Search for more than one word in Outlook - Photo by Pawel Janiak on UnsplashWe all have to search for emails at one time or another. I’m sure you all use the search bar at the top as I do to type a word that I believe is in the title or the body of the message. This will search all the emails in the particular folder you are in. You also may wish to search for several words that may reside in different emails. Do you really want to search for each one separately? There must be an easy way to speed the search up. There is!

My scenario is this;

I need to find emails that have the word “employer” as well as messages that have “tax” in them. they can have just one or both. I could do three searches and copy the messages into a new folder. Alternatively, I will explain how to use the Advanced search feature in Outlook. This feature allows me to have two searches, and more, in one session. I can also search emails over a specific period of time, spanning a few weeks rather than every email. Advanced search allows me to do this.

How to search for two or more separate words

  • Begin by selecting the folder you believe the search will be most fruitful in. Strictly speaking you don’t have to but it’s one box you don’t have to tick later.
  • Click in the search bar at the top.

search bar

When you click here the ribbon at the top of your screen changes to show you the Search tools.

Search ribbon

  • Select Search Tools. Search Tools

This list appears.

Search Tool List

  • Select Advanced Find… (you can see from this image that typing Ctrl+Shift+F would do the same thing. Shortcut keys are so cool when you know them).

This dialog box appears,

Advanced Find Dialog Box

Change the settings here accordingly. You are indeed looking for a message and it resides in your inbox, so no need to change these settings.

In the message tab we need to type the words we are looking for in the “Search for the word(s):” line.

  • Type “employer OR tax”. As we require both. If you were to type “employer AND tax”, you would only get a result of messages that have both not either.

Message criteria settings

  • Change the next line setting to “subject field and message body”.

I do not know who in particular I have received these messages from so I do not need to specify. Nor do I need to specify that I am the only person receiving these messages. However if you are certain of these criteria it can make the search faster.

  • Select the Advanced Tab.

Advanced criteria tab

  • Move to the Field button on the left near the bottom.
  • Select from the list “Date/Time fields”. A further list pops out from which you need to select “Received”.

Field settings

  • From the Condition list scroll down to the word “Between”.

Condition settings

  • In the Value box type in the two dates you need to search between, for example 6/1/21 and 15/2/21. If your date is in US format 1/6/21 and 2/15/21. Then press “Add to List”.

Condition settings

  • Select the Find Now button.
  • Should you now find you need another word to search for you can select the Message tab and write the word or words you require. Keep or change the dates in Advanced tab and add that to the list. Then select Find now.
  • Review the list that appears at the bottom of the dialog box.

When you close this dialog box after reviewing the results this search is lost. You will need to do this again if you desire the same search in the future. Wouldn’t it be great if Microsoft added a feature to save these searches, they do, just not within this feature. That might be my next tip!

Happy searching!

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