2020 Top 6 Solutions for "Outlook Search Not Working" Issue

Search tool not working is one of the most common issues Outlook users face and this problem is common across all versions of Outlook since they all operate via Outlook Search Index. Fortunately, there are several ways to solve the issue. Read on to learn about the most effective solutions.

How to Fix Outlook Search Not Working Issue?

1Fix with iMyFone ScanOutlook

One of the best ways to fix Outlook search problem or any other issues related to MS Outlook is to use professional Outlook repair tool like iMyFone ScanOutlook. ScanOutlook has been specially designed to help you repair corrupted PST/OST files as well as quickly fix any other issues that you may be encountering.



  • Help you solve the "Outlook search not working" issue by repairing Outlook data files.

  • Recover permanently deleted outlook items, including emails, messages, calendars, contacts, notes, and more.

  • Two advanced mode enable you to fix any issues related to Microsoft Outlook.

  • Allow you to export the repaired PST & OST in multiple formats: PST, MSG, EML, PDF, HTML, RTF.

  • Fix issues  on all versions of MS Outlook, including the latest Outlook 2019.

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Steps to Fix Outlook Search Not Working Issue

Step 1. Open iMyFone ScanOutlook and select the Outlook data file to fix. (It will automatically locate and show the default Outlook data file)

Step 2. Select the data file and Deep Repair mode, then click on Repair button.

start to repair

Step 3. Once repaired, save the repaied file.

export completed

Step 4. Then launch Outlook, you'll find the search function can work normally now!

2Fix Outlook (Use Programs and Features)

You can fix the 'Outlook search not working' issue via Program and Features. The method is quite straightforward.

Step 1. Open Control Panel on your computer.

Step 2. Navigate to Programs > Programs and Features and then browse the list to find and select Microsoft Office.


Step 3. Now click on the Change option shown at the top menu and then click on Quick Repair.


Step 4. After that, click on the Repair button. The repairing process will begin and the search issue will be fixed once the process is completed. Don't forget to restart the computer once the process is completed.


3Rebuild the Index

Since the problem is related to Outlook Search Index, rebuilding the index could be the way to solve it. Rebuilding the index is an easy task and it doesn't take very long either.

Step 1. In MS Outlook, click on File and then navigate to Options > Search. It will be shown on the left-hand side.

Step 2. Now find and click on Indexing Options. Then click on Advanced > Index Settings.

Step 3. Then start the rebuilding index process by clicking on the Rebuild button.


Keep in mind that your search will not work during the index rebuilding process. So, be patient and wait until the process is complete. The time required to rebuild the index depends on your system as well as the number of files that are required to be indexed. After rebuilding the index, restart your Outlook searches to make the changes effective.

4Checking Outlook Indexing

Outlook searches work efficiently because of the index which is built like a data catalogue. The index combines all the key terms in saved emails, hence allowing you to find the messages you need by simply inputting the search term.

If the Outlook search is not working, then it could be because the settings of the program are incorrect and the information required to run the search has not been collected. To make sure that it is the cause behind the problem, you will need to check the indexing options.

Step 1. Launch MS Outlook on your PC.

Step 2. Navigate to File > Options > Outlook Options.

Step 3. Next, click on Browse or Search option and then find and select the Indexing Options. It will be shown on the right-hand side.

Step 4. Once a window containing all the indexed locations of Outlook is opened, check whether "Microsoft Outlook" is listed. If you cannot find it, click "Change" and then click on the "Indexed Places" option.

Step 5. Next, select the "Microsoft Outlook" box and then confirm your selection by clicking on the OK button.


5Making Changes to the Registry

The 'Outlook search not working' could be caused by incorrect information or errors in the associated registry. If rebuilding the index didn't fix the issue, then it is recommended that you use the registry to force a 'clean up' in order to solve the problem.

Follow these instructions to delete Outlook registry entries:

Step 1. On your computer, launch Run by using Windows + R key on your keyboard.

Step 2. In the textbox, input 'regedit' and then press Enter to launch registry.

Step 3. There, navigate to directory where Outlook registries are located. For example, Outlook 2010 registry directory is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook.

Step 4. Once you locate it, delete the registry and then restart your computer. After that, proceed to uninstall and reinstall Outlook.


6Update Office

Office updates bring new features as well as patch fixes to solve various bugs and issues. So, it is highly recommended that you keep your Office up-to-date.
 Follow these instructions:

Step 1. Launch Outlook on your computer.

Step 2. Navigate to File > Office Account and then look for the Update Options menu. It will be shown under the Product Information section.

Step 3. Once you find it, select Update. If updates are available, follow the on-screen instructions to update Outlook to the latest version.

Step 4. Alternatively, you can also manually install a Microsoft Office update. To do this, you will need to visit the Office Updates download page.



The 'Outlook search not working' can be a really annoying issue. Fortunately, there are solutions available. You can try the above-mentioned solutions one-by-one until the problem is solved. Before you try any of the above solutions, it is recommended that you give iMyFone ScanOutlook a try. This tool can help you fix various Outlook issues in a quick and efficient manner.

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By  Simon Marcus , to Outlook Repair

Updated on Dec 16, 2019

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