Create search folders to find messages across folders, based on their content or some other significant attribute (like who they're from). Or delete search folders.
Add a predefined Search Folder
In Mail, click FOLDER.
In the New group, click New Search Folder. Keyboard shortcut to create a Search Folder is Ctrl+Shift+P.
From the Select a Search Folder list, click the Search Folder you want to add.
If prompted, under Customize Search Folder, specify the search criteria to use.
To select a different mailbox to search, under Customize Search Folder, click the arrow at the Search mail in box, and then select the mailbox from the list.
Video: Use Instant Search to find messages and text
The easiest way to understand how search folders work is to create one and use it.
In Mail, go to the folder list and choose an email account.
Then look inside the account for a folder named Search Folders. Right-click Search Folders and click New Search Folder.
Here, we decide what we want the search folder to search for. Let’s select Mail flagged for follow up and click OK.
The search folder For Follow Up is created. And there are all the email messages in our mailbox that have follow-up flags.
So, what exactly is going on? Well, search folders don’t actually contain email; they contain search results.
Hold the mouse pointer over an item and the screen tip that pops up shows you where the email is actually located.
You can double-click the email to open it and work with it just like any other mail. You can even delete it or close it.
The email itself is real, but again the search folder doesn’t actually contain the email. It contains search results.
When you delete a search folder, by right-clicking the folder and clicking Delete Folder, the folder and search results go away, but the email messages themselves are still in their original locations.
So, you can think of search folders as virtual folders, or pointers or links or windows to the actual content.
But as I said earlier, the easiest way to understand them is to create one and use it.
Right-click Search Folders and click New Search Folder.
This time, let’s create one that searches for Mail from specific people.
With this option, Outlook needs more information and we add it, down here.
Click Choose. In the address book, let’s select the people whose email we want Outlook to search for, and click From.
We can also type email addresses directly in the From line. Click OK, then OK again to create the search folder.
We don’t have any mail from these people now, but search folders are always working, even when you are in another part of Outlook or using another application.
If some mail arrives that matches your search criteria, you see the results in the search folder.
Search folders can help you cut through the clutter in your Inbox and jump right to the email you need.
You can create search folders that show, for example, mail marked as Important mail and mail that contains specific words.
However, if you don’t find what you are looking for in one of the pre-defined options, you can define your own search criteria.
To see how that works, watch the next video in this course, Create a custom search folder.