How to use Outlook Search Syntax

If you can learn Outlook’s search syntax, you can more easily narrow down your Outlook searches to find the precise emails and files you are looking for. Here are some of the most commonly used terms for searching in Outlook:



Want to work even faster in Outlook? Here's how...

Type This … … To Find This
john Items containing john, JOHN, JoHn, or any combination of uppercase and lowercase letters. Instant search isn’t case sensitive.
john smith Items with both John and Smith, but not necessarily in that order.
john AND smith Items containing both john and smith, but not necessarily in that order. *
John NOT smith Items containing John but not smith
John OR smith Items containing john, smith, or both
“john smith” Items containing the exact phrase john smith.
From:”john smith” Items sent from John Smith.
From:”john smith”About:”Financial Report” Items sent from john smith where financial report appears in the subject line, body, and attachment contents.
Subject:”john smith” Items whose subject contains the phrase john smith
Subject:john smith Items with john in the subject line and with smith anywhere else in the document.
Cc:”John smith” Items in which the display name john smith is on the CC line. Items in which the email address is on the cc line
Bcc:John Items in which john is on the bcc line.
Received:=1/1/2014 Items that arrived on 1/1/2014.
Received:Yesterday Items that arrived yesterday.**
Received:last week Items that arrived last week.**
From:John (received:1/1/14OR received:1/2/14) Items from john that arrived on either 1/1/14 or 1/2/14. ***
Sent:yesterday Items that you sent yesterday
To:john Items that you sent to John when searching in the sent items folder
Firstname:John Contacts that contain john in the first name field
Lastname:Smith Contacts that contain smith in the last name field
Nickname:Jo Contacts that contain jo in the nickname field


Now searching through your Outlook files and content should be a little simpler. The more you use these search terms, the more proficient you will become at using Outlook and Outlook search. It’s the practice makes perfect method, and it will boost your productivity and your search results.

*You can use these logical operators AND, NOT, OR, <, >, =, and others to help refine your search. Logical operators must be capitalized.

**Search will also recognize the following date values:

  • Relative dates: today, tomorrow, yesterday
  • Multi-word dates: this week, next month, last week, past month
  • Days: Sunday, Monday…Saturday
  • Months: January, February, …December

***Note the use of parenthesis which group the dates.

Date: 25. Aug 2015
Author: Joana Simoes
Tags: Email Outlook 2013 Outlook Search Search Benefits

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