How to use search in Outlook to help you find email that you have mislaid.

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How to search for email in Outlook

search for email

How to search for email in Outlook

Search for email

You need to find an email. But – you can’t remember where it is filed. You may feel as if you are drowning in email! Never fear, Outlook Search will help you locate that errant email. Not only can Search find one email that matches one criteria, it can find email matching several kinds of criteria too.

The Search Ribbon

To get to the Search Ribbon:

  • Click into the Search bar at the top of the inbox (or any folder you happen to be in) and the Search Ribbon appears
  • Press Control and the letter E
  • Use the Filter icon to find email
Search Ribbon

Figure 1- the search ribbon






search filter icon

Figure 2- the find or filter button








Search criteria

When you filter or search, you tell Outlook what to look for.

  • Unread – finds all messages that have not yet been read,
  • Has Attachments – finds all messages that have attachments.
  • This Week – set the date range in which to search.
  • Categorised – find messages that have a particular category.
  • Flagged – find flagged messages.
  • Important – find messages marked important.
  • Sent To: Me or CC: Me – finds messages where my(your) name is in the sent to or cc to box.
  • View Items Expiring Soon – this filters out any items that have an expiry date set.

Find items from

  1.  Click into the search box
  2. Click on From in the Search Ribbon
  3. Type the name of the person whose email you want to find
  4. Press Enter
search from

Figure 3- from











All email that match the criteria are displayed with the criteria highlighted in yellow.


Has attachments

  1. Click into the search box
  2. Click on Has Attachments
  3. Press Enter
has attachments

Figure 4- find email with attachments









A list of email with attachments is now displayed.

You can combine more than one search criteria so to find all email from Shelley with an attachment I would add both of those criteria.


Figure 5- from Shelley with attachments














Using the Filter icon

The filter icon is on the Home Ribbon and contains a drop down of the most frequent searches. You can use this just as easily as the Search Ribbon so long as you are looking for one of these options.


Figure 6 – the filter button on the home ribbon









How do you look for email in Outlook? Do you file email or keep it in your Inbox?

Let me know in the comments below.

About the Author Shelley Fishel

I will help you be more productive and earn more money as a virtual assistant. As a trainer with 20 years experience, you'll love how you'll get between 4-8 hours a week back when you use Microsoft tools to their fullest potential. I'm also the author of several best-selling books on Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook, published at . Subscribe and get more productive!

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