Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lookeen review – better search for Outlook

I have many times found it frustrating the the instant search in Outlook is slow and buggy and does not always show what it should. Too bad but Microsoft is not good on search either on the PC or on the web.

I eventually heard about Lookeen in one of the comments on this blog and decided to take a look.

I added my 15 PST files to the index with a total of 4 GB and started the indexing. I did not measure the time for the process but it was much quicker than the Outlook indexing.

Below you can see the toolbar that is added to Outlook after installing Lookeen.

Lookeen toolbar

Features 

  • Lookeen is indeed much quicker to search with than Outlook.
  • I have found that the search result is also much better. I found most of what I search for.
  • I can even search closed PST files and local folders. And Lookeen is able to open the elements you will find in a closed store WITHOUT being forced to open the complete store in Outlook.
  • The search works across mails, attachments, appointments, tasks, notes and contacts.
  • For companies central indexing is supported.

Here are the buttons on the toolbar:

Conversation Button - If you want get an overview of a complete conversation between you and another person (the sender) please mark an e-mail from this person and afterwards click on the  button in the Lookeen toolbar.

Find more Button - If you want to find more e-mails concerning the same subject please mark the e-mail concerned and afterwards click on the button.

Day Button - If you want to find all e-mails from this day, click one the button.

Week Button - If you want to find all e-mails from the last seven days, please click on the button.

Bugs

A complex software without problem does not exist so I found a few with Lookeen too.

I have found some cases where what I search for does not show up even though it should. But it works much better than the Outlook search functionality.

Lookeen isn’t able to search for domains if you use “domain.com” as search string. They’re working on this. You just have to search for “domain” – without .com or anything else. Update. This has been fixed in a coming version I got the chance to try.

I typically want to directly be able to have emails indexed as soon as they are received, created, moved or changed. Unfortunately there’s no on-the-fly indexing possibility with Lookeen. But you’re able to set the automatic indexing e.g. to “every 5 minutes”! You will find this feature in the Lookeen options. It has worked good enough for me even though I would need to have it indexing more quicker.

I have also run into a minor bug when adding local folders to index.

I got this error: “Chosen folder or a parent folder is already included!” and found that if the folder started in a similar way it happened. Like c:\FOLDER1 and c:\FOLDER2. The workaround would for now be to select the top level like C:\ and then unselect those folders you don’t want to index.

Missing

Some things I was missing in the product and wish are added in the future.

I would like to see the Flag Status or Follow Up as a column in the result list. I use flags quite a lot to be able to follow up on emails.

When I open an email in the search list I would like to easily move to the previous or next email but I need to close the email and return to the search result for this. At least it is possible to get a tooltip showing the beginning of an email.

It would also be useful to be able to drag emails from the search result list directly to a folder in Outlook.

I found some nagging message boxes when using “Move to folder” that I hope will be optimized in the future. If I select 10 emails and five of them already are in the correct folder I will get 5 messages about those that cannot be moved. Update. This has been fixed in a coming version I got the chance to try.

Here you can find the query syntax for searching giving you pretty good flexibility to narrow your searches to find what you want.

During my tests I have used Outlook 2007 SP1 and Outlook 2007 SP2 both on Windows Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit). The version of Lookeen I have used is 2.0.1.924.

All in all I have been a happy user of Lookeen and also found the support to be quick to respond to my questions.

Trial of Lookeen is available for free for 14 days.

Disclosure. I received a license for Lookeen and have been using it for a few months now.


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