How to find stuff in Your Office365 Email

Lately I’ve heard folks complain that it’s hard to find back emails in the web interface version of our new email system, because only a few messages are displayed at a time. If this is a problem for you, you can do two things.

1. You can change the display so that the message list is on the left and the message you are looking at is on the right. This looks like this:

Box on right

Do this by going to the gear (top right) and choosing Display Settings, then Show reading pane on right.

2. There is a powerful search engine that allows complex queries. You can just type a name into the box (upper left, labeled ‘Search Mail and People’). That will find all email from and to that person and all messages that mention them.
But you can also type From:Snerdwell and it will only display messages with that name in the ‘From’ field. Similarly for To: and Subject:, although the latter is a little more subtle. If you want subjects that are more than one word long, enclose the words in double quotes: Subject:”Elephants castles” The important point is that you can concatenate (i.e. string together) successive search items. So to find all messages from Snerdwell that contain the word ‘rhinoceros’ you can type From:Snerdwell rhinoceros To find messages with attachments, type hasattachment:yes. If you know the name of the attachment, you can type attachments:presentation.pptx

There are far more subtleties, and you can read about them on the C&IT Knowledgebase.

2 Replies to “How to find stuff in Your Office365 Email”

  1. Geoff, a few comments:

    – From the Knowledgebase: “When you perform a search from any folder other than the Inbox, it limits the results to that folder. If you search from the Inbox it searches all folders in your account.” This makes no sense. Inbox searches are among the most common searches users will do, and every time, there’s going to be the extra step of going over and changing ‘All folders’ to ‘Inbox’. ‘All folders’ searches include deleted emails, Clutter, etc., and thus are highly inefficient. Can’t the default for Inbox searches be the same as every other folder, and then if we really want ‘All folders’ we can specify that?

    – When you do a search there doesn’t appear to be any simple way to select all the search results (e.g., to move them all to some other folder). Rather, clicking the box next to the folder name (or pressing Ctrl-A) just seems to highlight the first few visible results, so you have to select all the messages individually, all the way down to the bottom. Under what circumstance would a user want a shortcut to just select the first page of search results?

    – Relatedly, there is no simple way to see the number of results from a given search query. You have to highlight all the email results one by one (and click ‘Get more results’ at the bottom if it goes over 25) before you even know if your search was too broad.

    – Is there any way to search emails by the body of the text that does *not* include the text of attached files? I agree in many instances it’s useful to search the text of attachments, but it also produces a lot of ‘false positives’ when what I really want is emails with a person’s name in the body, but not every time that name is mentioned in any attachment I’ve ever received. Basically what I want is a ‘search text of attachment’ separate from ‘search body of emails’.

    – The Date functions ‘older than a week’, ‘older than a month’, and ‘older than a year’, and the advanced examples in the Knowledgebase, don’t capture what I really need, which is the ability (present in Wayne Connect) to search for all emails received between two dates : so, e.g., if I wanted to find all the emails you sent me between August 15, 2014 and May 15, 2015, how would I do that?

    Cheers,

    Steve

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