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Something Better Than Folders (in Outlook)

By June 2, 2016September 11th, 2020Best Practices, Blog, Hot Technology Topics
Search Folders Default screenshot

How often do you drag emails from your Inbox to a folder, so that you can file it? Do you realize how much time you are losing in your work day?

Another surprising fact is that studies have shown filing email actually makes it harder to find a specific message, because it requires you to remember more information about where it was filed. So what is the better alternative? Search folders in Outlook!

Search folders show you a filtered list of emails from your Inbox, based on a set of criteria you set up when configuring the folder. It’s like a folder, without requiring filing, and it doesn’t remove the email from your Inbox so you can more easily use Outlook search. Below I’ll show an example of how I set up a search folder for my Inbox.

Creating a Search Folder

At PEI we send out announcements about new projects, and as the project manager it was easiest for me to set up a search folder so I could easily go back and reference the announcement email. In this example I will show you how I created this folder in my own Inbox.

Step 1: Our announcement emails currently come from our purchasing manager, and always contain the words “new project” in the subject line of the email. So I decided to use this information as the criteria for the search folder.

Step 2: In the Outlook folder list everyone has a “Search Folder” section, where you can create your own customer search folders. Right-click “Search Folders” and choose “New Search Folder…”


Step 3: You can optionally use the templates created for you by Outlook, or create your own custom search folder. For this example we’ll create a custom folder:


Step 4: First you need to name your search folder:


Step 5: Next we’ll specify the search criteria (from the purchasing manager, contains “new project” in the subject line):


Step 6: Clicking “OK” gets me a brand new search folder in my folder list, and I can use it to “file” my new project announcements without having to drag emails around.

Hopefully this saves you a little bit of time in your work day, and those minutes add up to more time for family, friends, and activities outside your job.


Allison Sousa, PEI


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