Searching for Emails in Office 365
Whether you're using the Outlook Web App (OWA) or the Outlook desktop client to view and manage your email, Office 365's searching capabilities are the same. Office 365 provides many ways to search your account.
Outlook 2013 vs. Outlook Web App
In both Outlook 2013 and Outlook Web App, the search bar is located approximately in the middle of the window at the top of the message pane. When you perform a search from any folder other than the Inbox, it limits the results to that folder. If you search from the Inbox it searches all folders in your account.
You can perform a simple search by typing one or more criteria into the search box. Example criteria could include:
- First or last names
- Email addresses
- Words appearing in the Subject line of an email
- Words appearing in the body text of an email
- Words appearing in the file name of an attachment
Outlook 2013 and Outlook Web App will start its "Simple Search" as you type, suggesting additional search criteria that could help narrow your results and returning the initial results of a "People Search" based on your contacts, people who you email the most, and the City of Rockville Directory. Hit the Enter key to run the search as is and all emails meeting the specified criteria will display.
Simple searches are quick and easy but very broad. This often results in far more emails being displayed than the particular email you trying to find. It's in these cases where specific searches can be used to narrow your results. Specific searches utilize Advanced Query Search (AQS) which combines certain keywords and characters with the same criteria used in simple searches. Some of the most useful keywords are listed.
Name or email address (in Sent field)
Names or email addresses (in To field)
Names or email addresses (in Cc field)
Names or email addresses (in Bcc field)
Names or email addresses (in To, Cc, and Bcc fields)
Specific words (in the subject line)
Specific words (in the body text)
Date message was sent
Date message was received
Specific words (in an email attachment's file name)
Other keywords (e.g. "has:attachment" finds emails with attachments)
Finds all emails sent from people whose first or last name is Michael, first or last name contains Michael (e.g., Tanya Michaels, Michaela Johnson), or has Michael in their email address (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org)
Finds all emails sent or received containing the word "holiday" in the subject line
- received:last week
Finds all emails you received last week
Finds all emails you sent on November 11th, 2014
- from:Michael received:last week
Finds all emails sent last week from people whose first or last name is Michael, first of last name contains Michael (e.g., Tanya Michaels, Michaela Johnson), or has Michael in their email address (e.g., email@example.com)
- subject:holiday sent:11/1/2014
Finds all emails sent or received on November 11th, 2014 containing the word "holiday" in the subject line
More Search Considerations
Keywords and search criteria are not case sensitive.
A search of "holiday" returns the same results as "Holiday".
You can use multiple terms in your criteria and refine with ( ) and " ". Here are a couple examples of how you might use them:
- subject:strategic plan finds all emails with “strategic” or “plan” in the subject line
- subject:(strategic plan) finds all messages with both “strategic” and “plan” in the subject line
- subject:“strategic plan” finds all messages with the phrase “product plan” in the subject line
You can use logical operators (e.g., AND, NOT, OR, <, >, =")" to refine further. Logical operators must be typed in uppercase letters.
- subject:"strategic plan" AND received:<6/1/2014 finds all messages with the phrase "strategic plan" in the subject line received prior to June 1st, 2014
Microsoft provides tons of information on these search capabilities. Check out the following resources for more information: