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Using Search in Entourage

  1. Simple Search vs Advanced Search
  2. View replies and forwards in Sent Items folder
  3. Find E-mail address with no name
  4. Quick scearch on domain name
  5. Using Spotlight to search Entourage

The little "QuickFilter" box in the upper right corner searches only what's in the columns on view - it does not do a full database search. When a sender includes their Display Name (First and Last Names generally) then that's all that's in the From column and therefore that's what you need to specify. (If they don't include a Display Name you'll see the email address in the From column and therefore can use that; but not otherwise.)

However "Advanced Find" - cmd-opt-F does a search of the database, is restricted by default to the current folder (although you can uncheck that) and searches the entire Name <email address> line in the Fro header, whatever it may contain. It's getting pretty fast now in recent versions of Entourage, so if I know only the email address or domain, I'll use Advanced Find every time. And you can use "contains @whatever.com" there too. It's an excellent search.

Starting with Entourage 2008, Spotlight seach extends 'Advanced Search'. It is much faster. You can access it via the Spotlight search box. See screenshot.


1) I'm having trouble understanding the search features in Entourage. I just did a search (Cmd-F) in Messages, searching in "subjects, titles and names only" for a name. That search returned 17 items. Then I tried the Advanced Find and returned 328 items.

You probably wanted to find the name of a sender ("From") and thought that the "names" reference in "subjects, titles and names only" in Find would get those. But it doesn't even look at senders. Your search in Find for "subjects, titles and names only" looked only at message subjects, not "From". So when you restrict the search to folders, it means "subjects only".

  • The "names" part does not mean "names of senders or recipients of messages", it means "names of tasks".
  • "subjects, titles and names only" means, literally, "subjects of messages, titles of calendar events and notes, names of tasks" and "names of contacts".
  • And when you don't check that "subjects, titles and names only" box, then it also looks in the body of messages, but never searches the other fields. This is very poorly documented. The Find feature is really not very helpful for precise searches, and is best avoided.
  • You also should be aware that the little "QuickFilter" box on the top right corner of all the list views such as message folders, searches only the displayed columns, not the full data. So "From" will get only only the display name, not the email address of the sender (unless there is no display name). What it does, it does very fast, however.

Recommended: Entourage 2008 users should use the Spotlight seach interface. Older versions, use Advanced Find. (Edit->Advanced Find or shortcut cmd-opt-f) It does an outstanding search and finds exactly what you ask it for, with all levels of criteria possible in very fine detail if desired. Forget about ordinary Find unless you're searching all types (messages, tasks, events, notes and contacts) just for their titles. If you're looking for a sender by email address, use Advanced Find.


2) How do I view replies and forwards in my Sent Items folder? When I type "Re:" or "FW:" into the Quick-filter box, it doesn't show all of my replies/forwards.

A: Use a Custom View. Click New, and make your search look like this:

"Search for Forwarded Messages":

  • ITEMS: Messages
  • SEARCH: This Folder: Sent Items
  • CRITERIA: Execute if all criteria are met
  • Specific Header "In-Reply-To" Exists
  • Subject Does Not Start With "Re:"

"Search for Replies to Messages":

  • ITEMS: Messages
  • SEARCH: This Folder: Sent Items
  • CRITERIA: Execute if all criteria are met
  • Specific Header "In-Reply-To" Exists
  • Subject Does Not Start With "FW:"

Click Find, and voila!, you'll see all of the messages you are looking for.

You can then use the Quick-filter box to narrow your search from there.


3) Is it possible to have Entourage search for the real E-mail address when you do a Search on Name contains? I sometimes forget peoples' names but I can remember their company!

Yes. Do an Advanced Find (opt-cmd-F). Example:


4) Maybe I am just not using Entourage 2004 properly. Basically, either on the quick search or for rules, I am not able to trigger or find thing on the domain name. For example entering beta.doe.com does not find all messages from the domain example.com

This is the same questions as #3, but phrased a little differently. I've included both to aid in the search process. In addition to the screen shot of the search above, here is a more detailed explanation by Paul Berkowitz, MVP.

The QuickSearch filter for "From", for example, works only on the contents of the "From" column as it actually appears. When the sender includes a display name, the From column (for space reasons) has only the Display Name, not the email address, so it finds only the Display Name. (If the sender has not included a display name, then it will find the email address, or any part of it such as the domain.) This is for reasons of speed - it's a QUICKsearch filter. It does not go back into the 10,000 messages in the folder and parse their headers again - it uses the already-indexed column contents.

To do what you want is very simple: press opt-cmd-F to get the Advanced Find and insert the domain name in the From criterion there. (By default it's already set at From and shows the email address of the sender of the currently selected message.)

It's been this way since Entourage 2001 and OE Mac before that.


5) Using Spotlight to search Entourage.

Entourage 2004 now has the ability to use Spotlight for searches. This feature was added with the update 11.2.3.

Tips for using Spotlight with Entourage

How to find folder for message: Spotlight search results finds the message. With the message open, click and hold the Move button in the Entourage window. The folder that appears at top of the list is the folder the message resides in.

Use Spotlight "kind" Keywords (kind:email, kind:emails, kind:mail message, kind:mail messages)

You can specify that in your search phrase by adding the text "kind: <type of information> after your search. For example, to find all of the emails related to update, type "update kind:email" into Spotlight.

You can add date keywords to your search phrase so that the search will only return the files that have been opened in the date range that you care about. For example, if you search for "update date:today", only those items related to update that have been viewed today will be listed.

Here's the complete list of date ranges that you can specify: