One of the best secrets about Outlook 2003 is Search Folders. Although the folders display in the navigation pane, the benefits aren't apparent. Part of problem is that the default searches are beneficial, but generic. The real power in Search Folders comes from creating your own searches.
Outlook Search Folders are an enhanced version of Advanced FindWith Search Folders, you don't need to be as reliant on creating folders or email rules. This can be a real plus if you have competing rules such as spam filters. Instead, you can create a Search Folder that dynamically builds an email view based on your criteria. This can be beneficial if there are issues you need to monitor such as status reports, trouble tickets and even competitors.
As example, you're a product manager who subscribes to many industry newsletters. While you don't have to time to read each issue on arrival, you are concerned about 2 items:
- Is your company mentioned
- Is your competitor's new product mentioned
Using a Search Folder, you can immediately see if these newsletters match the above criteria. Once the Search Folder is created, new email will be filtered and matching items will show in your virtual folder. Used in this fashion, your Search Folder becomes a powerful monitor. And since Search Folders contain mail items, you can add them to your Favorites.
One of the misconceptions about Search Folders is you're creating a copy of the email. In reality, the Search Folder is a virtual folder containing pointers to the original email. The benefit of this is you're minimally increasing your storage file. Even though the folder is a virtual folder, you can still act on email items in the search folder and the changes will show in the original. As example, if I flag an item in a Search Folder, that flag will show on the original email. One exception is if you delete a search folder, you're not deleting its contents.
Search Folder Limitations
As much as I like these folders, there are some limitations:
- You're limited to 20 Search Folders
- You can't create or edit Search Folders in OWA (Outlook Web Access)
- They only work with mail items
- They don't work with IMAP accounts
- You can only search against one data store such as .PST, .OST and so on.
How to create a simple custom search folder based on specific words,
1. Click the Mail button on the Navigation Pane
2. In the All Mail Folders section, right-click Search Folders
3. From the submenu, select New Search Folder
4. In the New Search Folder dialog, scroll down and click Mail with specific words
5. Click the Choose button.
6. In the Search Text dialog, type the word or phrase you want to search on.
7. Click the Add button.
8. Repeat Step 6 if you have more terms. (The system will add an "or" operator)
9. Click OK.
10. If you have more than one data store, select the data store you wish to search.
11. Click OK.
12. Right-click on the new Search folder and select Rename from the submenu.
For those of you who felt at home with Advanced find, you'll be happy to know it appears when you select Create a custom Search Folder in the New Search Folder dialog. This is a great option if you need to build a more advanced query.
- 4 Minute Flash Tutorial - Creating Search Folders
- Saving Microsoft Outlook Searches
Last Updated (Friday, 18 June 2010 20:39)