Instantly Find Any Email In Outlook … No Matter How Cluttered Your Inbox

Around 600 million people use Outlook email each day.

If you’re like me, you have years of emails in your Outlook account, and it is so cluttered that it takes forever to find emails the old-fashioned way.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to quickly find emails. You just need to know the right search parameters …

When Was the Email Sent?

The magic formula for specifying a specific date range when the email was sent is:

received:>=10/1/12 AND received:<=10/5/13

This finds all emails received between October 1, 2012 and October 5, 2013

Or can pull up an exact date like this:


Whose Email?

To search for emails only from or to a specific person, use the following:

from:John White

Or, if you don’t have that contact already saved in Outlook, then you would type in the full email, like this:

If you’re searching in your inbox.

If you’re instead searching your sent folder, you need to use “to” instead of “from”:

to:John White

Who Is CC’s Or BCC’d?

You can also specify who was copied (cc) or blind copied (bcc) in the email.

CC’d is like this:

cc:”bobby moore”


Bcc’s is like this:

bcc:”bobby moore”


Words In Subject Line Or In the Body of the Email

To search for words in the subject line of the email, use this format:


To search for words in the body of the email, just type the words without any special search parameter, like this:


How Large is the Email?

You can specify email size, which is really helpful when you know the email is small (only a couple of paragraphs) or contains large attachments.

You can use the following pre-baked search parameters:

messagesize:tiny [Emails less than 10 kilobytes]
messagesize:small [Emails between 10 and 25 kilobytes]
messagesize:medium [Emails between 25 and 100 kilobytes]
messagesize:large [Emails between 100 and 500 kilobytes]
messagesize:verylarge [Emails between 500 kilobytes and 1 megabyte]
messagesize:enormous [Emails larger than 5 megabytes]

Alternatively, you can specify an email less than a specific custom size:

messagesize:<222 KB

Or greater than a specific custom size:

messagesize:>8 MB

Does It Have Attachments?

You can also directly specify whether or not the email has attachments.


Only brings up emails with attachments, while:


Brings up only emails with no attachments.

You can also narrow the search to emails with attachments containing a specific name.  For example:


Would show only emails that have attachments named presentation.pptx (or an attachment that contains presentation.pptx within its contents.)  This is a great trick for honing in on an email when you know the name of the attachment.

AND, OR, NOT and Quotation Marks

You can use the boolean search terms AND OR and NOT in your search query.

And you can search for exact matches using quotation marks.

For background on these search terms, see Google Tricks: How to Supercharge Your Searches and Become an Instant Power User.

Putting It All Together

I find that the easiest way to use these supercharged search tricks is to have a string of all possible search parameters in one search, modify as needed, and delete the specific search parameters you don’t need for a particular search.

For example – now that you understand the basic search concepts – you could keep the following search string handy, to remind you of all optional search parameters, and copy and paste as needed:

Hello AND Friend OR Mary NOT “Ringo Starr” from:John White cc:”bobby moore” subject:meeting received:>=10/1/12 AND received:<=10/5/13 messagesize:>8 MB hasattachment:yes attachments:presentation.pptx

Note: I found these search tricks on this Microsoft web page, which has additional search tricks for Outlook calendar and contacts.

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