I personally think that search in Outlook is pretty damn good. I usually find what I’m looking for 95% of the time (the other 5% is because the email was archived, deleted long ago, or was a figment of my imagination).
Once I spot the email in a list of search results, I often wonder “now where did I actually put that?”. I have an embarrassing amount of nested folders that I use to organize the thousands of emails I receive because I never delete any of them. Plus I am guilty of accidentally drag-and-dropping folders into other folders and losing them. Poking around through the folder filing system is honestly painful, and more effort than I care to exercise, especially when I end up clicking around for longer than 30 seconds. I knew there had to be an easier way!
During my internet search for answers, I discovered Outlook MVP Robert Sparnaaij’s blog MSOutlook.info and was really impressed with his writing style. He has found the perfect balance of short, direct answers with just enough detail to get results. Thank you to Robert for wading through vast amounts of documentation to track down the answers to our real world questions!
In Robert’s blog post “Determine the folder path of a message found in Search results“, he shares four solutions of increasing complexity to help you figure out where an email lives in Outlook.
Because I honestly need to recall these keyboard shortcuts 3-4 times a week (and ALWAYS forget), I’m posting them here. Please read Robert’s blog post for detailed instructions and step-by-step screenshots. Again, 100% kudos to Robert for these solutions.
Solution #1: Sort your Search Results by folder (so smart!)
Solution #2: Alt + Enter is the keyboard shortcut to bring up the Properties dialog box for an Outlook email – this will show you the name of the folder the email lives in.
Solution #3: To see the exact full folder path, use CTRL + Shift + F will open the Advanced Find menu. It will tell you what folder the email is in AND let you use the Browse button to reveal where that folder sits in the folder hierarchy.
Solution #4: If you want a solution that gives you the ability to click to open the file location, use the link above to go read Robert’s blog post: Determine the folder path of a message found in Search results