I am trying to create a custom search folder in outlook 2010. I am using the "advanced" tab in the "search folder criteria" dialog. One of the criteria I need is the read/unread status of an message. But the "field" dropdown does not contain a field corresponding to read/unread status (see screen shot below).

This is odd because the read/unread status is available in the "More Choices" tab, but seemingly not in the "advanced" tab.

How do I create an advanced search folder criteria which incorporates the read/unread status of a message?

enter image description here


6 Answers 6


In the "More Choices" tab the first checkbox is "only items that are" and you can choose between unread or read. This is how you filter to show only read or unread messages.

You can then apply further advanced search criteria in the Advanced tab if you wish.

  • 1
    This is the best answer. I didn't realise that when I select options in "More Choices" they apply in addition to the options in "Advanced".
    – Kidburla
    Dec 6, 2018 at 11:36
  • In my case, it only worked if I clicked "Find Now" whilst on the "More Choices" tab (after setting advanced options)
    – Griffin
    Jan 18 at 14:09

Just type (do not try to select) "Read" for the field name and select "Yes" or "No".

  • This doesn't work in Professional Plus 2010. Have you had it work? Oct 10, 2013 at 16:32
  • Works in Outlook 2013
    – snowdude
    Feb 25, 2014 at 12:42
  • Works for me in Outlook 2010 Standard 32-bit. Thanks!
    – dunxd
    Mar 25, 2015 at 13:25

What you're looking for was possible on Outlook 2003 but not 2010. Seems to have been a step backwards by Microsoft. You can easily sort out the 'Unread' mails using the conventional Search Folders > Unread mail option but to get a detailed description as to why you can't sort read mail, look at this thread.

  • seems like a fundamental omission.
    – Ken
    May 1, 2012 at 13:39
  • Yup, it does. Microsoft never fails to baffle. I'm using Outlook 2007 and can't figure out how to do this either.
    – prrao
    May 1, 2012 at 13:45
  • I don't think it's a fundamental omission. They just changed the way to do this to the "More Choices" tab. I didn't previously realise that the "More Choices" options apply in addition to those on the "Advanced" tab. See superuser.com/a/475939/429254
    – Kidburla
    Dec 6, 2018 at 11:38

Just found an answer for that if still relevant.

Similar to what the person above suggested, but just enter "Unread" for the field name and select "Yes" or "No".

  • When I try to add Unread to query builder I get an error message saying the criteria is not valid. Read works. This is in Outlook 2010 Standard 32-bit.
    – dunxd
    Mar 25, 2015 at 13:27

You have to use the SQL tab if you want to use unread/read as part of a filter. This is not available directly as a Search Folder filter, but you can associate a filtered View with a search folder that has no criteria, and it will work fine.

To find out what the SQL equivalent of "unread" or "read" is, just select that criteria on the "More Choices" tab, then switch to the SQL tab. You can then combine it with other criteria with OR or AND and brackets.


For Office 2016 Professional:

  1. in the Home tab, select the search box located above the message list
  2. type isread:yes to filter on the read emails and type isread:no to filter on the unread emails.

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