Outlook 2010 search for question mark in calendar

corymk

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In the Outlook Calendar, we use all kinds of Automatic Formatting to change the colors based on what part things are in the accounting process. I have always used Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 primarily. Some of the symbols as tags that we add to the Subject on these Calendar Entries are as follows: "!" and "?" and "qb" and a handful of others. We use the "?" for needed updates. In Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007, if I open up an advanced search and search for simply "?" (minus the quotations) it will bring up all of the entries that only have a question mark in them. Now, in Outlook 2010, Microsoft must've decided that the question mark is a wildcard character so I am not able to search for only the "?" in Outlook 2010. When I search for the question mark by itself in Outlook 2010, it brings up every single entry I have had in my calender for the last couple years so that search if not working at all. Have you ever seen this or does that make sense with the "?" search what I am saying. I am using Outlook Anywhere so I can use Outlook 2007 on one computer and search properly for the question mark but then fail to search on my Outlook 2010 workstation that is connected to the same data. I am just wondering if you can remove this if it is a wildcard character to relieve some of the problems and conveniences of using a newer version of Outlook.
 

Diane Poremsky

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Try subject:~?




Outlook 2010 and 2007 (with desktop search installed) uses windows desktop search as the search engine - and it uses * and ? as wildcards although Outlook's use of them as wild cards is not as expected. T?st did not find test - it found an appt with t and st in the subject or location fields.
 

corymk

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I tried the subject of "~?" if that's what you meant and it shows up with everything for the results again.

I do not use the Desktop Search (if that's the Microsoft Desktop Search product you mean) on my computers at all. That is unless it is built into Windows 7. I have noticed that I am using Outlook 2010 on both Windows 7 computers only. I use Outlook 2007 and 2003 on my other Windows XP machines.

I did a test using the "t*st" term as well and mine did not yield any results also other than the individual letters like you mentioned before. This means that it is not using the "?" as a wildcard then.

What is the next step in testing then to define why a simple search in Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 works so well, but Outlook 2010 gets so confused when thrown into the same situation? Thanks for the quick reply Diane.
 

Diane Poremsky

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Desktop search is built into Windows 7 and provides instant search. You can disable it in outlook but searches will be very, very slow if you do.




This is my result for ~? search - while it may work ok without the subject qualifier, using it will restrict the search to the subject field.




subject.png
 

corymk

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I saw the screen capture and I see that it works for the entries you created. I also created the entries "?Test" and "? Test" and it found those entries. This works well for this situation.

Now, I guess we need more specifics of my entries and so we can figured out why this doesn't work for my entries. A typical entry I use would have the subject "Shop Time+?" if it needs to be reviewed. We have a policy that we add the "?" and "+" and other symbols to identify the status of the project. When I did your search as you mentioned above, I found only your entries. Not any of the other entries that had the question mark at the end of the subject.

I think we are on the right path, now we just need to narrow it down a little bit more and change things to allow the question mark to be used anywhere in the subject instead of always being the first character. It would typically be the last character 95% of the time so that would be a better way to go using the criteria we need to go that direction.

Just for kicks I also attempted to search for other symbols like the "+" and "!" using the example you used above and did not yield any success unless it was the first character which it was mistakenly for an entry or two.
 

Diane Poremsky

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Search only looks at the first character in each word - and any word following punctuation is considered a separate word.




Because the ? is at the end, you don't want to use the field name and tilde - that forces the search to the the beginning. Back to the drawing board...
 

corymk

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Search only looks at the first character in each word - and any word following punctuation is considered a separate word.

Because the ? is at the end, you don't want to use the field name and tilde - that forces the search to the the beginning. Back to the drawing board...
So the search only looks at the first character of each word as of Windows 7 search (Desktop Search features) then?

It is amazing to see how this simple little search and feature was so convenient in earlier versions of Outlook but has been changed now. Do you think that if I ran Outlook 2010 on Windows XP that it would work properly if I don't use the desktop search features? Just curious if it is in fact a Windows 7 or Outlook 2010 thing we are trying to figure out here.
 

Diane Poremsky

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It *should* work better, although much slower. I'll dig up a virtual machine of winxp and test it to be sure.




Yes, Instant search looks at the beginning of the word - that's what makes it so fast. An index of all possible combinations would be unweildy. The old search was so slow because it didn't use an index and checked each word.
 

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