Search Mail and People in Outlook.com

In Outlook.com, you can use the search bar at the top of the page to search for email messages or contacts.

Choose your instructions

The instructions are slightly different depending on whether you're using the Outlook.com beta. Choose which version you're using to see the instructions that apply to you.

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

A screenshot of the top left corner of the Outlook.com beta mailbox

See Instructions for the Outlook.com beta.

A screenshot of the top left corner of the classic Outlook.com mailbox

See Instructions for classic Outlook.com.

Instructions for the Outlook.com beta

  1. In the Search box, type what you want to search for (a contact, subject, or part of a message) and press Enter.

    A screenshot of the search bar

  2. When you're done with the search, select the back arrow in the Search box or click any folder in the navigation pane on the left to exit the search.

    A screenshot of the Exit Search button

  1. Start typing a name in the Search box. Choose from the suggested people in the list below the Search box, or press Enter to see more results.

    A screenshot of suggested people in the search results
  2. When you select a contact in the search results, you'll see a list of email messages related to that contact.

    Search for a person to see all email messages

    To send a message to your contact, select Send email below the contact's name. To add the contact to Favorites, select Add to Favorites next to the contact's name.

If you often search for email from the same people, you can add those people to Favorites. To add the contact to Favorites, search for that contact, select their name in the search results, and then select Add to Favorites next to the contact's name.

A screenshot of the Add to Favorites button

To see all email messages from that person, select their name under Favorites in the left pane.

When searching your inbox, Outlook.com searches in All folders by default. Use the filter to the right of the search box to search in specific folders such as Deleted Items or Sent Items.

A screenshot of the filter button in the search bar

Instructions for classic Outlook.com

  1. In the Search Mail and People box, type what you want to search for (a contact, subject, or part of a message) and press Enter.

    A screenshot of the Search Mail and People box

    Tip: If you're searching for a contact, choose the Search People link at the bottom of the list of suggestions to limit the search to your contacts and your organization’s directory. To learn more, see Search in People below.

  2. To clear your search results, select Exit search.

When you enter a name in the Search Mail and People box in Mail, a Search People option appears. Selecting this option lets you search in People, where your search results will be limited to your contacts and your organization's directory.

To search in People:

  1. In the Search Mail and People box, type the name of the person, group, or resource you want to search for, and press Enter.

  2. At the bottom of the search results, select Search People.

  3. Refine your search by searching only in Your contacts or Directory.

  4. To clear your search results, select Exit search.

After you enter your search keyword, you can use the navigation pane on the left to refine your search results:

  • In folders: Only search for messages in a specific folder, such as Inbox, Sent Items, and Archive.

  • From: Only search for messages from a specific sender.

  • Options: Click With attachments to only search for messages with attachments.

  • Date: Only search for messages within a certain date range.

Use Advanced Query Search to refine results

Use Advanced Query Search (AQS) to refine your search results. In the search box, type an AQS keyword from the table below, followed by a colon and what you want to search for. For example, to find messages with a subject that contains “report,” enter subject:report in the Search Mail and People box in classic Outlook.com or in the Search box in the Outlook.com beta.

AQS keyword

Description

Example

From

Searches the From field.

From:JerriFrye

To

Searches the To field.

To:JerriFrye

Cc

Searches the Cc field.

Cc:JerriFrye

Bcc

Searches the Bcc field.

Bcc:JerriFrye

Participants

Searches the To, Cc, and Bcc fields.

Participants:JerriFrye

Subject

Searches the subject.

Subject:report

Body or Content

Searches the message body.

Body:report

Sent

Searches the date sent. You can search for a specific date or a range of dates separated by two dots (..). You can also search for relative dates: today, tomorrow, yesterday, this week, next month, last week, past month. You can search for the day of the week or month of the year.

Important: Date searches must be entered in month/day/year format: MM/DD/YYYY.

Sent:01/01/2017

Received

Searches for the date received. You can use the same search terms as for Sent.

Received:01/01/2017

Category

Searches the Category field.

Category:reports

HasAttachment:yes

A search for HasAttachment:yes returns only emails with attachments.

To further specify the emails you want to search, use words or names from the mail in conjunction with the search keyword. For example, blue hasattachment:yes returns only emails containing the word "blue" that include attachments.

report HasAttachment:yes

HasAttachment:no

A search for HasAttachment:no returns only emails without attachments.

report HasAttachment:no

IsFlagged:yes

A search for IsFlagged:yes returns only emails that are flagged.

report IsFlagged:yes

IsFlagged:no

A search for IsFlagged:no returns only emails that are not flagged.

report IsFlagged:no

When you use AQS, you can search on multiple search terms, including any, all, or an exact phrase.

  • Subject:product plan will find any message with “product” or “plan” in the subject.

  • Subject:(product plan) will find any message with both “product” and “plan” in the subject.

  • Subject:“product plan” will find any message with the phrase “product plan” in the subject.

You can also use AND or OR to search on multiple search terms. For example, you could search for messages from Jerri that include "report" in the subject by entering From:Jerri AND Subject:report in the search box.

Search tips and tricks

Use these tips and tricks to define more precise searches.

  • Keyword searches are not case sensitive. For example, cat and CAT return the same results.

  • When searching on a property:value expression, don't put a space after the colon. If there is a space, your intended value will just be full-text searched. For example, to: JerriFrye searches for "JerriFrye" as a keyword, rather than for messages that were sent to JerriFrye. To search for messages sent to JerriFrye, enter to:JerriFrye.

  • A space between two keywords or two property:value expressions is the same as using AND. For example, from:"Jerri Frye"subject:reorganization returns all messages sent by Jerri Frye that contain the word reorganization in the subject line.

  • When searching a recipient property, such as To, From, Cc, or Recipients, you can use an SMTP address, alias, or display name to denote a recipient. For example, you can use JerriFrye@contoso.com, JerriFrye, or "JerriFrye".

  • You can use only suffix wildcard searches—for example, cat* or set*. Prefix wildcard searches (*cat) or substring wildcard searches (*cat*) aren’t supported.

  • When searching a property, use double quotation marks (" ") if the search value consists of multiple words. For example, subject:budget Q1 returns messages that contain budget in the in the subject line and Q1 anywhere in the message or in any of the message properties. Using subject:"budget Q1" returns all messages that contain budget Q1 anywhere in the subject line.

  • To exclude content marked with a certain property value from your search results, place a minus sign (-) before the name of the property. For example, -from:"Jerri Frye" will exclude any messages sent by Jerri Frye.

Still need help?

Community Forum button Contact Support button

Have a feature request?

Lightbulb - Idea

We love reading your suggestions on new features and feedback about how you use our products! Share your thoughts on the Outlook.com UserVoice site. We’re listening.

Expand your Office skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×