Software

Quickly find Outlook folders with a keyboard shortcut

If you're working with a long list of Outlook folders, try this quick keyboard trick for finding just the folder you need.

To move a message from one Outlook folder to another, you have to scroll through the list of folders (in the Navigation Pane). That's not a problem in a short list. However, a long list is another matter - scrolling to find a specific folder can be a bit of a nuisance, especially if you move a lot of messages around. Fortunately, there's an easy way to find and access a folder:

  1. First, select the active folder in the Navigation Pane by pressing [Shift]+[Tab] or simply clicking the folder.
  2. Once the active folder is selected, enter the first character in the target folder's name. There's no control to enter the character into - just start typing. For instance, if you want to select the Inbox, type i.
  3. With the new folder selected, press [Spacebar] or [Enter] to open the folder.

Unfortunately, this technique is a bit limited. First, it finds only expanded folders. Second, it finds the first folder in the list that starts with the input character. For instance, if you're looking for Projects, this method might select the Pending folder when you enter p. If you type pr, Outlook will select the Pending folder and then the next folder in the list that begins with r. If there isn't one, nothing happens; Outlook won't look for a folder that begins with the letters pr, as you might expect. To get to Project, enter p twice. The first p will select Pending, the second will select Project.

A long folder list might be the sign of an important person, but it's also a bit of a nuisance to navigate. This quick keyboard trick will help you navigate your long list of folders.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

4 comments
ian
ian

These tips should ALWAYS tell which versions they apply to otherwise we tend to either assume the version we are currently using or that it refers to all versions. My tip used Outlook 2007.

PG/gTrep
PG/gTrep

These tips should ALWAYS tell which versions they apply to -- wasted some time trying in Outlook 2010.

Ryk
Ryk

Something I use all the time is the keyboard shortcut to navigate back to the Inbox from wherever you are in Outlook. Press ctrl-shift-I and you're magically there.

ian
ian

Use "Search All Outlook Items" from the toolbar. Select the double down arrow to extend the search criteria. If you are looking for a particular string put it in "double quotes". Using "Search All Outlook Items" search is fast and will find all items within specified criteria. To move the message, simply right mouse click the message and select "Move to folder", alternatively you can categorize or do any of several other options. To add "Search All Outlook Items" to your toolbar, right click any toolbar and select Customize. On the Commands tab, select Tools category from the list on the left. Select "Search All Outlook Items" from the list on the right. With the left mouse button held down, drag the item to a toolbar. Close the Customize window.