Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Outlook Saved Searches

Sometimes, we do not fully appreciate something until we face the prospects of not having it anymore. Such is the case of the “saved searches” I created on Outlook. For about 20 minutes yesterday, I could not access them and could not re-create them. I was able to determine the problem and the fix. In my two posts, I will share how to create saved searches, tehe prolem I encountered, and the solution.

The prospect of not having them and realizing how valuable they are to me prompts me to write this post. If you organize with Outlook, they such might be as valuable to you.

I use several “saved searches” to search my Outlook Task list. Why would I need to search the task list?

  1. To satisfy myself that I had indeed put a particular task on the list, even if the start date was not to occur for months.
  2. To find a particular item that I just know I put on the list but somehow don’t see it.
  3. To find a piece of information that I know I put in the note section of a Task but may not remember how I had worked the subject of the Task.
  4. To find a piece of information either in the subject line or note section of Task that I had completed sometime in the past.

We can at anytime perform a search (Tools>Find>Advanced Find or Ctrl+Shift+F) So, why do I need special “saved searches”? The answers might sound trivial, but when you use this valuable tool as much as I do, saving a few keystrokes and 30 seconds a shot adds up. Before I begin a search, there are generally a few things I know about that search. Having a “saved search” allows me to narrow the search from the beginning, this saving me considerable time. This example should make the explanation clearer.

When I go to search for a piece of information that is somewhere in Tasks, I have a good idea of the following:

  1. Whether it is a piece of information in a task completed in the past or whether the information is contained in a Task not yet completed. Since searching all Tasks takes longer than searching Tasks not yet completed, it would be nice to have a “saved search” that searches for Tasks which have been completed and another for Tasks which have not been completed.
  2. Whether the information is in the subject line of the Task or in the attached note. Searching just the subject line is much quicker. Searching just the subject line of the Tasks not completed really saves time over searching every Task in Outlook.

In my next post, I will discuss how to construct saved searches. In the post which follows that, I will describe the problem caused by an Office Update and how to fix it.

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