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One of the keys to successfully managing your email is to search your messages efficiently. If your email life is like mine and most people I know this is no small task. This is another one of those situations where the BlackBerry truly excels. The number of options the BlackBerry smartphone offers for search is awesome and with each generation of device software searching becomes easier and easier.

Let's look at the searching methods available on the BlackBerry.

Universal Search (from Home Screen)

To find any email messages that are saved on my BlackBerry from or to Adam Zeis all I need to do is type "Adam Zeis" in the universal search bar.

Search Home Screen

The search resolves out Adam's contact card, BBM contact, Google Talk, calendar appointments as well as email from two of my accounts on my device. When you tap on the email account all the email messages with "Adam Zeis" in the FROM, TO or CC fields will listed. This particular search is a local only search so any messages deleted or auto cleaned up after 30 or 60 days will not be indexed in this search.

Search from within a specific mail account

If you're looking for an email in a particular account you can do a search from within that mailbox. This is a good way to filter our all the noise from calendar, BBM or other mail accounts you're not focusing search for. To initiate this search open the mailbox in question and press the "S" key to reveal the search bar. Next type your search query, in my case I'll search for "Adam Zeis" again.

Search from Mailbox

As with the search using Universal Search this search only searches for messages that reside locally on your BlackBerry at the time of the query.

Search By....

You can do a quick search of more messages like the one currently selected by searching by sender or subject. To do this quick search highlight a particular message in your BlackBerry message list and click the Menu button and scroll to and select "Search By" and select "Sender" or "Subject".

Search by Sender or Subject

Once you've selected the criteria you'll immediately be shown the search results of the desired messages that are on your BlackBerry smartphone. In my case I've selected messages from the sender "Michelle Haag". As with the other search methods listed above, this search will only access messages that are residing locally on your BlackBerry device. Next let's look at some more advanced searching abilities the BlackBerry has including remotely searching messages on your mail server.

Search Sender Results


Advanced and Remote Search

To go beyond the surface search and query more granular information you need to select "Advanced" with you're in the menu "Search By" option. From the advanced screen you can refine your search for multiple search fields (Name, Subject & Message). If you have multiple email accounts on your device you can select which mail account to search or you can select all of your mail accounts.

The advanced search will also let you specify a specific folder to search as well as Sent, Received or Sent and Received.  You can also select the type of message (Email, Email with Attachments, PIN, Text Message or Phone Call).

Search Advanced


Search Type

Remote search is a great feature the BlackBerry offers to search your entire email account. Now that we live in an age of virtually unlimited online mail storage deleting mail is just not something we really do anymore. This is not true of our smartphones though, storage on these devices is finite and we must have some cut of point. Personally, my BlackBerry auto-purges messages after 30 days. I just don't need them hanging around longer than that, especially with the ability to call them up anytime with remote search.

The remote search option is available to BES users and BIS users with Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo! mailboxes configured on their BIS account. Unfortunately remote search is not an option for BIS users who have a simple POP3 account configured.

To begin a remote search, drill down to the same Advanced search menu we looked at in the previous example and at the top of the search query window there in an option for "Search in:" and you can toggle between On Device or Remote. Once you fill in the search particulars click "Search" and after a few moments your search results will appear.

In this example I'm going to search for messages with "Adam" in the name field and "Evernote" in the message field.

Remote Search Setup

When you press "Search" it will than send the query back to the server.

in progress

When the search is complete the results will be listed.

Remote Search Result

Once you have finished with the desired messages from the search you will be prompted to delete the search when you press the back button on your BlackBerry.

Delete a Search

If you select "No" when prompted the search will remain saved at the top of your message list.

Saved Search

So there we have it. Many ways to search through our BlackBerry for messages. Do you have a favorite method for searching? Share in the comments.