Filter items and files in views

A view filter is an easy way to see only those items or files stored in Microsoft Outlook folders that meet the conditions you specify.

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Learn about filtering items and files in a view

Filtering is different than sorting. When you sort items, you rearrange the current items in a view. For example, when you view the Inbox in single-line view, if you click the name Joanna Fuller and then click the From column header, all the messages in the Inbox will appear in alphabetical order with all the messages from Joanna Fuller at the top of your view. However, all the other messages are still viewable in the Inbox; they are now listed before and after Joanna Fuller in alphabetical order. If you scroll, you will see them all.

When you filter items, you selectively choose what items will appear in a view. The Filter dialog box offers you a variety of ways to select and organize your criteria. To open the Filter dialog box, point to Current View on the View menu, click Customize Current View, and then click Filter.

Filter dialog box

For example, you can filter the Inbox to only show only items with "Joanna Fuller" in the From box. All of the other items in the Inbox are hidden from view and can be seen by removing the view filter.

Before and after a filter is applied

When a view filter is applied to a selected folder, the status bar (status bar: A horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen that displays information about the current condition of the program, such as the status of items in the window, the progress of the current task, or information about the selected item.) displays the words Filter Applied in the lower-left corner of the screen. Multiple Filters Applied is displayed when both a view filter and a synchronization filter have been applied. A synchronization filter allows you to choose which items are downloaded or kept in your Offline Folder file (.ost) (Offline Folder file: The file on your hard disk that contains offline folders. The offline folder file has an .ost extension. You can create it automatically when you set up Outlook or when you first make a folder available offline.). Find out more about sychronization filters.

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Show or hide items or files with a view filter

  1. Click on the folder for which you want to apply a filter.
  2. On the View menu, point to Current View, and then click Customize Current View.
  3. Click Filter.
  4. Do one or more of the following:
    • Filter using common filtering criteria    
      • On the Messages tab, select the filter options you want.
    • Filter using additional criteria, such as a category or importance level    
      • Click the More Choices tab, and then select the filter options you want.

If you select more than one filter option field in the Filter dialog box, only the items that meet all of the criteria will appear. However, if you use one filter field, and enter multiple criteria, items that meet at least one criterion within that field will be found.

For example, if you type Joanna Fuller, Florian Voss, and Jon Morris in the From filter field, you will find messages that are from one, two, or all three of those people.

  • Filter using custom criteria    
  1. Click the Advanced tab.
  2. Click Field.
  3. Point to the field set you want, and then click the field you want to use in the search criteria.
  4. In the Condition list, click the condition (condition: Part of the criteria that a field must meet for searching or filtering. Some conditions must be used with a value; for example, the field Author with the condition equals with the value Jane.) you want to use with the selected field. The conditions that are available depend on the field that is selected.
  5. If the condition requires a value (value: The text, date, number, or logical input that completes a condition that a field must meet for searching or filtering. For example, the field Author with the condition equals must include a value, such as John, to be complete.), enter the value you want the field and condition to meet in the Value box.

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Remove a view filter

  1. On the View menu, point to Current View, and then click Customize Current View.
  2. Click Filter.
  3. Click Clear All.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007