Ian Moulster's blog

A Microsoft employee translating Microsoft technology into plain English

Searching your Hotmail inbox

Searching your Hotmail inbox

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I didn’t realise until recently that you could search your hotmail inbox using keywords to narrow the search. I’m talking about the web version of Hotmail, not when you’re accessing it via a client application like Outlook.

For example, let’s say you wanted to find an email from your friend John Lyons, that will have been filed in a folder called “School”. Just type “from:Lyons folder:School” in the search box at the top right of your hotmail webpage:


It works with “to” as well, and of course you can search all folders by omitting the “folder” keyword.

[Update: "Subject" works too, so for example looking for emails with a subject containing the word "tickets", you would enter "subject:tickets"]

With my inbox having well over 10,000 messages, and multiple folders, this kind of search refinement is really useful to me.  It’s really quick too.

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  • when i typed "folder:inbox" it did'nt work. how can i search in inbox? thanks..

  • Seems to work ok for me. What is the exact query you're typing into the search box?

  • What a revelation! Thanks, Ian.

  • Hmmm - Great if you can remember the first word in the Subject title but I'm not sure Hotmail will search in the middle . . . by contrast Yahoo seemed to do this contrary to what their site says it will do

  • Hi GrahamB, it searches the entire subject line. It doesn't need to start with the word you're looking for. So yes, it does search "in the middle" :-)

  • Thanks Ian - I eventually deduced this with a bit of trial and error. I've separately sent a comment to Microsoft along the lines that I seemed to find that the search string needed at least 2 characters. If you agree with me on this, it'll confirm to me that I wasn't having a fat day!

  • Seems to work ok with 1 character for me. Not sure about that fat day. Mind you, I think most of my days are fat days so we're even ;-)

  • my search is not working today. anyone else?

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