I'm using the inbox quick search and typing in "Subject: [ops]" but it returns all emails with both "[ops]" as well as anything without the square brackets like "ops". What is the syntax for filtering email that only have the square brackets?

query: subject: [ops] results: returns both [ops] and ops without brackets expected results: only shows messages with square brackets.

I know its possible since in the "advanced find" and "advance" tab I can select the field Subject with condition contains value [ops] and it only returns the right ones.

Query Advance: Field: Subject Condition: contains Value: [ops] results: only shows messages with square brackets (as expected)


It appears that Instant Search and Advanced Find use separate indexes. The Instant Search index ignores special characters. You cannot search for special characters with Instant Search.

Reference: http://www.msoutlook.info/question/389

  • its sad but it sure looks like you're right. thanks for the info as its been driving me crazy for a few days now :-) – Mouffette Jun 8 '12 at 17:12
  • Doesn't work since Outlook 2016. It seems that the advanced find search index now also ignores special characters. – Geoff Griswald May 5 at 15:04

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