Two easy ways to create Outlook search folders

Your Outlook users can define and save search criteria to organize messages in a way that makes sense to them. They don't have to physically rearrange their e-mail; they can simply consolidate what they need in a virtual folder for quick access.

Outlook allows users to set up predefined search folders (for example, Mail Flagged For Follow Up or Important Mail) or to define and save their own search folder criteria so they can easily locate specific messages. But because the search folder isn't an obvious feature, many users haven't learned to take advantage of it. Here are two methods to share with them so they can start using search folders to quickly find the mail items they need.

Method one will enable them to build a new folder from scratch, either using standard options or by specifying custom criteria. Method two will let them perform a search and then save the results as a search folder.

Note: This article is also available as a one-page PDF handout to distribute to your users.

Method one: From scratch

  1. Click File | New and select Search Folder to open the New Search Folder dialog box (Figure A).
  2. Select a predefined search folder from the list (Figure B). You can also choose Create A Custom Search Folder and specify your own criteria.
  3. Click OK, and the new search folder will appear in your Outlook folder list. In our example, we created an Unread Mail folder.

Figure A


Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.


hi, i can not understand why so much people are using search folders. i use several folders for my mail and additionally i create a new .pst file every quarter and backup the old. i have to say that i get a lot of mails every day and these mails have to be managed. i use Lookeen ( for finding mails, this is a search tool which indexes all files you want to be indexed. this tool works really fast, doesn?t slow your computer down (as instant search for example) and you can search also contacts, attachments and every content in outlook. for me the best solution. dan

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