For my job, I regularly need to do the same or very similar search queries in Outlook.
Some queries are a bit more complex so redoing them each time is a bit cumbersome.
Is there a way to save my Search queries so I can reuse them later rather than needing to redo them each time?
Unfortunately, you can’t save your Search queries in Outlook. Outlook itself will hold a cache of your past 10 queries but nothing permanent.
There are however a couple of methods to quickly repeat the same or similar Search queries.
Pro tip! Don’t get stuck on just using a single method or feature, combining them makes them all much more powerful!
Method 1: Recent Searches
The Recent Searches feature comes in handy when you want to repeat a search you just did. Outlook stores up 10 recent searches.
- Simplified Ribbon
Click in the Search field and on the Search tab, click the … menu to see the Recent Searches command.
- Classic Ribbon
Click in the Search field and use the Recent Searches button on the Search tab.
Extra tip 1: Right click on Recent Searches command and choose “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”. You’ll then be able to repeat a search without clicking in the Search field first.
Extra tip 2: When using the Simplified Ribbon, right click on the Recent Searches command and choose “Pin to Ribbon” to always see it on the Search tab.
Method 2: Open or create a custom Search form
If you find yourself frequently using specific fields from the ”Refine” group of the Search tab when searching, then it would be quicker to open the Search form or add the fields to your Search form.
These fields are quicker to fill out then constructing the query otherwise and you can use the TAB button to move between them.
Microsoft 365 and Outlook 2021
Click in the Search field and then click the little down arrow on the right to open an Advanced Search form.
If there are any specific fields which you like to add, click on the “Add more options” link at the bottom of the form.
Outlook 2016 and Outlook 2019
Click in the Search field and on the Search tab, use the More button in the “Refine” group to add specific fields to search on.
When you close your Search, these fields will be hidden again but will show up automatically when you click in the Search field for your next query.
Method 3: Create a Search Folder
To really save a Search Query for reuse, ironically enough, you shouldn’t use the Search field. Instead, create a Search Folder.
- Folder Pane
Right click on Search Folders in the folder list of your mailbox-> New Search Folder
- Classic Ribbon
Folder-> New Search Folder
- Keyboard shortcut
At the bottom of the New Search Folder dialog, you can select to create a custom Search Folder with criteria of your own to create your Search query. A basic example can be found here and a bit more advanced here.
On the Advanced tab, you can select pretty much any field in Outlook to choose from. If you want to do even more complex AND and OR searches, you can enable the Query Builder tab.
Extra tip: After creating your Search Folder, you can still use the Search field to refine the results of the Search Folder. This basically allows you to do a static pre-search for the complex part of your query and still have some flexibility.
Method 4: Create Custom Views
Custom Views are often a bit underappreciated feature of Outlook but they are a great help for saving Search queries as well.
Custom Views basically offer you the same filtering opportunities as Search Folders and has the benefit of even saving a sorting order and which columns to display. In addition, they can also be used on Calendar, Contacts and Tasks folders.
To create a Custom View:
- View-> Change View-> Manage Views…-> New…
To switch between Custom Views:
- View-> Change View
Extra tip: Custom Views are also available in Search Folders. If you frequently use multiple refinements for your Search queries, you can switch between views to quickly apply or cycle between these refinements. If needed, you can finalize your Search query still via the Search field.