Weekly Computer Tip # 292
27 November 2009

Find that needle in a haystack
(Outlook 2007)

This week's tip is inspired by Catherine Kendall who asked whether you could use "logical operators" such as AND, NOT or OR to refine your search. I had never tried but it turns out you can. (Thanks for the question, Catherine!) So from thinking Outlook 2007's new Instant Search facility was pretty useful when you have way to many emails to sift through (and who hasn't?) it's now my favourite way of finding that needle in a haystack. You don't even need to know which folder the email is in!

Here's how:

In the Instant Search box (in the upper-right corner, just under the standard toolbar) type one of the following examples:

from:"jo bloggs" about:"heads of agreement"
This will find any email messages from Jo Bloggs where the exact phrase "heads of agreement" appears in the subject line, the email itself or anywhere in an attachment. (The use of double quotes is required if you want the search results to match the exact name or phrase within the quotes.)

about:"heads of agreement" NOT:serco
This will find any email messages about "heads of agreement" but it will leave out any email messages about that subject where it finds serco.

received:>=10/11/09 AND received:<=20/11/09
This will find any emails that arrived between 10/11/09 and 20/11/09