Christmas may be a busy time in the shops and on the roads, but for businesses it can provide some much-needed respite to do those housekeeping admin tasks that are invariably put off when deadlines for all the other tasks come in.
If you’re using the festive period to get on top of your workload, then give some thought to Outlook search which (with these few tips) could really help with your organisation over the coming weeks.
Of course, most people are aware that it’s possible to search within MS Outlook to find an old e-mail or reply – but there’s much more to search than regular queries. In fact, it’s a very powerful way of getting to the information you need (not just messages but contacts, calendar entries and tasks) in an instant.
The quickest and easiest way to use more advanced search tools is to utilise the drop-down within the search bar (not the one that allows you to switch between Current Folder and Current Mailbox, for example, but the one in the text field). With this opened you have a whole host of options to select from, including the mailbox in which to search, the sender, subject, date range, whether or not it had an attachment, and more.
If you’re already familiar with using operators to refine your search then all the usual suspects (among them AND, NOT, OR, <, >, and =) can be used in Outlook.
In terms of real-world application, there’s every chance that deleting old emails and making space in Outlook is top of your priority list. For this you can identify those messages that needn’t be kept and get them all in one place (rather than going through manually to find them all). So if you know that emails you sent to Bobby between June and September can go, simply search ‘Bobby’ (or better still, use Bobby’s email address to further refine your search and ensure others don’t get caught up in a broader-match query), select the date range and search within your Sent items.
The list you’re then returned should have all the emails you know you can simply highlight and delete in one go – though maybe give it a cursory check beforehand to make sure the search results are as expected.
Knowing some of these search tools will not only make it quicker and easier to go through your admin tasks during these quieter periods, but could provide some simple hints and tricks that you rely on into 2024 and beyond.