How To Search All Folders In Outlook

Outlook is probably the one thing you have open and running on your desktop all day while you are working. You need it constantly, and you need to be able to find things quickly and easily with Outlook search. But Outlook Search is one of those functions in Outlook that can give you a few headaches every so often. This is especially true if you receive a lot of mail, and frequently need to perform searches. If you have several folders in your Outlook, searching for an item or message can take up a lot of your time. You’ll inevitably run into some kind of problem when using Outlook search, so is there something that can be done to make Outlook search a little bit easier to use?


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The solution? Create an Outlook Search Folder, one that will search through all of your mail in one simple step. An Outlook Search Folder will gather up the things you need to find in one location, so your searches are quicker and your workflow is simpler. The following section will step you through the process of creating your Outlook Search folder, and how to make sure it searches through all of your mail.


All Mail Outlook Search Folder

The reason for creating this folder is to have quick access to all of your mail from any folder and also from any specific date. Once you create the “All Mail Search Folder” you can move it into your favorites. This will allow you to quickly access it with just one click.

While this can make searches easier, you should note that this won’t actually search inside any archived .PST files. This folder will allow you to scan through all of your most recent mails and items and find exactly what you need without having to use the indexed Outlook search.


Creating an All Mail Search Folder in Outlook

Here’s what you need to do to create a new Search Folder:

In the folder Navigation list, right click the header that says Search Folders and then select New Search Folder.


Outlook Search Folder Create Custom Folder

Scroll to the bottom of the window and now double click where it says “Create a custom search folder”.


Outlook Search Folder Name

Another window called the Custom Search Folder will open up. Type “All Mail Search Folder” in the Name field box, then click Browse…


Outlook Search Folder Create Search All Folders

Now select which folders you want to include in your “All Mail Search” folder. Uncheck the first item, and then check all of the folders you store your most important mail in. This is probably going to be your Inbox, the Sent Items folder, and any others you need to include in a global search. Make sure that you have checked off the box that says Search Subfolders at the bottom. Now click OK.


Outlook Search Folder Error

Click OK. A box will show up saying that you have not specified any criteria, just click Yes at this error because you don’t want to create any criteria for this.


Outlook Search Folder Complete

Now click OK again and you should now see the All Mail Search folder in the Search Folder List.

Now that the new Outlook search folder is setup, click on it as it may need a while to process and open up, depending on how many emails and files are in there. Don’t fret, as this will only happen once, which is when you initially try to open it. Once you are in you will want to arrange the folder by Date, so that you can easily find more recent emails quickly and easily.  This new Search Folder is going to make finding messages in Outlook, so much easier!

Click here if you need to create an Outlook Search Folder with more specific search criteria.


Search All Folders by Default in Outlook 2010 and 2013

If you are using Outlook 2010 or 2013, you are able to set up Outlook to search the items within All Folders by default. Just follow a few quick steps.

Within Outlook go and click File and then select Options.

Now in the Outlook Options window, click on Search which can be found on the left hand side, then underneath the Result section that shows in the main window, choose the All mailboxes option.

outlook search all folders

Click OK. You will now search all folders by default in Outlook 2010 and 2013.


Search All Folders by Default Outlook 2007

Here’s how to search all folders by default when using Outlook 2007. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Outlook and then click on Tools and then navigate to Options.
  2. Within Options, click on the Search Options button, which is found under the Preferences tab.
  3. In the Search Options, go down to where it says Instant Search Pane, and select the option underneath that says All Folders, and then click OK.
  4. It will return you to the Options window. Click OK again to finish up all of the settings.

Now you can automatically search All Folders in Outlook 2007.

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  • B

    OK – I have found the email I was looking for, and can read it, forward, etc. – but, I can’t see how to find out what folder that I moved it to! Is there a way to find out what sub-folder an email is in from the search results?

    2016-05-3 00:02:46 | Batitude
    • J

      Hi! Not to worry, you can figure out what folder it is in. You can find it through the Properties Dialog, or you can also try sorting your search results by Folder.

      Outlook hasn’t made this information stand out, so for you to find out exactly what folder the email is in go here: it gives you a run down of what you need to do.

      Hope that helps, reach back if you need more information.

      2016-05-4 14:33:45 | Joana Simoes

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