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Many Outlook users are coming across a strange issue, where the feature of instant search no longer works. Hence, they are finding it quite difficult to search for any specific term or documents on Outlook due to this error. 

So, if you also notice that the Mac Outlook search not working anymore, it’s time to try some technical fixes. 

But, in order to resolve the error and re-enabling the Search feature, you need to understand why Outlook is showing this issue. So, keep reading this article to know more about this problem while searching on Outlook’s instant search tool. 

You can also go through this article to learn the fixes that can be applied when the search results are not producing the correct outcome. 

What Can you Do When Mac Outlook Search not Working on Your Device?

It is a very common problem that the search feature may stop responding while accessing your Outlook profile. So, when you try to find a specific email or valuable document from your Outlook, it will display ‘No results found’. 

This is a clear indication that you are experiencing the problem of Outlook search not working. 

So, if you come across this error, the instant search will not function properly on Outlook. Even if your inbox contains all the emails, your search results will not show them due to this Outlook issue. 

Hence, in order to resolve this problem in Outlook, go through the list of causes for stopping the search feature. 

Possible Causes that can Stop Spotlight Index to Work on Outlook:

The following points can help in understanding the causes that can prevent Outlook search to function properly. 

  • As the accurate reason behind this problem is still unknown to the Outlook experts. But, according to some professionals, this error can occur when the privacy mode is enabled for your Outlook account. 
  • Also, any missing files or incomplete installation of Microsoft Outlook can also result in Outlook 2016 Mac search not working problem. 
  • On some Mac devices, storing the Outlook folder in the wrong location can disable the feature of the search box. This error can also hit your Outlook account if the system files or Spotlight index is corrupted somehow. 
  • Whenever any user migrates from an old to a new account on Outlook, importing the data takes time. Hence, if the files aren’t imported to your new Spotlight index, you can see the error ‘No results found’. 
  • If you haven’t applied the updates for Microsoft products for a long time, it can affect the Outlook app. Otherwise, installing a buggy update or third-party software can corrupt your Outlook folder.
  • While searching for the items on Outlook, if you have entered any incorrect details, you can experience this error. So, look if you are typing the exact words or phrases in the instant search box to avoid this problem. 

List of Solutions to Make Your Outlook Search Work Again

If you want to fix the problem with your Outlook’s search feature, you can try a few technical hacks. So, let’s take a look at some of the common solutions that experts can apply when Mac Outlook search not working.

Solution 1- Examine Privacy Tab for Spotlight Index

When the search result is not returning the emails or files that are already present in your Outlook, try this fix. So, if you are observing this error on a shared Mac-based system, someone else may have enabled the privacy feature. 

Hence, you can check the settings for the Spotlight Privacy tab on Outlook to resolve this problem. You simply have to access the section of Spotlight and delete the folders present within the privacy tab. 

So, click on the Apple menu on your Mac-based device and go to the section of ‘Preferences’. After that, choose the option of ‘Spotlight’ and check the tab of ‘privacy’. 

Next, view your user profile on Outlook or you can access the list to locate any of its parent folders. In case, you see any folder in this section, find the sign of minus (-) at the bottom-left and hit it. This will remove the selected folder from the privacy tab. 

Hence,  you can erase other folders associated with Outlook using these steps and re-index the Spotlight. Hopefully, after applying the above steps, Mac Outlook search will work normally. 

Solution 2- Delete Current Profile and Re-create Outlook Account

Many times, deleting the active Outlook profile and remaking it helps to enable the search tab. Hence, you can recreate your profile after removing your previous account on Outlook. 

Steps to Remove Outlook Account

To try this method, launch Outlook on your PC and go to the ‘Preferences’ section. Now, click on the tab of ‘Accounts’ and choose your Outlook account that is giving this error. 

After this, click on ‘Yes’ or ‘OK’ button for confirming this action and hit the tab of ‘Delete’. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to remove your Outlook account.

Next, click on the folder of ‘Applications’ and find the tab of ‘Outlook’. So, right-click on your Outlook and choose the option of ‘Show Package Contents’. Now, navigate to the ‘Contents’ section and click on ‘ShareSupport’. 

After that, launch the Outlook Profile Manager and select your main Outlook account. So, click on the negative (-) sign to delete the profile and confirm the action on additional message popups. 

Steps to Create a New Outlook Profile

Once, your old account on Outlook gets deleted, hit the positive (+) sign on the bottom-left corner of the window. Then, assign a new name to this account but, don’t select ‘Main Profile’. 

Also, make sure that your new Outlook profile name doesn’t contain any special characters at all.

After creating the account, launch Outlook and then go to the section of ‘Preferences’, Then click on ‘Accounts’ and add your profile by hitting the plus (+) sign on the bottom-left corner of the window. 


If you have tried the steps discussed in this article but, Mac Outlook search not working, try some advanced solutions. It may be the case that the Spotlight Index is corrupted somehow and hence, you need to repair it. 

According to some Outlook professionals, this issue can be fixed by executing certain commands on Command Prompt. Hence, if you are not a tech-savvy person, don’t try to experiment with the commands to fix this Outlook error. 

Simply, get in touch with a technician and ask him/her how to resume working with the search feature.  

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