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Find Emails Easier By Adding More Search Locations in Outlook

If you need to find an email in Outlook the Search feature is valuable, but it can be annoying just searching the current folder. Here we take a look at adding All Folders, and Deleted Items to Search in 2010 and 2007.

Outlook 2010

If you’re searching for an email you received a few months ago, it can be annoying when you enter a search term, nothing is found, and you have to click Try searching again in All Mail Items.

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By default Outlook 2010 is set to only search in the current folder. We can change the locations that are searched the first time. Click on the File tab to access Backstage View and click on Options.

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In Outlook Options click on Search and under Results select All folders, and check Include messages from the Deleted items folder in each data file when searching in All Items…then click OK.

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Now when you’re searching for a specific email, all folders will be searched including Deleted Items.

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If you try this out and get too many results and don’t want to deal with that…keep Current folder marked and just check the box to include messages from Deleted Items.

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Outlook 2007

You can also help your search results in Outlook 2007. Click on Tools \ Options.

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In the Options screen click on the Search Options button.

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At the bottom of the Search Options screen check the box to included Deleted Items and All folders under Instant Search Pane if you want that option as well…then click OK.

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If you’re tired of only searching in the current folder when you’re trying to find an email, adding more search options should help speed up the process and make it easier to find what you need.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/21/10

Comments (3)

  1. Ken

    Don’t get your hopes up that this will help you search old e-mails. Sadly, Outlook (2007) will only index your archive.pst file if it is left open in Outlook. Close it and then open it again to search for some long lost e-mail and it has to re-index the entire file first. That takes ages. What’s the point of having an (effectively) unsearchable archive file?

  2. Nathan

    Hi there!
    I’m currently testing a 3rd party search tool named Lookeen since I frequently need to access older emails from my archives. According to their website it supposed to automatically detect archives and add them to the index. Well, it does as its written there :) Nice function and easy to use as well. Might be worth a look for anyone with similar tasks… More information on lookeen.net

    Greetings Nathan

  3. James

    This is helpful information but in my opinion the best way to search in Outlook is to use Xobni (www.xobni.com). The search is outstanding and there are a lot of other nice features as well (profiles, social networking info that I much prefer over the Outlook Social Connector, better autosuggest than Outlook, auto phone number extraction, analytics, etc….).

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