MailStore archive search: Tips for finding messages even faster

Finding the email you’re after in MailStore using the Outlook search plug-in is beautifully straight forward. In the vast majority of cases simply entering the word you think is likely to appear in the to/from address, subject, message body or even in attachments is enough, however every so often it can be useful to have the ability to whittle down your search results further or be more specific.

In this post I’ll talk you briefly through some ways you can make more of the Outlook search facility with the clever use of wild cards, quotations, special fields and extensions.

Searching for specific phrases within email

In the case where you’re searching for a short phrase somewhere in the message or attachment, you’ll notice that simply entering those words in the search bar will bring you back results where any one of them appears in isolation, in addition to the phrase as a whole.

To search for the phrase only, the simple application of quotation marks will narrow your results down to instances where those words appear only as a phrase.

The string below will return the messages containing the text ‘Sales report Q3’ but not any messages that contain just the words ‘sales’ ‘report’ or ‘Q3’.

"Sales report Q3"

Narrow the search to look in specific message headers

Another useful tip is for when you know where a keyword(s) lives in the message. If that’s the case, simply specify the field you want by beginning the search with the field name for example ‘subject:’.

All common email message headers can be search in this way as show below:

subject:News               only in Subject
from:john@bloggs.com       only in From
to:fred@bloggs.com         only in To
cc:jane@bloggs.com         only in CC
bcc:staff@bloggs.com       only in Bcc

Excluding specific words

Occasionally you might perform a search and find you get more results back than you ideally wanted, so it can be helpful to narrow a search by excluding some words.

To exclude words from the search results, simply prepend the word with the minus character (-) as shown below:

joe@bloggs.com -offers

The above will return all emails from joe@bloggs.com which do not contain the word ‘offers’.

Combining search options for more powerful searches

Another nice tip for for even more control is the combining of two or more of the search options described above. For example:

from:sales@zensoftware.co.uk subject:"March renewal" -draft

The above returns all emails from sales@zensoftware.co.uk  which contain the phrase ‘March renewal’ specifically in the subject header but not any that contain the word ‘draft’.

So next time your using MailStore to find a message and you get more results than you expected why not try using one of these methods to make the search more specific.

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