Fix: Outlook for Mac’s Search Not Working

Outlook is a great program for managing your emails from multiple accounts. Outlook also provides a wide range of features that can be useful for overall time management. Overall, Outlook is a great software that is suitable for business people for management of emails. But, despite being very useful, you might encounter some problems while using Outlook for Mac. A very common problem in Outlook for Mac is its search problems. Sometimes, if you try to search for a specific email you will get “No results found” from the search result. This is a problem because it will give you the “No results found” answer even if your email is in the folder. The error comes without any prior warning so you won’t be able to detect or prevent it. This can be a huge problem especially for people with a lot of emails because it would take a lot of time for them to go through all the emails.

The exact reason of this error is still unknown though but there are a couple of things that might cause this problem like corrupt or incomplete spotlight indexing, one of the parent folders being in privacy tab, Outlook profile folder being stored at a wrong place and several others. Since it can happen because of a lot of things, there are multiple methods that you can try to solve this.

So, go through each method listed below and check whether the problem is solved after following each method.

  1. If you recently added a new account or a new profile or imported new data into the Outlook then it might simply be a matter of time. It takes some time to add newly imported data to Spotlight index. So wait until the indexing is complete and then try again.
  2. Make sure that you have all the latest updates of office. The issue is usually solved by updating your Microsoft Office as well. To update, just simply open Microsoft Outlook, select Help and then select Check for updates. It will check and automatically install the updates.
  3. Sometimes the problem might be caused by the Outlook Profile folder being stored at the wrong place. There is a default location where these folders are supposed to be stored. So, checking these places is a good way to check whether the problem is because of wrong destination. This is the default location /Users/<Username>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/
  4. Make sure that there aren’t any special characters in your Outlook Profile’s name because that can create a lot of problems. If there are then go to method 1 to delete and recreate your Outlook Profile.
    However, if you don’t want to delete and recreate your profile, you can go to this location /Users/<Username>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/ and rename your Profile folder without the special characters as well. Don’t forget to replace “<Username>” with your mac username.

Method 1: Remaking Outlook Profile

Sometimes deleting your current Microsoft Outlook profile and recreating the profile solves the problem. The steps for deleting and recreating the Outlook’s profile are given below.

  1. Open your Outlook
  2. Go to Outlook and then Preferences
  3. Select Accounts
  4. Select the account that is having this issue and select the minus (-) symbol
  5. Confirm the action and select delete when it asks for confirmation
  6. Close Outlook once the deleting of account is done
  7. Now go to your Applications folder
  8. Right click Outlook and select Show Package Contents
  9. Now go to Contents and then select ShareSupport
  10. Now open Outlook Profile Manager
  11. Select your main profile, that you are having troubles with, and select the minus (-) symbol to delete it. Confirm any additional prompts
  12. Once it is deleted, select the plus (+) symbol on the bottom left corner to create a new profile
  13. Now, name the profile something other than the Main Profile. It can be your first name or anything. Also, DO NOT include any special characters in the name.
  14. Now open Outlook
  15. Go to Outlook and then Preferences
  16. Select Accounts
  17. Select the plus (+) symbol on the bottom left corner to add the account
  18. Select the type of account you want and proceed

Once you add the account, check the search results once the emails are synced and imported.

Method 2: Moving Message to another Account

This isn’t a solution but more of a workaround but it works for plenty of users. Basically, if you move all of your message, that are having this problem, to another temporary folder within the Outlook and then move them back to their original folder then the search works. This is because it forces the Outlook to re-index them in the search and they start to appear in the search results.

The steps for performing this are given below

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Press and Hold CTRL (Control) key and click on the folder, from the folder list, in which you want to make a new folder. This newly created folder will be used as a temporary folder for your items.
  3. Select New folder and then name it whatever you want. Now press Enter.
  4. Now, Hold down Command key and click the items that you want to select.
  5. Once you are done, click Move in your Home tab
  6. Select Choose Folder
  7. Now type your destination folder’s name. In this case the name of the folder we created above. Once it appears in the result, click it
  8. Select Move
  9. Once your messages are moved, repeat the steps from 4-8 to move your messages back to their original folder

Once you are done, check the search results and it should work fine. If you want to delete the temporary folder that you created then right click the folder, select delete and then confirm any additional prompts.

Method 3: Check Spotlight Privacy Tab

Make sure that you’re Outlook Profile or any of its parent’s folder aren’t in the privacy tab of Spotlight. If your Outlook Profile or any of its parent folder are displayed in the Spotlight privacy tab then Spotlight won’t be able to search. So, remove them from the privacy tab of Spotlight and try again.

To remove your folders from the privacy tab of Spotlight, follow the steps given below

  1. Select Apple Menu
  2. Select Preferences then select Spotlight
  3. Click Privacy tab
  4. Now look for your Outlook’ Profile folder or any of its parents folder in the list
  5. If you find any folder then select it and click the minus (-) symbol on the bottom left to remove it from the privacy tab
  6. Repeat the step for all the folders related to your Outlook’s Profile

Once you are done, quit the system preferences and wait a little bit because it will take some time to re-index the Spotlight. Once the re-indexing is done, check if the search is working again or not.

Method 4: Fix Corrupt Spotlight Index

If nothing else worked then it’s very likely that the Spotlight index may be corrupted. There are some steps that you can take to re-index the Spotlight index which will solve this problem if the problem is caused by the corrupt Spotlight index.

The steps are given below

  1. Restart your Mac just to make sure that the Spotlight index services are running
  2. Press and hold CMD (Command) key and press Space
  3. Type terminal and press Enter
  4. Type mdimport –L and press Enter. Now check if you see more than 1 Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter Delete the Outlook application that you aren’t using. Once you are done, empty it from the Trash, restart your Mac, and go back to step 1.
  5. Now type

mdimport -g “/Applications/Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter” -d1 “/Users/<user_name>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/<my_profile_name>”

On the recent versions of Windows the “-g” doesn’t work anymore, therefore, try the following command if the above one doesn’t work for you and proceed with the steps below:

mdimport -r “/Applications/Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter” -d1 “/Users/<user_name>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/<my_profile_name>”

and press Enter. Don’t forget to replace “<user_name>” and “<my_profile_name>” with your computer’s username and Outlooks profile name (like Main Profile) respectively.

Note: -g means the default install location of Outlook and the address after –d1 is the default path for your profile folder. If you installed your outlook in a custom location then substitute your custom path in place of –g. Or, if you changed the path of your Outlook Profile folder then substitute that path after –d1.

Wait for it to complete because it will take some time to re-index the Spotlight. Once it is done, check the search again.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.