very, very specific.

In the example below, I created a Search for "Subject" with the word "Jeff", "Received" in the last 7 days, and "Importance" of "High".

Outlook Advanced Find Screenshot10

So there you have it, a review of all the key features of the Outlook Advanced Find utility.

And don't forget that the power of Advanced Find is that it can combine multiple criteria to really fine-tune your search.

Do you use Outlook Advanced Find?

How do you find it compares to the other Outlook Search Tools?