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Search in Outlook 2011 for Mac

Search message bodies, headers, and subject lines.

This article applies to: Outlook 2011 for Mac


Outlook 2011 for Mac is an older email and calendar application used by Cornell faculty, staff, and graduate and professional students. Microsoft no longer distributes Outlook 2011 and has announced that support will end in 2017. The IT Service Desk will support Outlook 2011 through March 2017.

We recommend that you upgrade to Outlook 2016 for Mac, part of Office 2016 for Mac, which is free for faculty, staff, and students.

Quick Search (one mail folder, but can be modified)

You can search for a particular message by clicking on the folder where the message is stored, then using the search bar, located just above the ribbon. This method searches only the folder you've selected. It does NOT include sub-folders of that folder (but see the bullets below).

  • While typing in the search box, you'll be offered the option of specifying where in the message to search (from, to, subject, etc.). If you do not select any of these specifics, Outlook will search all the basic headers, the subject, and the body of the message.
  • When the search results are displayed, a Search ribbon will appear, allowing you to further refine your results. The first four icons on the Search ribbon let you choose whether to search:
    • just the folder you selected
    • the folder you selected AND its sub-folders
    • all mail folders
    • all items, which includes calendar items and tasks

To return to a full view of all messages, click the X icon next to the search text box or click Close in the Search ribbon.

Advanced Find (multiple folders, more options)

Advanced Find offers more detailed options for locating items.

From the Edit menu, choose Find, then Advanced Find.

A Search row will appear at the top of your messages. Use the drop-down list to select a search criteria, then fill in the field or fields associated with that criteria.

To add additional criteria, click the plus sign at the right edge of the search row. Multiple criteria are treated as "and" statements, that is, a message will be displayed only if it matches ALL the criteria you've specified.

The first four icons on the Search ribbon let you choose whether to search:

  • just the folder you selected
  • the folder you selected AND its sub-folders
  • all mail folders
  • all items, which includes calendar items and tasks

To return to a full view of all messages, click the X icon next to the search text box or click Close in the Search ribbon.

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