Multiple Ways to Find a Lost Folder in Outlook

Out of many issues in Outlook application, there is one where user has accidentally moved a specific folder and now it cannot be located. This issue of a lost folder in Outlook creates hassle among users as the information required is now not accessible. And the reason behind it can be an introduced bug through Microsoft Office update or sometimes, other reasons like version upgrade, etc. Manually searching for that missing folder can sometimes go unlucky and in that condition, users can trust the in-built Outlook 2016 application features to find a lost folder.

Get the explanation of all assistances provided by Microsoft Outlook 2016 to find or locate the missing folder path eventually.

Causes behind a Lost Folder in Outlook

It is important to know the situations and circumstances in which you have lost your folders in MS Outlook. Here we are going to mention in short summary points so that you can take precautions for it the next time. Also, you will be able to find a better solution as per the known situations if you know the reason for the same issue.

  1. You may lose a folder when you are dragging and dropping it from one location to another location.
  2. You may have placed it accidentally in some other folder /sub folder.
  3. You may lose a particular folder if the folder has renamed accidentally. In that case, you can easily find the folder with the help of odd name and then check its content to see if its content is same as the lost file.

How to search or find a lost folder in Outlook 2016?

The first trial from the user’s end can be finding lost folder along with other items in the Trash or bin folder of the Outlook folder panel as there may be the condition that user has deleted the folder accidentally. But, if it did not help you, you have other multiple choices as explained below.

Use of Trash Folder

You know that all the deleted files, attachments, messages, and folders are stored in the trash box after the deletion. You should initially check the Trash Box (folder) for the lost Outlook folder. If you have removed it accidentally or unwillingly, you can find the file by the following steps-

  1. Open the Outlook application on your system.
  2. On the left side of the screen, select the Bin folder.
  3. All deleted/removed objects including folders will be available to restore once it is opened.
  4. Search the file name in the Trash Folder and restore, open it.

Use Folder Size feature to find folder

In your Microsoft Outlook application, you can make use of Data file properties of our account to find out the folders and its locations. So, here is a chance to get the information related to the missing or lost folder in Outlook 2016. Perform the following steps.

  1. Open your Microsoft Outlook 2016 application.
  2. Go to the root folder of your Outlook account from which the folder has been missing or lost. Right-click on it and click on the option Data File Properties from the list.
    Click on the option Data File Properties from the list
  3. A new dialogue box will be opened. On the General tab itself, click on Folder Size option to open it.
    New dialogue box will be opened
  4. Here, on this dialogue box, there are the entire folders names within your account with sizes, and total sizes for the account.
    Entire folders names within your account with sizes
  5. You can look out for the missing folder in the list in along with its location in this and similarly for other available accounts in your application.
  6. Note: If the whole Folder pane is not visible in your Outlook 2016, try navigating to View tab and then click Folder Pane to select Normal option within it. It would restore the missing Folder panel.

Use Advanced Find feature in Search Tools

There is another way to find a lost folder in Outlook 2016 application if you remember the folder name. Users can utilize the Advanced Find feature available in Search Tools section of the Outlook interface to do this. Here are the complete steps to understand this process.

  1. On your Microsoft Outlook 2016 interface, click on the Search menu and then look out for the Search tools section, click on the arrow besides it to expand it. Then click on Advanced Find option.
    Microsoft Outlook 2016 interface
    Note: If you do not find the Search menu in your Outlook application, then you need to go to File>Options>Customize Ribbon. Then choose All Tabs option form Choose commands from section on the right panel. Then select Search option in the opened tabs, click on Add option in the middle and finally click on OK. This would display the Search menu in the Outlook 2016 application. User can also fix any Outlook 2016 search problems.
  2. The Advanced Find dialogue box will get opened. Here, on the Message tab, type the message words in your missing folder which you want to find out against Search for word section (users can select the fields as well), then click on Browse to select the account from which you want to find the folder or message. After entering the keyword for your missing folder emails, click on Find Next option to start the search.
    2. Advanced Find dialogue box
  3. The Advanced search would deliver the related results messages with the help of which you can find out the folder location and then browse to it.

Use VBA Macro Code to find folder location

Users can try to run a custom search program with the help of VBA Macro code to find a lost folder in Outlook 2016 application. Follow these instructions.

  1. Start your Microsoft Outlook 2016 application.
  2. Follow File>>Options>>Customize Ribbon.
  3. Select the Develop option under Main tabs section and then click OK.Select the Develop option under Main tabs section
  4. Now, look out for the Developer menu on the main screen of Outlook application and click on it. Then click on Visual Basic option.
    Click on Visual Basic option
  5. Under Project1, expand Microsoft Outlook Objects section and then double-click on ThisOutlookSession to launch it.
  6. Now paste this macro code in the session.
    Private m_Folder As Outlook.MAPIFolder
    Private m_Find As String
    Private m_Wildcard As Boolean   

    Private Const SpeedUp As Boolean = True
    Private Const StopAtFirstMatch As Boolean = True

    Public Sub FindFolder()
    Dim Name$
    Dim Folders As Outlook.Folders

    Set m_Folder = Nothing
    m_Find = “”
    m_Wildcard = False

    Name = InputBox(“Find name:”, “Search folder”)
    If Len(Trim$(Name)) = 0 Then Exit Sub
    m_Find = Name

    m_Find = LCase$(m_Find)
    m_Find = Replace(m_Find, “%”, “*”)
    m_Wildcard = (InStr(m_Find, “*”))

    Set Folders = Application.Session.Folders
    LoopFolders Folders

    If Not m_Folder Is Nothing Then
    If MsgBox(“Activate folder: ” & vbCrLf & m_Folder.FolderPath, vbQuestion Or vbYesNo) = vbYes Then
    Set Application.ActiveExplorer.CurrentFolder = m_Folder
    End If
    MsgBox “Not found”, vbInformation
    End If
    End Sub

    Private Sub LoopFolders(Folders As Outlook.Folders)
    Dim F As Outlook.MAPIFolder
    Dim Found As Boolean

    If SpeedUp = False Then DoEvents

    For Each F In Folders
    If m_Wildcard Then
    Found = (LCase$(F.Name) Like m_Find)
    Found = (LCase$(F.Name) = m_Find)
    End If

    If Found Then
    If StopAtFirstMatch = False Then
    If MsgBox(“Found: ” & vbCrLf & F.FolderPath & vbCRLF & vbCrLf & “Continue?”, vbQuestion Or vbYesNo) = vbYes Then
    Found = False
    End If
    End If
    End If
    If Found Then
    Set m_Folder = F
    Exit For
    LoopFolders F.Folders
    If Not m_Folder Is Nothing Then Exit For
    End If
    End Sub

  7. From the menu bar, click on Run option and then select Run Sub/User Form.
  8. In the opened Find Lost Folder dialogue box, enter the name of the lost folder and then click on OK.
  9. The folder path will be displayed as the result. You can note down this path location and then click on Yes to exit.

Most of the time the folders remain hidden as a sub-folder within other folders most probably when the Drag and Drop action was performed on that folder. So, it is recommended to expand each folder within Outlook 2016 and search for the lost or missing folder. When found, move this folder to the more visible location on the Outlook folder panel.

Users can get to know the information about path to find a lost folder in Outlook from any of the above solutions which they find suitable.

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About Elias Macclure

Elias has a sleek writing style, and the reader may find that the extensive nuances of the material are covered in the article. He changes the writing style according to the platform and writes fine for Office 365 and SharePoint. He is an active reader and reads books by renowned writers including Charles Dickens, Sidney Sheldon and Agatha Christie.