How-To

Outlook 2013: How to Use Search Folders to Find Email Fast

Outlook is a rare application in that it’s one of those apps I keep open ALL DAY. Almost my entire day revolves around it, so when I can find a groovy tip that saves me time, it can be a huge impact on my productivity. Outlook 2013 Search Folders is one of those tips!

Outlook is a rare application in that it’s one of those apps I keep open all day. Almost my entire day revolves around it, so when I can find a tip that saves me time, it can greatly impact my productivity. Outlook 2013 Search Folders is one of those tips. It helps me set up and organizes my inbox using custom search strings. This keeps me from rereading my search repeatedly, and I know exactly where my data is when I need it.

I started using this feature back when I read the article Jack wrote for creating search folders with Outlook 2010. Today let’s review the feature with Microsoft’s new Outlook 2013.

Organizing Email with Outlook 2013 Search Folders

Let’s start by creating a new search folder. Click the Folder tab and then click New Search Folder.

Outlook 2013 search folders

Microsoft provides several default searches you can choose from. Many of these are very useful, including “Mail sent directly to me” or “Mail flagged for follow up.” So even if you don’t have time to create a groovy custom search, play around and add a few of these default search folders to get the creative juices thinking.

Outlook 2013 search folders new

After adding a custom search, the folder will appear below the standard email folders, as shown below. In my example, I added the search folder “Unread or For Follow Up.”  The folder has appeared in my folder list, along with a filtered list of emails that meet those criteria. Very Groovy!

Outlook 2013 search folders follow up

You can also choose to create search folders for an email from people and lists. I added this default search folder from above then chose groovyPost’s, Brian Burgess.

Outlook 2013 search folders from specific

After I clicked OK, I can easily find that email in the future in the folder labeled with Brian.

Outlook 2013 search folders Brian

Custom Search Folder

However, the real power of search folders is building custom searches using a variety of criteria to find exactly when you need them from anywhere in your inbox. Scroll all the way down to create a custom search folder and click Criteria.

As you can see, the options are endless; however, Microsoft still makes it fairly easy to walk through the interface to customize it how you want it. In the future, we will be following up this article with another to go over some of the more advanced aspects of the custom search folders.

Outlook 2013 search folders custom criteria

I guarantee that if you’re an Outlook user, this tip will save you time. Play around and if you run into any questions, post them here, and we will give you a hand!

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. hedwin

    The search folders is what I was looking for. But it now seems the number of items returned is limited which now makes it useless. Is there a way to get rid of this limitation?

  2. Sebastien

    I want to use the search folder to retrieve email between 2015-12-31 and 2015-02-01. Is that possible to select such criteria?

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