Outlook for Windows

If your search function isn't finding any of your messages or only recent messages in the last two weeks, you may need to rebuild the search index. You may also receive a message 'Instant search encountered a problem while trying to display search results. Modifying your query may resolve this problem' or 'Outlook cannot perform your search.'

  1. Choose File Options Search
  2. In the 'Change the Outlook stores indexed by Windows Search', click Indexing Options
  3. Select Advanced.
  4. In the Troubleshooting section, select Rebuild.
  5. Select Close when finished.
  6. Click OK to close out of options.

The indexing for email search in Outlook stopped working reliably after Mohave release. Although I did get a consolation prize of six more months of O365.

This Microsoft support article has more detailed information on search issues and troubleshooting tips -

Outlook for Mac

In Microsoft Outlook 2016 for Mac or Office for Mac 2011, you receive a 'No Results' message when you try to search for an email message or apply a filter to a folder, and task items are not displayed in the Tasks folder. Additionally, when you search for mail items by using the Mac OS native Spotlight Search, your search is unsuccessful.

This Microsoft support article has more detailed information Outlook for Mac search returns 'No Results,' and task items are not displayed

Summary :

Is your Outlook search not working? If yes, then do you know how to deal with it? If you don’t know, then you should read this post from MiniTool carefully. This post offers you multiple useful methods.

When you use the Outlook application, you may meet some problems related to it, such as Outlook won’t open and Outlook couldn’t complete your search. And this post focuses on the Outlook search not working error on Windows 10, so you can try the methods mentioned in this post to get rid of the error.

Method 1: Rebuild the Outlook Index

The first method you can try to fix the Outlook search not working error is to rebuild the Outlook Index, and there are two ways to do that:

1.Use Programs and Features

You can try to use Programs and Features to rebuild the Outlook index. Here is a quick guide:

Step 1: Type control panel in the Search bar and then click the best match to open the Control Panel.

Step 2: Set View by: Large icons and then select Programs and Features.

Step 3: Right-click Outlook 2016 or Microsoft Office (your version) to choose Change.

Step 4: Now choose Quick Repair or Online Repair, and then click Repair.

Also, it has a duplex component, which can print on both sides of the pages.In terms of the rated local AC voltage, the supported range is between 200 and 240 volts at 50/60 Hz. Sharp

Step 5: Wait for the process to complete and then restart your computer to check if the Outlook 2016 search not working error is fixed.

2. Use the Outlook Index Repair Menu Option

You can also use the Outlook index repair menu option to rebuild the Outlook index. Here is the tutorial:

Step 1: Open the Outlook application and then click File > Options > Search.

Step 2: Click Indexing Options… and then click Advanced.

Step 3: Click Rebuild and then click OK. Wait for the process to complete and then reboot your computer to check if the Outlook not working error is fixed.

Method 2: Check the Outlook Index Locations

You can check the Outlook index locations to fix the search not working in Outlook error.

Step 1: Open Outlook and go to File > Options > Search > Indexing Options.

Step 2: Click Modify in the Indexing Options window. Make sure you have checked the box next to Microsoft Outlook, then click OK.

Step 3: Reboot your computer to check if the error is gone.

Method 3: Fix the Outlook Search Using the Registry Editor

You can use the Registry Editor to repair the Outlook search. Here is the way:

Step 1: Press the Win + R keys at the same time to open the Run box.

Step 2: Type regedit in the box and then click OK to open the Registry Editor.

Step 3: Navigate to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindows Search.

Step 4: Once found, right-click any empty space in the right-hand panel to choose New Dword (32-bit). Name the new Dword PreventIndexingOutlook and set its value data to 0. Click OK.

Step 5: Restart your computer to check if the Outlook search not working error is fixed.

Method 4: Update Microsoft Office 2016

You may meet the Outlook search not working error because your Microsoft Office 2016 is out of date. So it is highly recommended to update your Microsoft Office 2016. Follow the instructions below:


Step 1: Open Outlook and then go to File > Office Account (just Account for other Office programs).

Step 2: Check under Product Information for the Update Options drop-down menu. Then choose Update Now if available and let the process complete.

  • You may only see an Aboutbutton when you are in the following situations:
  • You are running a volume license issued by your workplace or similar.
  • You have made changes to your system Group Policy.
  • Your workplace or similar is using a Group Policy to stop manual updates.
  • Someone else has installed a pirate version of Office on your system.

You can also manually install a Microsoft Office update via their Office Updates download page.

Method 5: Repair Your Outlook Personal Folder File (.PST)

If your Outlook personal folder file is corrupted, then you can meet the Outlook search not working error. But luckily, you can also use the Inbox Repair tool to repair your Outlook personal folder file (.PST).

Step 1: Find the repair tool. Its location varies from different Outlook versions. You can find the SCANPST.EXE in one of the following locations:

  • 32-bit Office 2016: C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice16
  • 64-bit Office 2016: C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice16
  • 64-bit Outlook 2016: C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice16
  • Office 365 (2016 package): C:Program FilesMicrosoft Officerootoffice16
  • 32-bit Office 2013:C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice15
  • 64-bit Office 2013:C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice15
  • 64-bit Outlook 2013:C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice15
  • Office 365 (2013 package):C:Program FilesMicrosoft Officerootoffice15

Step 2: Right-click SCANPST.EXE to choose Run as administrator. Click Browse…, then copy and paste your personal folder file location into the address bar. Select the relevant account, Click Open and Start.

Step 3: Restart your computer to check if the error is fixed.

Method 6: Check the Outlook Indexing Group Policy Setting

When the Outlook search not working error appears, you can try to check the Outlook indexing Group Policy setting.

Step 1: Type gpedit in the Search bar and choose the best match.

Step 2: Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Search. Check Default excluded paths and Prevent indexing certain paths for alterations regarding Microsoft Outlook.

If the policy state is set to Not configured, then this isn’t where your Outlook search problems stem from.

Method 7: Reinstall Outlook

The last method you can try is to reinstall Outlook. Although this method is time-consuming, you can easily fix many problems related to it.

There’s a helpful tool to assist you to recover deleted Outlook files after you realized your mistake – deleting OST file.

Bottom Line

To sum up, you can easily fix the Outlook search not working error by taking the methods mentioned above. So if you are still struggling with the problem, try the methods.