How to search for keywords in Outlook with ease


Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
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Outlook search for keywords

Some Outlook users will have inboxes that include a plethora of emails. So, it’s just as well Outlook incorporates advanced search tools to help you find specific messages.

Most users will probably utilize Outlook’s Instant Search box to find emails by entering keywords. The software will then scan for emails or attachments that include matching keywords. This is how you can search for keywords in Outlook emails.

How can I search for keywords in Outlook?

1. Basic Outlook keyword searches

The most basic way to search with Outlook’s Instant Search box is to enter keywords on their own.

The keywords entered will not be combined with any command. Outlook will search the subject, body, recipient, and sender fields of all emails and their attachments and display results for them. It will find emails with the same or similar keyword phrases to the one entered.


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2. Search for exact keywords

Thus, you might need to configure a search so that it searches for the exact keyword without any variations. To do that, enter the keyword with quotation marks around it. For example, you would enter “October” in the search box to find emails that include that exact keyword.

quoted search outlook how to search for keywords


3. Search for subject keywords

To search for keywords in emails’ subject lines, enter the keyword with a command. Enter this advanced search in Outlook’s search box: subject:<keyword>. You’ll need to replace ‘<keyword>’ with the actual keyword to search for.

To search for email subject lines that include October, the command would be: subject:October.

subject search outlook how to search for keywords


4. Search for email body keywords

You can search just the bodies (content) of emails with a body command. Enter this command in the Instant Search box: body:<keyword>. Outlook will then search for and display emails that include the specified keyword within their content.

body search outlook how to search for keywords


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5. Search for attachment keywords

Some users will need to search for files attached to emails. You can search for keywords within attachments by entering this command: attachments:<keyword>. Then Outlook will find emails with attachments that match the keyword entered.

attachment search outlook how to search for keywords


How do you search for multiple words in outlook?

You can search for multiple keywords by adding boolean operators to the search. The boolean operators for keyword searches are: AND, OR, and NOT.

The NOT operator is added to exclude certain keywords, which isn’t much use for searching for multiple keywords. However, the AND & OR operators enable you to find multiple keywords with a single search.

By including AND in a search query, you can specify two keywords to search for in emails. You can enter an AND search as follows:<keyword> AND <keyword>.

The important thing to note is that the AND operator must always be capitalized. Outlook will then find emails that include both the keywords specified in the search query.

AND search outlook how to search for keywords

OR is an alternative search operator that will find emails that include one or the other specified keyword. The difference from the AND operator is that the OR search query is not restricted to finding emails that include both the specified keywords. This is how you enter an OR search:<keyword> OR <keyword>.

OR search outlook how to search for keywords

You can combine the AND & OR operators with Outlook’s search commands. For example, you could enter the following search query: subject:<keyword> AND <keyword>. That would find all emails with subject lines that include both the keywords in the search query.

The above search commands and operators will ensure you can find most emails and attachments with Outlook’s Instant Search. There are, however, lots more search commands you can utilize in Outlook to refine your searches with.

For any other questions and suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach for the comments section below.

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