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Search, learn the syntax


Search, learn the syntax

Permalink 02:28:00 pm by Eugene Gardner, Categories: General, Articles

The other day I was with a client who wanted to write me a cheque. We knew that I had e-mailed him an invoice a couple of weeks earlier so he got into Outlook and started looking down a list of all items in his inbox ! No see there so he then moved on to his 'Computer' folder. Cutting the story short, I was getting bored waiting for the result so I suggested he enter in his search box
from:eugene hasattachment:yes
Bingo, that limited the search to two items.

The full search syntax at
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa965711(v=vs.85).aspx is so rich that learning it would take much time, but allocating 10 minutes to learn the basics will save hours later. I know this as I have not deleted a non-junk e-mail since 27th August 1996 and my memory is such that I need to search several times day.

The following examples are the most common and bare minimum you need. Note that this works not just in Outlook but in most other mail clients and Windows since Vista (or XP if you have the optional Windows Search 4.0 for Windows XP (KB940157) installed).

Many terms are the same in Google search, Gmail and other search engines too so this knowledge is really essential stuff.

from:      Contains the text anywhere in the from field
subject:   Contains any of the keywords in the subject
category:  Assuming you do tag mails
hasflag:   locates flagged items
artist:    "Leo Sayer" just these tunes
received:  last week for example - more complex options exist
date:      >19/10/10
ext:.pdf   Only interested in PDF files (works for Microsoft)
filename:pdf  (works for Google)
OR         Find text containing either phrase - note the UPPER CASE
"a phrase" For when there is a space in the search string
-string    Filter out results containing string
Older:     yyyy/mm/dd
Larger:    20M for example
hasattachments:  Yes (works in Outlook)
has:attachment   Works for Google

Please comment or mail me with your favourite term that I forgot to include.
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