Yesterday Joel Spolsky bemoaned the search capabilities of Outlook 2007 in his blog.
There is no need to go to all that trouble to install the Lookout software that he mentions in his blog entry to do fast search inside Outlook. There is an easier solution – Google Desktop.
Google Desktop has excellent desktop search capabilities that includes searching email in Outlook. When you install Google Desktop, there is a new Google search toolbar that shows up inside Outlook 2007. Typing any text into it brings up search results in a new Google Desktop Search window in an instant. Since the indexing happens continuously in the background there is no delay after you type your search string, it really is instantaneous. Clicking on any emails shown in the results list opens up that email inside Outlook (Nice!). The results window shows only a list of emails – there is no way to drill down or trim your search from there. For that, click the “more desktop search results” link in the results window, which opens up the entire result set in a browser. This window helps narrow your email based on From and To fields. The result set in the browser also allows you to find the search string inside chat messages and any files that Google Desktop indexes. This can be very useful if you are trying to locate any information on your machine about a particular search string. I have found searching emails and chat messages from/to a person to be a handy.
One thing you can’t do is search within a single folder or folder hierarchy.