I was trying to search Outlook for an exact email address, which I was entering in quotes for an exact match per Microsoft's guide, such as: "user@domain.com"

It wasn't enforcing an exact match as I was returning anything with user, domain, or .com in it.

I thought this was only a weird issue with searching email addresses, but after some testing I've found that exact search isn't working for any string.

Is there for some reason any setting that disables the ability to perform exact searches? Any idea why this would be happening?

  • Are you able to perform regular searches ? – pun Jul 29 '15 at 13:26

For some reason, Instant Search does not like searches that contain special characters. To accomplish your search, you'll need to:

  1. Open Advanced Find
  2. Go to the "Advanced" tab
  3. Use the "Field" dropdown to select the field you wish to search in
  4. Select the desired condition (such as "is (exactly)")
  5. Enter your desired search term in the Value field, then click "Add to List"
  6. Click the "Find Now" button to search for all messages meeting the criterion you set up

Solution source


In my case, I followed these steps from Microsoft to fix the issue. After that I was able to search the Archive mailbox for exact phrases using double-quotes.

In essence, it involves creating a value:

AllowPhraseMatch (DWORD) with a value of 1

In the following folders:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\office\<each version>\outlook\search

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.