Is there any way to access the Find window to search for text in the window of a message, task etc. using the keyboard in MS Outlook 2007?

Both the icon in the Ribbon and the webpage Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook (2007) do not offer any keyboard shortcut. The usual shortcut CtrlF is used for message forwarding. The offered keyboard shortcut Go to the Search box (CtrlE or F3) only works in the main window.

  • I usually do the following: Ctrl+F, which starts forwarding the message, then I click within the text and I press the Ctrl+F shortcut again :-) – Dominique Oct 18 '16 at 14:26

You can do this by pressing F4.

Under this Link you can see every Shortcut, Outlook has.

  • 1
    Makes sense. Wait, what? – enderland Oct 18 '16 at 12:43
  • Could you please describe what do you mean with your comment? If you mean the Link there is a Cheatsheet to every Application from Windows out there :) You just have to google it. – CentrixDE Oct 18 '16 at 12:45
  • 3
    I was making a sarcastic comment about the fact that F4 translates to search, instead of nearly every other application which uses something like <Ctrl F> or similar. – enderland Oct 18 '16 at 12:45
  • Oh ok then sry :D I'm recognizing sarcastic comments just with the "<sarcasm>" or """" Tag :D – CentrixDE Oct 18 '16 at 12:48
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    @CentrixDE Ah OK, makes sense! – Burgi Oct 19 '16 at 7:53

As mentioned already, F4 produces the Find window when in a message viewing window (not the main one). In fact, that key works in Outlook 2016 as well.

If you're wondering why Outlook doesn't use Ctrl+F, see Raymond Chen's blog post Why does Outlook map Ctrl+F to Forward instead of Find, like all right-thinking programs?, which discusses this part of the early history of Outlook.

Back in those days, the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut did indeed call up the Find dialog, in accordance with convention.

And then a bug report came in from a beta tester who wanted Ctrl+F to forward rather than find, because he had become accustomed to that keyboard shortcut from the email program he used before Exchange.

That beta tester was Bill Gates.

And so it was changed.

  • Wow! that's some real hero worship going on in the dev team. Understandably, you would want to keep the current default behavior available as the (default?) option, but to not have an otherwise universal shortcut available as even an option is inexcusable. – S. Melted Jul 6 '20 at 11:35
  1. In Mail, click the folder that you want to search.

  2. In the Instant Search box, type your search text.

    • Messages that contain the text that you typed are displayed in the Instant Search Results pane with the search text highlighted.

      Note: By default, it is not necessary to click the Search button Button image to start the search. The Search button is enabled only if you have cleared the Display search results as I type when possible check box in the Search Options dialog box. For details, see the section in this article called Change the Instant Search options.

    • To narrow your search, type more characters.

  3. To widen your search to include all folders in Mail, at the end of the search results, click Try searching again in All Mail Items.

    Alternatively, in the Navigation Pane under Mail Folders, click All Mail Items or press Ctrl + ALT + A.

    1. Click the folder to search in.

    2. Type your search text in the Instant Search box.

    3. Messages that contain the text that you type appear in the results with search text highlighted.

    4. Click to clear the Instant Search box, and then start a new search.

    5. Click to widen your search to all folders in Mail.


  • To return the insertion point to the Instant Search box, press CTRL+E.

  • After you have performed a search and located your item in the results list, you can clear the search. Outlook keeps you on the last item you clicked.

  • Attachments are searched but search results from attachments are not highlighted.

Source and additional information

  • I want to search within the already opened message/task window. Question edited. – Melebius Oct 18 '16 at 10:11

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