In Microsoft Outlook, rules, known as search folders allow users to see mail that meets specific criteria at a glance. Search folders are similar to libraries in Microsoft Windows 7, and a message can appear in multiple search folders after the user creates the rule. Outlook offers many suggestions for search folders while users can create their own combinations of rules.
One of the useful features of Microsoft Outlook 2010 is the ability to search “Search Folders.” A search folder uses a specific search criteria such as a string of words or the status of a message to display all relevant messages in a virtual folder.
The messages aren’t moved to another location, but all messages in all folders that the filter applies to appear in this “folder.” A search folder automatically updates if a message changes and no longer meets the criteria.
Search folders are one way to efficiently navigate your mail account without having to manually search every time you log in.
Microsoft Outlook’s Default Search Folder
By default, Microsoft Outlook comes with some custom search folders that you can use. You’ll see three folders in the navigation: categorized mail, large mail and unread mail. If you flag a message, it will show up in a new folder: For Follow Up.
You can create additional search folders using suggested rules provided by Outlook. The rules are broken into three sections, including “Reading Mail,” “People and Lists” and “Organizing Mail.”
These rules include senders, recipients, mailing lists, mail marked as a task, mail with large attachments, old mail and important mail.
To set any of these rules:
- Click “Folder.”
- Click “New search folder.” You can also press “Ctrl + Shift + P” to access this menu.
- Select a search rule from the list of search folder options. Type in a name for your folder if prompted.
- Select a mailbox or folder for Outlook to search for relevant messages using the drop-down menu titled “Customize search folder.”
- Click “Ok.”
Custom Search Folders
Creating a custom search folder allows you to select one or more criteria to separate messages on your account. Follow these steps to create your custom search folder:
- In the Navigation Pane, click “Folder”.
- Choose “New Search Folder.”
- From the “Select a Search Folder” list. Select “Create a Custom Search Folder.”
- Click “Choose.”
- Type a name into the field for your custom folder. If you’re going to use the filter for all mail from eBay, for example, you might type “eBay.”
- Click “Criteria.” This is where you will be able to specify which messages appear in your search folder. There are multiple tabs.
- “Messages” allows you to choose keywords, sender or recipient.
- “More Choices” enables you to select all messages with a specific flag or important settings or messages with attachments. You can also choose messages with a specific file size.
- “Advanced” search filter mode includes options such as RSS feed, date and time, documents, appointments, tasks, notes and user-defined fields. Click “Field” to hover over a field and select a sub-option. Click “Add to list.” Click the OK button.
- Click “Browse” to select all the folders that Outlook should search for messages that meet the criteria of your new search folder rules.
- Click “Ok” to save the new search folder rule.
There is no limit to how many search folders you can use.