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How to search entire specific phrase in Outlook?

For example you remember a phrase and you want to find out the email message which contains this specific phrase. As usual you type the entire phrase in the Search box, but the search result displays all emails which meet the properties that contain just one word or more in the phrase. So you have to spend time to pick the email up among those unwanted emails. In this case, you can apply exact search to filter the emails which you need. In this article, we will show you a trick for searching messages which contain the entire specific phrase in Outlook. After using this method, you will get your ideal message immediately while searching.

Search entire specific phrase in Outlook

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arrow blue right bubbleSearch entire specific phrase in Outlook

1. Get into the email folder which you want to search emails in.

2. Then type the entire phrase with quotes in the Search box.

For example, type “new method for archive” in the Search box.

Then all emails in this email folder which contain the entire specific phrase will be listed out.

If you want to search for all email folders, please click All Mail Items under Search tab.


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Comments (20)
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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
doesn't work if you have a special character. I am looking for string starting with CR-. Putting that in as is or with quotes "CR-" I get everything that has a CR.
Just basic searching in other examples not listed here is a nightmare in Outlook and causes hours of extra work trying to find things. Really Microsoft? The search doesn't work?
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How could one make a search in Outlook for something containing a dot? It seems that for a search like "xxx.yyy", the dot will be replaced by a space character only, leading to the same result like for "xxx yyy".
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No variation of suggestions above works in 365
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You can also escape the space char. To search the sentence "this is a new day" you have to type [this\ is\ a\ new\ day], i.e. changing the spaces by \ (a bar and a space). This worked for me in outlook 2010.
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That is incredibly helpful, Raul. The suggestion with spaces works but also results in other incomplete versions of a phrase. Your strategy works brilliantly. Thank you!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Thanks for that clear and concise answer - it worked for me!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Huh? Try explaining clearly and concisely. This isn't clear.
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Does not work
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It seems to be fixed in the most recent update of 2013. Quotes worked for me today!
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the quotes do not work
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Just confirming that this doesn't work at all in Outlook 2013. Search for "doc fee" gets me emails that do not have both words (let alone that exact phrase the way it is supposed to work). So my search returns hundreds of emails instead of the handful that have my exact phrase. Very frustrating!
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Please list versions of Outlook that this applies to. It does NOT work for Outlook 2013 which is very disappointing because it's pretty much been an industry standard (since Al Gore invented the internet) that enclosing a string in quotes means to do a verbatim search for that exact string. I blame millennial programmers at Microsoft.
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Dave, c'mon, Microsoft is not a big firm which could solve problems like this at a glance :) I can't search phrase: C+ I get all the c's... And using quotes doesn't work at all.
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