How to Search Inside a Message in Outlook

Businesswoman at desk with using computer
Tom Merton/OJO Images/Getty Images

Finding messages is easy, accessible and reasonably fast in Outlook, but finding text inside a message is more challenging. It can be done, though a few detours are involved.

Search Inside a Message in Outlook

To find inside an email in Outlook:

  1. Double-click the message to open it in its own window.
  2. Press F4.
    1. Alternatively, click Find in the message's toolbar.
      • Make sure the Message ribbon is active and expanded.
    2. In Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003, you can also select Edit | Find... from the menu.
  1. Select your search options.
  2. Use Find Next to find all occurrences of your search terms.

(While there is also an Edit | Find Next menu item in Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003, you have to keep the Search dialog open. There seems to be no way to make use of the Find Next command.)

Search Inside a Message with Outlook for Mac

To find text within an email in Outlook for Mac:

  1. Open the message whose content you want to search in the preview pane or in its own window.
  2. Press Command-F.
  3. Type the text you seek.
  4. Use the > and < buttons to cycle through results.
    • You can also press Command-G for the next result and Command-Shift-G to jump to the previous one.

(Tested with Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2016 under Windows and Outlook for Mac 2016)