Emails and Files: Searching. Searching. Searching. Never Finding. Frustrated?

I’m a pack rat with emails and files.  Current count: 287,658 going back more than 10 years.  (That’s a topic for another day.)  If you use Microsoft Outlook as your core email software program and if you spend any amount of time searching for documents, files or emails, a software solution is a must-have addition to your efficiency arsenal.   I have tried manual solutions (see Cro-Magnon Man Method below) and a significant number of software solutions.  I’ve used X1 for over 5 years now.  I use it multiple times daily and it is an indispensable productivity and efficiency tool for me.

  1. DK’s Cro-Magnon Man Method:  I created a number of specific folders in outlook.  Then I would drag and drop. Sounds good but Folders bulge with emails.  Then need to be archived.  WAY too slow.  Archaic.  For-getta-about-it.
  2. Google Desktop:  Used older version.  Free is good.  Didn’t search Outlook emails. Too messy.  Believe they may have discontinued Desktop.  Source: Google Desktop
  3. Lookeen.  Price at ~ $30 is reasonable.  It works.  But couldn’t handle the vast emails that I had in various PSTs.  Good basic solution.  Source: Lookeen
  4. Outlook’s Built-in Email Search:  Free is good.  Integrated into Outlook.  Doesn’t index old archived files in PSTs.  Slows down Outlook.  Source: Microsoft Outlook
  5. Xobni:  The new kid on the block.  Social network connections blocked by corporate firewalls.  Slows down outlook.  Interesting eye candy information – much of it not useful to me.  Source:
  6.  X1: Winner by a landslide. $49.95. Lightning fast. Fully integrated with Outlook. Indexes every word in every email and every file – finds files and emails as fast as you can type.  Indexes all archived files.  Handles email and file tonnage with ease.  Can search by sender, receiver, file type, keyword.  You can open, delete, print,email and drag and drop files directly from X1.  Terrific, clean interface.  Source:

One word of warning.  If you can’t remember keywords or file names or something unique to tie you to the search, no software will help you with memory recall.  And if you are searching using a common word or name, you can get hundreds of search results that you’ll have to wade through.  (For example, if I was searching for an email with the word “soup” in it, X1 returns 350 emails with the word “soup” in it. I used Soup as the name of a newsletter a few years back.  You would need to either scan all of the emails or simply add another search parameter to chop it down.  If I added a sender (me) and a recipient (Jack Smith), this would reduce the email count to < 5).

If you have a better email/file search system or program, I would be keenly interested in hearing about it.

Image Sources: X1 & Tangle-Tree-Interiors


  1. Get a Mac!


  2. This was definitely directed at me….a Cro-Magnon woman who lives her life archiving in order to avoid deleted emails and full mailboxes. Good article….I need to make it to this century! Thanks Dave for the Cliff Notes version!


  3. One other great tool David. check out Neo Pro at This is not a troll- I do not sell it. it is the best $70 I ever spent on software. Neo indexes your Outlook and creates a virtual folder for everything- as well as word by word search. After a 3 year adventure in the MAC world- I am returning to using a PC- in part at least to get back to a sane way of managing my email.


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