Put Some Zip in E-Mail Searches in Outlook


Q: Is there some way to speed up e-mail searches in Outlook? I get tons of mail, and I just don’t always have the time, or the patience, to sort them. Any ideas for a handy tool?


A: Both Outlook 2003 and 2007 have very effective sorting tools. But when it comes to searching, the 2007 version is vastly superior. And the search tool built into Vista and the new Windows 7 is so good it may even lure you to upgrade. Let’s take a look at each of them.


In Outlook 2003 you can change the sort criteria by simply clicking on the column header you want to sort by, such as From, Received, or Subject. To reverse the order, click the column header again. The search feature in Outlook 2003, though, is slow and of limited use.


In Outlook 2007, sorting works the same way, but the search feature is much more sophisticated, and in Vista it’s even better. For example, if you click on the down arrow next to Search All Mail Items, you’re given more choices (see screenshot below).



If you click on the chevron in the upper-right corner of the screen, you can fine-tune the search even more (see screenshots below).



As you can see, it’s a tool that’s well worth investing time in to explore its functions.



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