Outlook 2007 – Creating Search Folders for Combined Categories

I’ve recently gone down the route of setting up my Outlook email system for use with the getting things done (GTD) methodology. This means I work to a zero inbox and have limited context based folders such as @ACTION, @REFERENCE, @READ. I have been religiously categorising my mail before assigning to the reference pile and using Search folders in place of my previous system of dragging the email into a sub-sub-folder that never proved to be the right one when I came to look for it again.

The beauty of the categorise and Search Folder functionality is that I can apply multiple categories to a single email and I no longer have to decide whether to file my email in the “Wandsworth” folder or the “SLA” folder. If I assign it both categories, it will appear in my search folder under both categories.

I wanted to set up a few search folders that would enable me to view emails that were categorised in more than one specific folder using the logical “AND” rather than “OR” that the system defaults to. For example, it is the commissioning period at the moment and it would be handy for me to have a few search folders set up for the next month or so that group together emails categorised as 2010 SLA and a specific borough.

My initial attempts at using the custom search folder dialog box and entering the instruction “1a. Wandsworth AND 3a. SLA 1011” in the “More Choices” tab did not work as it was presumably looking for a single category. I did a bit of a google search and didn’t find anything very promising so having found a solution I thought it might be useful to write it up.

  1. Create a new Search Folder by right clicking on Search Folder and selecting New.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and select Create a Custom Search Folder and then hit Choose
  3. Give it a name and then hit Criteria
  4. Within the Advanced tab set the field to equal Categories (it’s in the frequently used drop down)
  5. Leave the condition as contains
  6. Write your category names separated by “AND” in the Value field.
  7. Hit “Add to list”
  8. OK your way out of the dialog box and you should have a functioning multiple category search folder.

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  • andy

    thanks for this. i’ve been trying to work out how to do this for a while and just happened on this page in a google search. nice one, this makes categories much more powerful than the default.

  • Alex

    WOW thanks a lot, I´ve been trying to do just this for some time now!

  • Gareth

    Awesome, cheers mate. Just like Alex I’ve been trying to sort this and couldnt figure it out.

  • Unfortunately, it seems to work only with the English language. 🙁

  • James

    Thanks a lot – you just helped me with the same problem

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