Find / Search e-mails Faster in Microsoft Outlook with Linked Search Queries

We already discussed about smart ways to search Microsoft Outlook which dealt with various ways to search outlook and filter your search results. The Outlook search function offers many options but an OR operator for several conditions is absent. You have to often follow several flow paths till you find a missing mail. Starting with version 98, Outlook recognizes another variant of the find function, which also supports the desired logical OR operator for conditions. This function, however, is hidden and must first be activated through the registry.


First close Outlook and start the registry editor.

  • Open the ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\Microsoft\Office\’ key.
  • Now toggle between the ‘8.0’ and ‘12.0’ sub-keys for Outlook 98 to Outlook 2007 depending on the program version used.
  • Open the ‘Outlook’ key and create the ‘QueryBuilder’ entry with ‘Edit > New > Key’.
  • You need not define any values.
  • Now close the registry and restart Outlook.



Depending on the version,

  • Open ‘Tools > Find > Advanced Find’ or ‘Tools > Advanced Find’ menu command.
  • Go to the newly displayed ‘QueryBuilder’ tab.
  • The operation is like the ‘Advanced’ register.
  • The new tab also offers OR and miscellaneous operators.



An example will show how to find all mails that have requested a read receipt and that have been sent by Meier or the sender of which uses a GMX account. First, define the necessary criteria at the bottom of the dialog. For this,

  • Click ‘Field’ and select ‘All Mail fields > Receipt requested’.
  • Set the ‘Condition’ field to ‘exists’ and then click ‘Add to Lost’.
  • Select the ‘Address fields > From’ entry under ‘Field’ and set the condition to ‘contains’.
  • Enter ‘gmx’ to the right.
  • Click ‘Add to List’ again.
  • Repeat the last step for ‘Meier’.
  • To activate the logic, select the first condition ‘Receipt requested exists’ and click ‘Up’. This
    creates a sub-level in the logic structure.
  • Now click ‘AND’ which is displayed below.
  • Set the ‘Logical Group’ combination field which is activated now to ‘OR’.
  • Start the query with ‘Start search’.


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