Microsoft Outlook Email Search Syntax

By Liying Cui, Data Scientist, Southern New Hampshire University

When was the last time you wanted to find an email from Bob with an attachment, and you ended up sorting emails by sender and scrolling through a long list?

If this sounds familiar, check out Outlook's instant search for time saving features. 

Using proper search syntax, you can locate specific emails based on various query conditions.

In general, the syntax is search field:keyword. The conditions can be separated by comma, and keywords can be combined with logical operators AND, NOT, OR, <, >, =. Logical operators must be typed in uppercase letters.

Search Box Input



Message containing Bob, Bobby, or other combinations. Results are not case sensitive.

Bob planning

Message containing both Bob and planning (not ordered)

Bob AND planning

Same as above

"strategic planning"

Message with the exact phrase strategic planning anywhere in the text

from: Bob, about “strategic planning”

Message sent from Bob and strategic planning appears anywhere in the text

from: Bob, subject “strategic planning”

Message sent from Bob and strategic planning appears in the subject line

from: Bob, attachment:”strategic

Items sent from Bob and strategic planning appears in the attachment file name

messagesize: > 1 MB

Message size > 1MB

More examples are available from




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Total Comments: 2
Kelli posted on 2/28/2018 1:09 AM
Microsoft Outlook users an easy way to find your Emails is by using Outlook Search Terms. It is a simple, fast, and easy to use. you can search your term easily by adding boolean operators in your terms. you can go to the site for query and problem related to Microsoft Support services.
Lisa posted on 3/22/2018 12:37 PM
This is helpful. I've typically used the top 1-2 options. I'd actually been wondering how to conduct more advanced searches in the search box, so this is timely.