Use Instant Search to find contacts

Narrow your contacts search results

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There’s no point keeping all of your contacts if you can’t search for and find a contact when you need it. Watch this video to scope and refine your search.

Narrow your search

Getting too many results when you search on complete or partial information? Consider further refining your search. When you click the Search People box on the People tab, the SEARCH TOOLS tab appears.

There are a lot of options here to help narrow your search, including the following groups of options on the SEARCH TOOLS tab:

  • Scope : Change the folders you want to search in.

  • Refine: Search for people who have phone numbers in their contact information, or other specific types of information.

  • Options: Use previous searches or change advanced search

Search from your inbox

You also can search for contacts from any folder in your mailbox. If you are sending an email and you want to look someone, up in the Find group, in the Search People box, type the name of the person you want to find. You can enter a partial name, a first or last name, an e-mail address, a display name, or a company name.

Want more?

Find people and contacts

Add a contact

Use Instant Search to find messages and text

You may have thousands of contacts stored in various places.

But there is no point in keeping all of them, if you can’t find a contact when you need it.

In the first movie, Use Instant Search to find contacts, we entered search criteria in the Instant Search box.

But if you need more help, you can use the options on the SEARCHtab.

To open the tab, click the search box. Let’s type a search word.

To begin, you can select a scope. By default, Outlook searches the Current Folder.

But you can expand the search to Subfolders and then to All Contact Items.

You can change the scope to All Outlook Items if you want to search email and Calendar items, too.

But let’s go back to All Contact Items.

Why does the name appear more than once? Well, because it was found in multiple places.

How do we know which one contains the information we want? One way to find out is to refine the search over here.

Let’s say you are looking for Spencer’s home address.

Click Has Address, and Has Home Address, to refine the search to contacts that contain home addresses.

And there’s what we are looking for.

You can also check if you have a contact’s phone number, search by categories, or click More for more options.

Let’s click the X to start a new search, and try some of them.

Let’s say we don’t know a person’s name, but we do know which state they work in.

Now if we type 'ca' in the search box, Outlook searches all contact information.

So, we not only get contacts in California, but any contact that contains ca, such as this person’s last name that begins with ca.

But if we click More, we can use these options to restrict the search to a specific field in a contact. So, let’s delete ca.

Then select a field – State, and type 'ca'. Now, the list shows only contacts with a State field that contains ca.

To further refine the search, let’s add more criteria. Let’s say, we also know which department the person works in.

That gets us down to two names. From this point, we can add more criteria, or take a guess.

You also have more options over here. Check out Recent Searches if you want to repeat a search you performed recently.

Search Tools contains options you probably won’t use that often. But there is one option you may find very useful – Advanced Find.

You can set up criteria on the Contacts and More Choices tabs, but the Advanced tab is the most useful area for finding contacts. Let’s try it.

Click Field and All Contact fields. Here you can search any contact field. Let’s click Spouse/Partner.

The boxes down here allow you to enter a Condition and a Value for the field.

For Condition, let’s say we know the contact has a spouse, but don’t remember the name. We can choose Is not empty.

Click Add to List and Find Now.

And the list at the bottom shows all the contacts with Spouse/Partner fields that aren’t empty.

If you get too many results, you can add more criteria.

Click Field and All Contact fields, and let’s say we know the person’s profession.

For Condition, choose contains, and for Value, type marketing. Click Add to List, and Find Now.

Now with two criteria, we get one result – a contact with a spouse or partner, whose profession is listed as marketing.

So, if you need to search your contacts, you can start by typing keywords in Instant Search.

But if that doesn’t get you the results you need, you have the options on the SEARCH tab.

And finally, you have the Advanced tab in Advanced Find.

For more information about search in Outlook, check out the links in the course summary.

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