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date 19.Jun.2016

■ Advanced Outlook search rules to search for emails received last week

Perhaps Joseph or Arimathea had his ancient calendar starting weeks on a Sunday, but most people nowadays define the working week starting on a Monday. Microsoft Outlook 2010 defaults to a Semitic oriented Sunday-first day of the week, and although supposedly there is a setting to change it to Monday, it doesn't work with Outlook search rules like received:last week.

For years I was happily using Outlook 2007 and appreciated its speedy and accurate search engine that could track down emails by keywords or dates. After the recent hardware upgrade I was tempted to stick with office 2007. Having access to all and any microsoft product through my MSDN subscription, prompted me to have a go with the latest office 2015, but that was quickly uninstalled when it transpired that the installer does not allow you to pick what to install (I only need Outlook, Word and Excel). Microsoft excel at annoying people with all their products nowadays.

In the end I settled for office 2010, but this indulgement to progress proved annoying due to the aforementioned "last week" search glitch. I don't know why people find such small details annoying, perhaps it is because some small things are used so frequently so the slightest imperfection is blown up out of all proportion. But after getting used to searching for emails received last week and actually getting emails from last week, not last week plus the sunday before that, I was getting irksome enough to contemplate uninstallation of office 2010.

To help you understand what I'm talking about here's this month's calendar. If you search on monday 20 June for emails received last week, you should get items from 13 to 19 June. But outlook 2010 insists including Sunday 12 June, moronically even grouping it as 2 weeks ago in the search results.

Thankfully outlook has many advanced search rules that can work around the glitch. So instead of received:last week you can put in the exact date range you want:

received:>=13-jun-16 NOT received:today subject:sales

not very pretty but at least it works as it should. Note the boolean NOT operator must be in capital letters.
outlook error in last week
ps. there is an easy fix to this problem. There is a "first day of the week" setting in windows nowadays. So goto Control panel and use the date settings applet to set Monday as the first day of the week. Then Outlook will respect it too.

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