Rules for advanced searches

Microsoft Windows Desktop Search

Rules for advanced searches

The following tables describe the syntax to use with Microsoft Windows Desktop Search, as well as the properties that can be queried for each category of file displayed in the Windows Desktop Search results window.

You can restrict your query to specific locations, specific file types or properties within those types, or specific "file kinds." File kinds refer to the categories displayed at the top of the Windows Desktop Search results window.

 Desktop Search syntax
Keyword/symbol Example Function
NOT social NOT security Finds items containing social, but not security
- social -security Finds items containing social, but not security
OR social OR security Finds items containing social or security
Quotation marks "social security" Finds items containing the exact phrase social security
Parentheses (social security) Finds items containing the social and security in any order
> date:>11/05/04


Finds items with a date after 11/05/04

Finds items with a size greater than 5

< date:<11/05/04


Finds items with a date before 11/05/04

Finds items with a size less than 5


  • Boolean operators must be in all uppercase letters.
  • You cannot use two keywords (for example, NOT and OR) in the same query.
 Boolean properties
Property Example Function
has:attachment report has:attachment Finds items containing report that have attachments. Same as hasattachment:true
is:attachment report is:attachment Finds items that have attachments that contain report. Same as isattachment:true
before: before:10/9/2004 Finds items whose PrimaryDate field contains a date before 10/9/2004.
after: after:10/9/2004 Finds items whose PrimaryDate field contains a date after 10/9/2004.
author: author:jake Finds items with jake in the author property.
author:"name" author:"jake zukowski" Finds items with jake zukowski, in that order, in the author property.
author:(name) author:(jake zukowski) Finds items with jake and zukowski in the author property.
author:(name OR name) author:(jake OR bob) Finds items with jake or bob in the author property.
author:name name author:jake bob Finds items with jake in the author property and bob anywhere in the document.
from:name from:jake Finds items with jake in either fromName OR fromAddress, since "from" is a property name for both fromName and fromAddress.
 Dates and date ranges

To specify a date range, type the property followed by two dates. Closed date ranges are indicated by typing .. For example, type from:david sent:11/05/04..11/05/05. Windows Desktop Search recognizes all Windows date formats, and also recognizes the following values:

  • Relative dates: For example, today, tomorrow, yesterday
  • Multi-word relative dates: For example, this week, next month, last week, past month, coming year.
  • Days: Sunday, Monday ... Saturday
  • Months: January, February ... December

 Numbers and ranges
Syntax Results
size:>50 < 70 Searches for files with a value in the Size property between 50 and 70.
date:>2/7/05 < 2/10/05 Searches for a date in the Date property between the values 2/7/05 and 2/10/05.
 Common file properties

The syntax listed above can be used with any of the following file properties. For example, to find e-mail from "jake" that was sent in 2005, your query would look like this: kind:email author:jake after:12/31/2004.

To restrict by file type: Use Example
All file types everything kind:everything
Communications communications kind:communications
Contacts contacts kind:contacts
E-mail email kind:email
Instant Messenger conversations im kind:im
Meetings meetings kind:meetings
Tasks tasks kind:tasks
Notes notes kind:notes
Documents docs kind:docs
Text documents text kind:text
Spreadsheets spreadsheets kind:spreadsheets
Presentations presentations kind:presentations
Music music kind:music
Pictures pics kind:pics
Videos videos kind:videos
Folders folders kind:folders
Folder name foldername, in foldername:mydocs
Favorites favorites kind:favorites
Programs programs kind:programs

If you use several e-mail accounts and you want to limit a query to either Microsoft Office Outlook or Outlook Express, you can use the store: indicator.

To restrict by file store: Use Example
Files files store:files
Outlook outlook store:MAPI
Outlook Express oe store:oe
 Properties for file type: All
Property Use Example
Title title, subject, about title:sample
Status status status:sample
Date date date:last week
Date modified datemodified, modified modified:last week
Importance importance, priority importance:high
Size size size:> 50
Deleted deleted,isdeleted is:deleted
Is attachment isattachment is:attachment
To to, toname to:sample
Cc cc, ccname cc:sample
Company company company:sample
Location location location:sample
Category category category:sample
Keywords keywords keywords:sample
Album album album:sample
File name filename, file filename:sample
Genre genre genre:sample
Author author, by author:sample
People people, with with (sonja mo david)
Folder folder, under, path folder:sample
Ext ext, fileext ext:sample
File name filename, file filename:sample
 Common properties for file type: Attachment
Property Use Example
People people, with people:sample
 Properties for file type: Contact
Property Use Example
Assistant's phone assistantsphone assistantsphone:555-3323
Profession profession profession:sample
Nickname nickname nickname:sample
Spouse spouse spouse:sample
Business city businesscity businesscity:sample
Business postal code businesspostalcode businesspostalcode:sample
Callback phone number callbackphonenumber callbackphonenumber:sample
Car phone carphone carphone:sample
Children children children:sample
First name firstname firstname:sample
Last name lastname lastname:sample
Home fax homefax homefax:sample
Pager pager pager:sample
Business phone businessphone businessphone:sample
Home phone homephone homephone:sample
Mobile phone mobilephone mobilephone:sample
Office office office:sample
Anniversary anniversary anniversary:yesterday
Birthday birthday birthday:tomorrow
Web page webpage
 Properties for file type: Communications (e-mail, appointments)
Property Use Example
From from, organizer from:sample
Received received, sent sent: yesterday
Subject subject, title subject:sample
Has attachment hasattachment, hasattachments has:attachment
Attachments attachments, attachment attachment:presentation.ppt
Bcc bcc, bccname bcc:sample
Bcc address bccaddress, bcc bccaddress:sample
Cc address ccaddress, cc ccaddress:sample
Follow-up flag followupflag followupflag:2
To address toaddress, to toaddress:sample
Due date duedate, due due:last week
Has flag hasflag, isflagged hasflag:true
 Properties for file type: Calendar
Property Use Example
Recurring recurring, isrecurring is:recurring
Organizer organizer, by, from organizer:sample
 Properties for file type: Documents
Property Use Example
Comments comments comments:sample
Last saved by lastsavedby lastsavedby:Josh
Document manager documentmanager documentmanager:sample
Revision number revisionnumber revisionnumber:sample
Document format documentformat documentformat:sample
Date last printed datelastprinted datelastprinted:last week
 Properties for file type: Music
Property Use Example
Lyrics lyrics lyrics:sample
Bit rate bitrate, rate bitrate:2
Artist artist, by, from artist:sample
Year year year:sample
Duration duration duration:sample
Album album album:"greatest hits"
Genre genre genre:rock
Lyrics lyrics lyrics:"happy birthday to you"
Track track track:12
Year year year:> 1980 < 1990
 Properties for file type: Picture
Property Use Example
Camera make cameramake cameramake:sample
Camera model cameramodel cameramodel:sample
Dimensions dimensions dimensions:sample
Orientation orientation orientation:sample
Date taken datetaken datetaken:last week
Width width width:sample
Height height height:sample
 Properties for file type: Video
Property Use Example
Name name, subject name:sample
Ext ext, fileext ext:sample