Create a Search Folder

A Search Folder is a virtual folder that provides a view of all e-mail items that match specific search criteria. For example, the Unread Mail Search Folder allows you to view all unread messages from one location even though the messages may be located in different Mail folders.

 Note   To find any message or Outlook item quickly, use Instant Search.

In this article


Default Search Folders

There are three default Search Folders in the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes buttons for the Mail, Calendar, and Tasks views and the folders within each view. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.):

  • Categorized Mail includes items that have been assigned a color category.
  • Large Mail includes items that are larger than 100 kilobytes (KB).
  • Unread Mail includes items that are marked as unread.

Search Folders

 Note   Search Folders can be created in other locations for data files such as a Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that stores your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for e-mail messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.) or Archived Folders file (Archive.pst). Search Folders cannot contain search results from across multiple data files.

In addition to the default Search Folders, Outlook includes a list of predefined Search Folders. You can customize a predefined Search Folder with your own search criteria.

New Search Folder dialog box

You can also create your own custom Search Folder by defining specific search criteria that e-mail messages must meet to be displayed in the Search Folder.

 Note   Search Folders in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 support prefix matching in the text strings that you specify. For example, if you want to include all messages with the word "rain" in the Search Folder, the Search Folder will also include messages with words like "raining" or "rainy" but won't include words like "brain."

 Important   When you delete a Search Folder, the e-mail messages shown in the Search Folder are not deleted from their original locations, because those items are only viewed in a Search Folder. However, if you open or select one or more e-mail messages shown in a Search Folder and then delete them, the messages will be deleted from the Outlook folders where they were stored.

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Add a predefined Search Folder

  1. In Mail, on the File menu, point to New, and then click Search Folder.

 Tip   To open the New Search Folder dialog box, press CTRL+SHIFT+P.

  1. Click a predefined Search Folder.
  2. If prompted, under Customize Search Folder, specify the search criteria to use.
  3. To select a different mailbox to search, under Customize Search Folder, click the arrow, and then select the mailbox from the list.

 Tip   To change the criteria for a Search Folder, right-click the folder, click Customize this Search Folder, click Criteria, and then change the criteria. The criteria of Search Folders in the Reading Mail group cannot be changed.

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Create a custom Search Folder

  1. In Mail, on the File menu, point to New, and then click Search Folder.

 Tip   To open the New Search Folder dialog box, press CTRL+SHIFT+P.

  1. Click Create a custom Search Folder.
  2. Under Customize Search Folder, click Choose.
  3. Type a name for your custom Search Folder.
  4. Click Criteria, select the options that you want, and then click OK.
  5. Click Browse, select the folders that you want to be searched, and then click OK three times.

Custom Search Folder

Callout 1 Click to create a custom Search Folder.
Callout 2 Click to open the Custom Search Folder dialog box.
Callout 3 Click to name your Search Folder.
Callout 4 Click to specify the search criteria.

 Tip   To change the criteria for a Search Folder, right-click the folder, click Customize this Search Folder, click Criteria, and then change the criteria. The criteria of Search Folders in the Reading Mail group cannot be changed.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007