Troubleshooting Outlook search issues

Choose the scenario that best describes your Outlook search problem:

Outlook search returns no results

When you get no results using Outlook search, follow these steps in the order provided:

  • In Windows 10: Select the Start button, select Settings > Update & Security, and then select Troubleshoot. Find and click Search and Indexing, and click Run the troubleshooter.

  • In Windows 8.1: From Start, search for Settings. In Settings, search for troubleshooting, and select troubleshooting in the search results. Find and run the Search and Indexing troubleshooter.

  • In Windows 7: From Start, select Control Panel, and then select Troubleshooting. Find and run the Search and Indexing troubleshooter.

  1. Start Outlook and click in the Search box.

  2. Select Search Tools > Indexing Status from the Search menu.

  3. When the Indexing Status dialog appears, you should see the following:

    Indexing Status for Outlook search

If Outlook has not finished indexing, note the items remaining to be indexed, wait five minutes, and then check again. If the number of items did not decrease, continue to the next step.

  1. Start Outlook and click in the Search box.

  2. Select Search Tools > Locations to Search from the Search menu.

  3. Ensure all data files/stores listed are selected.

  1. Click the Windows Start menu and click in the Search box.

  2. Type services.msc and press Enter.

  3. Under the Name column, find and double-click Windows Search.

  4. Set the Startup type to Automatic (Delayed Start) if it wasn't already.

  5. If the Service status does not display Running, click the Start button underneath it to start the service.

  1. Exit Outlook.

  2. Open Indexing Options in the Windows control panel.

  3. In the Indexing Options dialog box, make sure that Microsoft Outlook is listed in the Included Locations column.

  4. If Microsoft Outlook is not listed, select Modify, and then click to enable the check box next to Microsoft Outlook.

  5. Select OK, and then select Close.

Follow these steps to make sure that the indexing options are configured correctly:

  1. Exit Outlook.

  2. Open Indexing Options in the Windows control panel.

  3. In the Indexing Options dialog box, select Advanced.

  4. Select the File Types tab.

  5. Scroll down until you find msg in the Extension column and select it.

  6. Make sure that the Index Properties and File Contents option is enabled.

  7. Select OK, and then select Close.

Note: Make sure the Filter Description column shows Office Outlook MSG IFilter. If it doesn't, either the Windows Search service is not working correctly, or Microsoft Outlook could not install the filters correctly. In either case, you should contact Microsoft Support for help with the issue.

  1. Exit Outlook.

  2. Open Indexing Options in the Windows control panel.

  3. In the Indexing Options dialog box, select Modify, select to clear the check box next to Outlook, and then select OK.

  4. In the Indexing Options dialog box, select Advanced.

  5. In the Advanced Options dialog box, select Rebuild.

  6. Select OK, and then select Close.

If indexing finishes without including Outlook data files, contact Microsoft Support to request assistance with Outlook Instant Search.

If indexing does not finish, contact Microsoft Support to request assistance with Windows Desktop Search.

Follow these steps to create a new profile and test search:

  1. In Outlook, select File > Account Settings > Manage Profiles. Or, you can exit Outlook, and open Mail in the Windows control panel.

  2. In the Mail Setup - Outlook dialog box, select Show Profiles, and then select Add in the General tab.

  3. In the Profile Name box, type a name for the new profile, and then select OK.

  4. If prompted, provide account information, such as email address and password, and select Next.

  5. Select Finish. You'll find the new profile name you added listed on the General tab in the Mail dialog box.

  6. Under When starting Microsoft Outlook, use this profile, choose Prompt for a profile to be used and then select OK.

  7. Restart Outlook.

  8. In the drop-down list in the Choose Profile dialog box, choose the new profile name you created and select OK.

  9. Click in the Search box and try your search.

If search works, there may be an issue with your old profile. You may want to make this profile the new default profile and transfer information from your old profile to the new one.

The steps to access the repair tool vary depending on your operating system. Choose from the drop-down list below.

  1. Right-click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and select Apps and Features on the pop-up menu.

    Screenshot of start menu showing Apps and Features
  2. Select the Microsoft Office product you want to repair, and select Modify.

    Note: This will repair the entire Office suite even if it's just one application you want to repair such as Word or Excel. If you have a standalone app installed, then search for that application by name.

  3. Depending if your copy of Office is Click-to-run or MSI-based install, you'll see the following options to proceed with the repair. Follow the steps for your installation type.

    Click-to-run

    In the window How would you like to repair your Office Programs, select Online Repair > Repair to make sure everything gets fixed. (The faster Quick Repair option is also available, but it only detects and then replaces corrupted files.)

    MSI-based

    In Change your installation, select Repair and then click Continue.

  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the repair.

  1. Right-click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and select Control Panel from the pop-up menu.

    Options and commands list see after pressing Windows logo key + X
  2. From Category view, under Programs, select Uninstall a program.

  3. Right-click the Microsoft Office product you want to repair, and from the drop-down, select Change.

    Note: If you have a suite such as Office 365 Home, or Office Home and Student 2013 or 2016, search for the suite name, even if it's just a particular application you want to repair such as Word or Excel. If you have a standalone application such as Word or Excel, search for the application name.

  4. Depending if your copy of Office is Click-to-run or an MSI-based install, do the following for your Office installation type:

    Click-to-Run installation type:

    In How would you like to repair your Office Programs, select Online Repair to make sure everything gets fixed, and then select Repair. (The faster Quick Repair option is also available, but it only detects and then replaces corrupted files.)

    MSI-based installation type:

    In Change your installation, select Repair and then click Continue.

  5. Follow the remaining instructions on the screen to complete the repair.

  1. Click the Start button Windows 7 Start button > Control Panel.

  2. From Category view, under Programs, select Uninstall a program.

  3. Click the Office product you want to repair, and then click Change.

    Note: If you have a suite such as Office 365 Home, or Office Home and Student 2013 or 2016, search for the suite name, even if it's just a particular application you want to repair such as Word or Excel. If you have a standalone application such as Word or Excel, search for the application name.

  4. Depending if your copy of Office is Click-to-run or an MSI-based install, do the following for your Office installation type:

    Click-to-Run installation type:

    In How would you like to repair your Office Programs, select Online Repair to make sure everything gets fixed, and then select Repair. (The faster Quick Repair option is also available, but it only detects and then replaces corrupted files.)

    MSI-based installation type:

    In Change your installation, select Repair and then click Continue.

  5. Follow the remaining instructions on the screen to complete the repair.

  1. Click the button below to download and install the Office uninstall support tool.

    Easy fix download button indicating an automated fix is available
  2. Follow the steps below to download the uninstall support tool according to your browser.

    Tip: The tool may take a few minutes to download and install. After completing the installation, the Uninstall Office products window will open.

    Edge or Internet Explorer

    At the bottom of the browser window, select Run to launch the SetupProd_OffScrub.exe.

    Where to find and open the Support Assitant download file in the Edge or Internet Explorer web browser

    Chrome

    In the lower-lower left corner right-click SetupProd_OffScrub.exe > Open.

    Where to find and open the Support Assitant download file in a Chrome web browser

    Firefox

    In the pop-up window, select Save File.

    Next, from the upper-right of the FireFox browser window, select the downloads arrow and then select SetupProd_OffScrub.exe.

    Where to find and open the Support Assitant download file in a Chrome web browser
  3. Select the version you want to uninstall, and then select Next.

  4. Follow through the remaining screens and when prompted, restart your computer.

    After you restart your computer, the uninstall tool automatically re-opens to complete the final step of the uninstall process. Follow the remaining prompts.

  5. Select the steps for the version of Office you want to install or reinstall. Close the uninstall tool.

    Office 365 | Office 2019 | Office 2016 | Office 2013 | Office 2010 | Office 2007

Note: If these steps don't help, try the advanced steps in this article: No search results for POP, IMAP, or Exchange accounts

Outlook search returns incomplete results

When you get incomplete results using Outlook search, follow these steps in the order provided:

If the missing search results are in the Deleted items folder, you can add this folder to your search results:

  1. Start Outlook.

  2. Click File > Options, and then select Search.

  3. Select the Include messages from the Deleted items folder in each data file when searching in All Items checkbox, and click OK.

  4. Restart Outlook.

You can increase the time in your email account's offline settings so that more or all your emails are cached locally for indexing. To do this:

  1. Start Outlook.

  2. Click File > Account Settings > Account Settings.

  3. On the Email tab, select your email account and click Change.

  4. Drag the Download email for the past: slider to the desired amount of time or to the far right to All.

  5. Click Next, and then Done. Close out the window and restart Outlook.

By default, Outlook will display 250 search results. You can increase this to show all results but search will be slower. To do this:

  1. Open Outlook.

  2. Click File > Options, and then select Search.

  3. Clear the Improve search speed by limiting the number of results shown checkbox, and click OK.

  4. Restart Outlook.

When you search in Outlook using All Mailboxes or All Outlook Items scopes, limited or no results are returned for the Archive Mailbox. You can search for items that were moved to an auto-expanded archive mailbox only by searching the folder itself. Select the archive folder in the folder list to select the Current Folder option as the search scope. If a folder in an auto-expanded storage area contains subfolders, you have to search each subfolder separately. For more information, see Overview of unlimited archiving in Office 365.

Outlook search can't find older emails

When you can't find emails older than 6 months using Outlook search, follow these steps in the order provided:

If the missing search results are in the Deleted items folder, you can add this folder to your search results:

  1. Start Outlook.

  2. Click File > Options, and then select Search.

  3. Select the Include messages from the Deleted items folder in each data file when searching in All Items checkbox, and click OK.

  4. Restart Outlook.

You can increase the time in your email account's offline settings so that more or all your emails are cached locally for indexing. To do this:

  1. Start Outlook.

  2. Click File > Account Settings > Account Settings.

  3. On the Email tab, select your email account and click Change.

  4. Drag the Download email for the past: slider to the desired amount of time or to the far right to All.

  5. Click Next, and then Done. Close out the window and restart Outlook.

By default, Outlook will display 250 search results. You can increase this to show all results but search will be slower. To do this:

  1. Open Outlook.

  2. Click File > Options, and then select Search.

  3. Clear the Improve search speed by limiting the number of results shown checkbox, and click OK.

  4. Restart Outlook.

Search tab is greyed out (Outlook 2016 only)

This can occur after upgrading to Windows 10 Version 1709 and earlier. The issue was fixed in Windows 10 Versions 1803 and later. To fix this issue, follow this step:

The steps to access the repair tool vary depending on your operating system. Choose from the drop-down list below.

  1. Right-click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and select Apps and Features on the pop-up menu.

    Screenshot of start menu showing Apps and Features
  2. Select the Microsoft Office product you want to repair, and select Modify.

    Note: This will repair the entire Office suite even if it's just one application you want to repair such as Word or Excel. If you have a standalone app installed, then search for that application by name.

  3. Depending if your copy of Office is Click-to-run or MSI-based install, you'll see the following options to proceed with the repair. Follow the steps for your installation type.

    Click-to-run

    In the window How would you like to repair your Office Programs, select Online Repair > Repair to make sure everything gets fixed. (The faster Quick Repair option is also available, but it only detects and then replaces corrupted files.)

    MSI-based

    In Change your installation, select Repair and then click Continue.

  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the repair.

  1. Right-click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and select Control Panel from the pop-up menu.

    Options and commands list see after pressing Windows logo key + X
  2. From Category view, under Programs, select Uninstall a program.

  3. Right-click the Microsoft Office product you want to repair, and from the drop-down, select Change.

    Note: If you have a suite such as Office 365 Home, or Office Home and Student 2013 or 2016, search for the suite name, even if it's just a particular application you want to repair such as Word or Excel. If you have a standalone application such as Word or Excel, search for the application name.

  4. Depending if your copy of Office is Click-to-run or an MSI-based install, do the following for your Office installation type:

    Click-to-Run installation type:

    In How would you like to repair your Office Programs, select Online Repair to make sure everything gets fixed, and then select Repair. (The faster Quick Repair option is also available, but it only detects and then replaces corrupted files.)

    MSI-based installation type:

    In Change your installation, select Repair and then click Continue.

  5. Follow the remaining instructions on the screen to complete the repair.

  1. Click the Start button Windows 7 Start button > Control Panel.

  2. From Category view, under Programs, select Uninstall a program.

  3. Click the Office product you want to repair, and then click Change.

    Note: If you have a suite such as Office 365 Home, or Office Home and Student 2013 or 2016, search for the suite name, even if it's just a particular application you want to repair such as Word or Excel. If you have a standalone application such as Word or Excel, search for the application name.

  4. Depending if your copy of Office is Click-to-run or an MSI-based install, do the following for your Office installation type:

    Click-to-Run installation type:

    In How would you like to repair your Office Programs, select Online Repair to make sure everything gets fixed, and then select Repair. (The faster Quick Repair option is also available, but it only detects and then replaces corrupted files.)

    MSI-based installation type:

    In Change your installation, select Repair and then click Continue.

  5. Follow the remaining instructions on the screen to complete the repair.

Shared Mailbox: Problems with search results

If you're not getting expected results from a shared mailbox search or you receive an error, follow one of these steps:

Disable server search as a short-term solution. To do this, follow these steps:

Important: The following steps show you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Please make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, go to How to back up and restore the registry in Windows.

  1. In Windows, right-click Start, and then select Run. In the Open: box type regedit, and then click OK. This will open the registry editor.

  2. In the registry editor dialog box, find this subkey in the registry, and then click it:

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Search

  3. Click Edit > New > DWORD Value.

  4. Type DisableServerAssistedSearch for the name of the DWORD, and then press Enter.

  5. Right-click DisableServerAssistedSearch, and then click Modify.

  6. In the Value data box, type 1 to enable the registry entry, and then click OK.

  7. Close the registry editor, and then restart Windows.

Note: This policy and other important considerations are documented on the search blog.

To search a Shared Mailbox, click the mailbox and use the Current Folder scope. This is a design limit that's currently being worked on for future updates. Go to this Understanding Search Scopes blog for more details about what scopes are supported when.

When you search a shared mailbox added as an additional mailbox you may see this error:

"We're having trouble fetching results from the server. Some items may not be included in your search results."

This will occur if you're using a perpetual volume license (MSI) version of Outlook. This is currently a limitation with perpetual versions of Office. To workaround this issue disable server search.

See Also

Learn to narrow your search criteria for better searches in Outlook

Find a message or item with Instant Search

Get support
Contact us
Expand your Office skills
Explore training

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