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Search Folders in Outlook 2013 for Windows

Search Folders allow you to set up "virtual" folders that display all the messages that meet the criteria you specify.

This article applies to: Outlook 2013 for Windows


Overview

Search Folders allow you to set up "virtual" folders that display all the messages that meet the criteria you specify. The messages themselves aren't actually moved to these virtual folders. Each message will be listed in every Search Folder whose criteria it meets. 

Deleting a Search Folder does NOT delete the messages displayed there.

Deleting a message in a Search Folder does delete that message.

It can be confusing if you move a message (drag & drop, or right-click and select Move) while viewing the contents of a Search Folder, as you will still see the message in the Search Folder. Remember that the Search Folder is a virtual folder, not an actual location. In reality, the actual message HAS been moved from its original location to the new location; since the message still meets your search criteria, you still see it in the Search Folder.

By default, you will see three search folders in the Mail section of the Folder Pane:

  • Categorized Mail
  • Large Mail
  • Unread Mail

Create a Search Folder from a Template

  1. Click the Folder ribbon.
  2. Click New Search Folder. A New Search Folder dialog box opens.
  3. Select one of the Search Folder templates.
  4. Some templates have no options to set. Others do have options, which will appear under Customize Search Folder once you've selected the template you want to use. These options allow you to specify things like what qualifies as "old" mail or "large" messages, or who the message is from.
  5. Click OK.

To edit any existing Search Folder, including the default folders, right-click the folder in the Folder Pane, then select Customize this Search Folder.

Create a Custom Search Folder

  1. Click the Folder ribbon.
  2. Click New Search Folder. A New Search Folder dialog box opens.
  3. Under Select a Search Folder, select the last item, Create a custom Search Folder.
  4. Click Choose. A Custom Search Folder dialog box opens.
  5. Give your Search Folder a Name.
  6. Click Criteria. A Search Folder Criteria dialog box opens.
  7. Select and fill in as many criteria as you need from the Messages and/or More Choices tabs. Only messages that match ALL the criteria you select will be included in the results. The third tab, Advanced, is beyond the scope of this documentation.
  8. Click OK when finished to close the Search Folder Criteria dialog box.
  9. Back on the Custom Search Folder dialog box, by default, your entire mail account will be listed under Mail from these folders. To change this, click Browse, then select the folders you want included. Note also the Search subfolders checkbox. Click OK when finished selecting folders.
  10. Click OK to close the Custom Search Folder dialog box.
  11. Click OK to close the New Search Folder dialog box.

 To edit any existing Search Folder, right-click the folder in the Folder Pane, then select Customize this Search Folder.

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