Using search operators

If a simple search isn’t enough, try again with search operators

Outlook and provide simple searches to find specific emails, but if your searches are complex, you can perform searches using search operators. Search by sender, subject, folder, date and date range. Or search for messages with attachments. Then combine operators and terms with AND and OR and parentheses for priority and grouping.

The instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Outlook for Office 365 and Outlook Online.

Using Outlook search operators

To accurately search emails in Outlook using search operators, enter your keywords in the field Search † Field Search in Outlook Online is at the top of the page in the header. Field Search in Outlook desktop applications, it is above the message list.

Use the following search operators to build your search:

  • topic: † Searches the subject of all emails for the specified word. Example: subject: test finds emails with the word test by subject.

  • by: – searches in a string By emails from the specified sender or domain. Example: searches in a string By of any email and find messages like [email protected] and from [email protected] and other emails that:

  • nasty: – searches in a string To who emails addressed to the specified recipient. Example: to: [email protected] scans the line To who any email and find emails addressed to [email protected]

  • To copy † Performs a search on a string To copy specified email recipients. Example: cc: [email protected] looking for a string CC in any email and find emails addressed to [email protected]

  • before: – Search for e-mail messages sent or received before a specified date. Example: until: 01/01/2019 finds emails sent or received before January 1, 2019.

  • after † Search for email sent or received after a specified date. Example: after: 31.12.2017 finds emails sent or received after December 31, 2017.

    unite before: and after: to find emails sent or received within a specified time period. Example: after: 31/12/2017 to 01/01/2009 finds emails sent or received in 2018.

  • date † Search for email sent or received on a specific date. Use and to search for dates less than (before) and greater than (after) the specified date.

    For before: after: and date: enter date in mm/dd/yyyy

  • folder † Searches for email in the specified folder. Example: folder: archive finds emails in a folder archive

  • Has attachment: † Searches for email messages with at least one attachment. Examples: has attachment: true and Has attachment return all messages with attachments.

  • hasattachment: false † Only messages that do not have file attachments are searched.

  • AND (upper case) – combines terms in the search, so both must be present. This is the default setting if there is no combination operator. Example: cat and dog displays results containing both words cat and dog

  • OR (In Capital Letters). Combines search terms so that one or both terms appear in the search results. Example: cat OR dog displays results cat or dog

  • – indicates the priority of searches. Use parentheses to indicate a date, date range, address, or other information. Example: from: john (Received: 01/01/19 or received 02/02/19) looking in line By John’s messages received on January 1, 2019 or February 2, 2019.

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