When I performed my search query, I got some unexpected results where the words I was searching for weren’t even included in the email.
Upon further investigation, I found out that these words were mentioned in the attachments of those emails.
How can I configure Outlook to only search for the words in the message itself and not look into the attachments?
You can’t directly configure Outlook to not include any attachments when performing a search.
However, there are 2 methods which only requires you to slightly modify your search query to exclude results within attachments.
Method 1: Tell Outlook which fields to search in
If you already know that the result should be within the subject, message body, from field, etc…, then you can directly specify that field when searching.
This is my preferred method when I want Outlook to only look into 1 or 2 fields.
To look in multiple fields, you can use the OR statement;
subject:"keywords" OR body:"keywords"
from:"keywords" OR to:"keywords"
Method 2: Exclude attachments results
If you want to perform a generic search which looks at all fields except within attachments, then you can specify the attachment field with the NOT statement and specify the words to exclude;
keywords NOT attachment:"keywords"
As you can see from the example, this also means that you have to specify your keywords twice, similar to an OR statement.
Note: For more info about which search fields are available and how to use different types of statements see; Instant Search query commands reference.