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Unlocking the potential of Search Folders in Outlook 2010

May 10th, 2011 by

Many people see Outlook 2010 as an incremental upgrade. However there is one major feature that has a lot of potential to change and improve the way you work with multiple mailboxes. This feature is the ability to add multiple Exchange accounts to a single Outlook 2010 profile. This combined with a feature added since Outlook 2007 called Query Builder makes dealing with and searching through multiple mailboxes a lot easier straight from Outlook. In most cases you can now avoid switching profiles when you need to access and search another mailbox.

How does it work?

The first step is to add your additional mailbox as an Exchange account instead of an additional mailbox. To do this you will need to completely close Outlook. Now navigate to the control panel and click on the “Mail” icon. screen1-mail-control-panel

If you only have one profile or the last profile you had open is the one you want to edit then click on “E-Mail Accounts…”. Otherwise click on “Show Profiles…” and select the profile to edit and click “Properties”. Now you will see this window.

The profile above already has two Exchange accounts. In order to add another one click “New…”

Choose the top option for E-Mail account and click “Next”.

Choose to manually configure server settings and click “next”.

Choose “Microsoft Exchange or compatible service” and click “next”.

Enter the first few letters of your server name (Note: you can see this from your other account) and the first few letters of the additional account you are adding. Then click “Check Name” and finally click “next” and “finished”. Now you will land back at the account settings screen and see two or more Exchange accounts. From here you can re-order how they will show up and set one as the default for sending from. Go ahead and close this but do not open Outlook just yet.

What is next?

Next up is to edit the registry to unleash the tool called Query Builder from its metaphorical cage that Microsoft put it in. Click start and type in regedit and hit enter.

This brings up Registry Editor. Note: all changes to the registry are immediate. There is no button to save. Exercise appropriate caution. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook and right click. Then hover over “new” and choose “key”.

Your new key will be highlighted and you can rename it to QueryBuilder.

You can now close Registry Editor and open Outlook 2010. Click “File” and then “options”.

Now click on “Customize Ribbon”. Click the dropdown to choose from “All Commands”.

From the right pane, select “Home(mail)” and click the “New Group” button. Now click the “Rename” button and name this group to “Advanced Find”. Now on the left pane, locate “Advanced Find” and click the button to add it to your new group. You should now see “Advanced Find” on your home ribbon.

When you click this tab, you see the newly unlocked Query Builder tab.

Bringing it all together

What Query Builder does is allow you to create searches with multiple criteria. What having multiple exchange accounts lets you do is enable search folders on your additional mailboxes. When you combine these two together is when greatness happens. You will notice now (if you did not already) that you have search folders on your additional mailbox. Right click on the search folder group and choose “Create new search folder”.

You want to choose the bottom options which is “Create a custom Search Folder” and click on “Choose” to bring a box to name your new folder.

Click on the “Criteria…” button to bring up the Advanced Find dialog box. Click on the Query Builder tab and make magic happen. This is really only limited by your imagination. Once saved, this folder will automatically show the results of your complex query. One example is to filter out emails with that contain both specific words in their subject. A simple query will return results that contain either word and may prove useless. Now you can limit results to those that contain both.

Final notes

Adding multiple Exchange account is powerful but it also comes with some caveats. Try not to add too many as you now receive notifications for all of your accounts. Also, if you make search folders with Query Builder and multiple people access that mailbox, they will need to enable Query Builder in the registry as well to see those results. That’s it.

If you like what you have seen here, also see what else Numa Networks has to offer and if you are in the Orange County, California area then give us a call to schedule an Audit of your company’s network at (714) 455-3900.

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