Microsoft Outlook wants to make sure you never lose that vital email again

Close up of a person touching an email icon.
Image Credit: Pixabay (Image credit: Geralt / Pixabay)

Finding that important, but long-lost email chain could soon be a lot easier thanks to some upcoming Microsoft Outlook updates.

The email provider is introducing a number of tools to help its users track down exactly what they need by improving its search function in several ways.

This includes the ability to return over a thousand results on a single search for the first time, meaning users have a much wider pool of findings to trawl through and find the email they desire.

Outlook search

Also on the way by September 2023 is an improvement to the search box interface itself, as Microsoft makes it, "more prominent and discoverable" by using higher color contrast on the input area, border, and font, as well as fine tuning all themes across as light and dark modes.

Elsewhere, Microsoft has also revealed that Outlook search will soon cover and show results from all mailboxes configured in the app. Although not set for release until July 2024, giving the company ample time to develop and test, the feature will also mean that searches return in a single search "merged results from all their mailboxes on the message list", Microsoft says.

Finally, there's a tweak to how results from folders and subfolders are displayed - namely that search results will now show content stored not just in the main folder, but also content stored within all its sub-folders.

Analysis - searching for a solution?

It's unclear why Microsoft has suddenly decided to go all-out on improving the search function, but it is the latest in a number of recent upgrades to Outlook.

This includes a new Profiles feature to aid switching between work and personal profiles on a Mac, making it super clear exactly which account is active right now, as well as making it easier to switch between them.  

Outlook for Mac users can now create multiple profiles (such as one for work, one for personal use etc), and select one to use at that moment. Whichever accounts are not selected will no longer show or alert you to any notifications, giving you a break from unnecessary distractions.

Whatever the cause, widening the search field is always a useful addition, and Microsoft will be hoping users benefit when its various updates are rolled out.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.