Tired of repeating the same search in Advanced Find?

If you find yourself using Advanced Find in Outlook 2003 to look for the same thing repeatedly, choose File | Save Search As Search Folder to persist that search. It will create a new search folder under the “Search Folders“ node in the tree view.

Search folders rock. 

Comments (13)

  1. Simon says:

    Unfortunately search folders only work for the local information store, I can’t use them with IMAP, so I’ve gotta use advanced find.

  2. adam says:

    Lookout also rocks and works on anything you can see in outlook or windows for that matter

  3. Colin Walker says:

    I had to present an Outlook 2003 overview course to our helpdesk this week and greatly extolled the virtues of the Search Folder.

    With the different colour flags being an okay feature (but not in my view as usable as they could be – how about teh ability to rename them rather than stick to "purple flag") they really come in to their own when used in conjunction with Search Folders.

    I had completely overlook the Save as Search Folder option in the training so thanks for reminding me – an email has been sent to thos concerned 🙂

  4. KC Lemson says:

    Colin – look in my outlook category for a post a few months ago about a way to name the custom flags. It’s not exactly what you’re asking for, but it’s worked for a lot of people.

  5. Steve says:

    If I might be so bold I would like to ask a big question; who determines which features will live in Exchange and which will live in Outlook? While I love (and live by) the Search Folders, I can’t help but wonder why they aren’t an Exchange feature.

    Over the past couple of years Microsoft has given users the ability to access their data from multiple sources (PocketPCs, Smartphones, OWA, etc). Perhaps I’m slightly different from the average bear, but I get a lot of e-mail. I get so much email that I must use filters. I then use search folders to show me the appropriate information. This is wonderful when I’m at my desktop. Filtering is wonderful, but it’s a double edged sword. The other edge is quite sharp when dealing with other methods of access. (when using OWA I need to dink every goshdarn menu just to see if there is mail in a folder below)

    By shifting the concept of the pre-saved search folders to Exchange, I could say, “When I’m on my Phone I care about X. When I’m using OWA I care about Y. etc.” I could then save search folders for different scenarios.

    Just curious…

  6. KC Lemson says:





    As for OWA, the trick is that in a web application, you aren’t guaranteed to have an open connection between the server or the server otherwise having a way of pushing information to you, such as notification of a change in unread count. So for new mail notification, OWA polls periodically (2 minutes by default IIRC) and then tells you there is new mail… but it doesn’t refresh the view automatically, there are various issues & possible unexpected behaviors there.

    Search folders actually is an Exchange feature (I touch on this in the link in this post). When you do an advanced find in any version of outlook, you’re actually creating a search folder (try this: do a search in advanced find. keep the window up. then post an item into your inbox that matches the search, and you’ll see it pop up in the advanced find window right away). Outlook 2003 added a friendly UI to create them as well as a lot of performance improvements (such as running the search folders only on the client side to spare the server the cycles, whereas cpu on a client is more expendable).

  7. Steve says:

    I think that I was slightly unclear. My problem with OWA isn’t that it doesn’t refresh. I completely understand that. It’s that if I have a hierarchy 3 levels deep, I need to dink down to the see if I have an unread message at the bottom level. That is to say that there is no indication that *somewhere* in folder X there is an unread message. There is only an indication [bold with count] that shows whether or not there is a unread message directly in *that* folder.

    This is not a huge problem with Outlook because I can use the “Search Folders.” When I get to OWA, on the other hand, I’m SOL. One possible fix for this would be to italicize a folder that contains an unread message but not directly in that folder. The user would then know to dink that folder. This would be similar to the application installation process where grey (?) indicates that you are installing something in that tree but not everything. (Well… not exactly but you get the point)

    I think that I’ll take the rest of this offline. (It’s a bit involved) 😉

  8. KC Lemson says:

    Actually, you can use search folders in OWA – just move your profile in outlook to online mode (uncheck the cached mode checkbox in the account properties), and then the folders will be replicated to the server. THen they should show up in the tree view in OWA.

    But I do know what you mean about showing unread in subfolders. Outlook doesn’t do that without search folders either.

  9. Steve says:


    You just solved a big problem for me.

    I’m unwilling to give up my cache mode, but I *did* create another profile who’s sole purpose was to enable search folders. By golly it worked!

  10. Steve says:

    So why do the search folders only get kicked on in online mode? As a cache mode person, I had come to believe that they were an Outlook thing.

  11. KC Lemson says:

    They only get replicated to the server (in an ‘off’ state at first) in online mode for performance reasons… you don’t want the server to be doing the work of evaluating if the messages meet the criteria if the client can do it instead.

    Also, you can go into online mode and back to cached mode on the same profile, no need to create a separate one. Just for future reference.

  12. Neil says:

    I should have defined "works"

    The unread messages search folder stays up to day.

    The custom search folder stays setup from the last day I was in on-line mode.


  13. Neil says:

    OWA Search folders seem to have update problems.

    1. Outlook in online mode

    Create a "unread mail" search folder (the default)

    Create a custom search folder: a search folder that searches a select list of folders, by "last 7 days".

    2. Return outlook to cached mode

    3. Open Outlook

    4. Open OWA

    The unread mail search folder works – but the one using "last 7 days" does not.

    Any ideas?

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