How do I add a search folder in Outlook?

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Search folders are an incredibly useful feature in Outlook. Search folders allow you to create virtual folders in your mailbox that only show email messages that match your search criteria. Frequently people organize their mail by moving items into physical folders they create.

But what happens if a message really belongs in more than one place? Or what if your folder structure no longer matches your requirements? Or what if you get behind in organizing your email? To address these and other mail management issues, you should use search folders instead of (or in addition to) your physical folder organization.

Search folders work by automatically analyzing all your email against a set of search criteria you define once. For example, you can create a search folder that will only show you messages from your project lead that contain attachments. Or maybe you want to see all email sent from a client. Or perhaps you want to see all flagged emails in one place - regardless of where they came from. Messages can show up in more than one search folder, making this feature ideal for grouping related content, regardless of where it 'lives'.

To create search folders, follow these steps:

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Locate Search Folders area in the navigation tree on the left - it'll be below your Outbox and RSS Feeds link, if you have one
  3. Right-click on Search Folders and select New Search Folder
  4. In the dialog box that opens, review the list of predefined rules - if none fit your needs, pick "Create a Custom Search Folder" under the Custom heading at the very bottom of the list
    1. Click on Choose to specify custom search criteria
    2. Enter a name for your folder ("From Boss", for example)
    3. Click on the Criteria button
    4. Enter search criteria

Spend some time analyzing search options available to you. You can make your search criteria very specific, so it pays to know what knobs and dials you can play with. Explore the Messages, More Choices, and Advanced tabs - then, when you're happy with your selections, click on OK until you've created your folder.

You can also read about search folders and the process to create them here - on the Microsoft's Office help site:

Having trouble? Submit a support request and we'll help you out!

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