In a previous article about WDS (Window Search) and “FAST” (server assisted search), we got into in-depth information about how searching and indexing works in Outlook desktop email client (by Microsoft). Here, we will get into the options offered by Outlook related to search, and also about the scope of search that you want. We will also briefly discuss the basics of searching for an item in Outlook and how to do it efficiently.
Outlook Search Options
To go to the options, click on ‘File’ and then ‘Options’ and then go to ‘Search’ tab.
- Indexing: The top most option is of ‘Indexing’ and will take you to the Windows Indexing options. You can also go to that from ‘Control Panel.’ Note that this is not specific for Outlook but for entire computer, but within which you can find particular indexing options for Outlook.
Indexing is a processing of scanning the files and data and saving their information like “words strings” and “metadata” and else that can be searched later. The difference between searching directly with the data and within the indices is speed. The first time you run indexing, it can take a couple of hours depending on the size of your database.
- Including results from: the next available option is to select the scope of your searches – within how big or small your want your searches to be confined. You can choose: current folder, current mailbox, or all mailboxes. You can also change this from the right dropdown menu from the search box.
- You can also select if you want to include the messages from the deleted folders or not.
- Show search results as you type the query (when possible)
- Improve search speed by limiting the search results
- Choose if you want search results to be shown in a different color or not
- Turn off notification if search is not complete due to half-finished indexing
How to Narrow your Search Scope for Quicker Results?
When you click on the search box to type your query, a new ‘group’ of tools opens on the top ribbon. From here you can refine your search and have more control over the scope.
- Selecting the type of folder is already discussed above. You can also do that from the search group in the ribbon
- You can select if you want to include:
- deleted items
- older results
- You can refine your search query by tweaking certain criteria, like:
- specifying ‘from’ and/or ‘to’ addresses.
- You can filter the results based on the fact if the emails have attachments or not.
- If they are read, unread, inside specific folders/categories, flagged, important, date of receiving, message size, expiration date, due date, sensitivity, important, and hosts of other factors
- This is where you can also check the indexing status and see if Outlook has finished the indexing process or if not, how much is left.
- You can also bring a more advanced “Finder” that has all the above options within a single window
Using the above recommended ways to refine your search and its scope, you can get quicker results. Searching is an important part of emailing world, not just for IT uses but also for home users. Being better at it certainly pays dividends in terms of productivity and overall efficiency.