April 12, 2017 Mike

Correcting the Record: Searching Attachments in Outlook

This brief post goes out to Michael Berman, a partner at Rifkin Weiner Livingston, LLC in Baltimore, Maryland.

Shortly after the release of Project Management in Electronic Discovery, Michael wrote to me raising a question. Others have also asked the question, so I decided to address the issue here.

Michael first praised Project Management in Electronic Discovery as “an excellent book.”  Then he said, “I have one question:  You indicate (in the book) that Outlook’s search function does not search attachments –I have a specific option in Outlook 2013 to search attachments (of course, assuming that they are searchable).  May I impose on you to explain?”

Over the ensuing weeks Michael and I exchanged a few emails on the subject. I explained that certainly earlier versions of Outlook Exchange did not provide for searching of attachments. “One problem with writing a book about technology is that the technology changes faster than you can write a book,” I wrote.

Nonetheless, I promised Michael I would look into the issue. And here we are. It took a little longer than I anticipated, but I think we have an answer.

Of course, when I began writing the book over 4 years ago, I was not using a version of Outlook that searched attachments. Indeed, my experience with earlier versions of Outlook taught me it is not possible to search attachments in Outlook. We’ve since learned, though, that starting with Outlook 2013 it is in fact possible to search the text of attachments. Later versions of Outlook do index attachments and allow for searching (assuming there is text in the attachment that can be indexed). The image below from Michael shows the search functionality.Searching attachments in Outlook

As a result of the exchange with Michael, I have updated the text of Project Management in Electronic Discovery. The book now states that later versions of Outlook do index attachments and allow for searching attachments.

Thanks, Michael (and others) for raising the issue and giving me the opportunity to correct the record.

There is a comment section below if you would like to chime in on the issue.

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