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Instant Search in MS Outlook

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 by | Filed Under: MS Outlook

Ever find yourself searching for a message from a specific sender?

How did that go?

Unless you actually sort saved messages into folders based on the sender you could have messages from a single person all over the place.

So… needless to say, when you go to search for a specific one the question becomes “Where did I put it?”

Or, you’re finding yourself busy trying to run searches for keywords and it just gets to be quite a headache.

Therefore, today I offer an alternative to the aspirin you were considering for that headache.

MS Outlook has a handy little feature that will locate all messages from a single sender regardless of where you have them stored.

Sounds like a plan to me so let’s take a look.

To make this as easy as possible, start by highlighting a message from the sender we seek.

Now we’re off to the Tools menu.


In the Tools menu we need either Instant Search or Find (depends upon your version of Outlook… big surprise, I know) then we need to choose Messages from Sender.

An Advanced Find dialog box will open that is already busy populating the bottom portion with all the messages it can find from that sender.


At this point you only need to look through that list to locate the message you seek.

If you need to narrow it down some more then use the top portion of the Messages tab to refine your search.


At the top you’ll find a field labeled “Search for word(s)” and just below that a drop-down list to choose where Outlook should look.

As you can see, my initial search came up with 779 Computer Tips messages from Steve and after doing a keyword search for Outlook in the body of the message I now have 294.

OK – so maybe that’s not a great example since there are still so many but then again how many people send you that many messages? It has taken me years to save that many Computer Tips issues so a search for messages from anyone else would never yield that many to start with.

Chances are your initial search would never come up with this many so, obviously, a more refined search should give you even less.

At any rate, double-click on any message in the list to open it and when you’ve found what you need close the dialog box and go on with your day.

~ April

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