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Lickety-Split Outlook Searches

Lookout add-in for Outlook

From PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition by Steve Bass (O’Reilly Media).

The Annoyance:

I upgraded to Outlook 2003. I like the new features, but searching is still slow. And you still can’t search in email attachments.

The Fix:

Fret no more. You want the aptly named Lookout, an add-in that’s one of the coolest Outlook productivity tools around. You can search inside practically any file on your drive, including spreadsheets, Word documents, Favorites, HTML files, and, yes, email attachments. You can search in a variety of ways using Boolean-type operators such as Steve +Bass -guitar. Try special keywords-“lastweek” and “yesterday”, for example-to narrow your search to everything in the last week or just the other day, or search only email with attachments. (See Lookout in action in Figure 4-41.) Click a result and you’ll launch the application associated with the file. Searches are really fast because Lookout uses an index to find files. Pawing through your hard drive and creating the initial index may take a few minutes or even a few hours, however, depending on the number of files on your PC and the speed of your system.

Lookout add-in for Outlook
Figure 4-41. Lookout is a must-have add-in for Outlook users. It can do lickety-split searches half a dozen different ways, from email and contacts to Word documents and worksheets.

Here’s the surprise: this used to be a commercial product costing $40. But now that Microsoft’s acquired the company (they wanted to use it on their MSN site), it’s a freebie.

Unfortunately, Lookout won’t work without Outlook (Versions 2000, XP, or 2003), but if you spend most of your day with Outlook opened, you really must download this valuable tool. You can pick up a copy at or

cover This material has been adapted from PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition by Steve Bass, published by O’Reilly Media, Inc. Copyright O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2005. All rights reserved.

This easy to read, accessible book from PC World expert Steve Bass covers the waterfront of PC gripes and gremlins, with fixes for everything from Windows glitches to browsers that won’t browse. Each fix is served up in bite-sized portions for quick reading–and even quicker fixing. A revised version of its best-selling predecessor, the 2nd edition offers 50 additional pages and over 120 new fixed annoyances.

PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition is available for purchase from,, and the sellers listed below.

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