Is Your Search Bar Missing in Outlook? Try These Fixes!

The search bar in Outlook is a handy feature that allows you to look for important messages within the application. However, some users have recently been facing an issue where the search bar in Outlook goes missing without any obvious reason. 

There can be a number of reasons behind this issue, such as a temporary glitch within the Outlook application and problematic add-ins that are causing the app to malfunction. Below, we have listed different troubleshooting methods after studying all the possible scenarios regarding this issue.

We recommend that you go through the troubleshooting methods first to identify the cause of the issue in your case. Once you do that, you can proceed with the relevant solution to get rid of the issue for good.

1. Restart Outlook

Before we move on to any complicated troubleshooting methods, we suggest you restart Outlook and see if that makes any difference.

There are times when temporary glitches and corruption errors cause certain features to disable or not work at all. The simplest solution, in this case, is to restart the application. Most of the time, the error will go away simply by doing this. 

In case you have trouble closing the application, follow these steps:

  1. Type Task Manager in the search bar and click Open.
  2. Head over to the Processes tab in the search bar.
  3. You should see a list of applications running on the system at the moment. Look for Outlook and right-click on it.
  4. Choose End task and close the Task Manager window.
    End the Microsoft Outlook’s task

Now, relaunch Outlook and check if you can now view the search bar in Outlook.

If that does not work, move to the next methods below.

2. Add Search Bar Manually

One of the most common reasons behind the issue at hand is the latest Outlook feature, which improves the working of the search bar, but hides it. For the search bar to appear like before, you will now have to manually add it. 

Here is how you can do that:

  1. Launch Outlook and right-click on the Home tab.
  2. Choose Customize the Ribbon from the context menu.
    Choose the Customize the Ribbon option
  3. In the following dialog, expand the dropdown for Choose commands from and select All tabs.
    Choose to view All Tabs
  4. Select Search, and then head over to the second column.
  5. Choose the tab next to which you want to place the Search tab. We are choosing Folder just for demonstration purposes.
  6. Now, click on the Add button to add the Search tab.
    Add the search tab
  7. Click OK to save the changes.

You should now be able to view the Search bar on the ribbon and use it without any problems.

3. Disable Add-ons

If you are using a third-party service with add-ons that can affect the search feature of Outlook, try disabling them. Once the third-party extension is uninstalled, you should be able to use the Outlook feature without any problems.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Launch Outlook and navigate to the File tab.
  2. Choose Options from the left pane.
  3. In the following dialog, choose Add-ins.
  4. Move to the right side of the dialog and click on the Go button.
    Click on the Go button
  5. Now, uncheck the boxes associated with all the extensions listed.
    Disable the extensions
  6. Click on the OK button to save the changes.

Once the extensions are disabled, check if the Outlook search bar is working without any problems.

4. Repair Outlook

Another way to fix problems related to Office apps is by using the built-in repairing tool. This tool is designed by Microsoft to identify the potential issues that might be causing one or more Office apps to act up and fix them.

It offers two repair modes; Quick Repair and Online Repair. Quick Repair attempts to fix the problem without using any internet connection. If this does not fix the issue, then you can use the Online Repair option, which might take a little while to complete.

Here is how you can proceed:

  1. Press the Win + R keys together to open a Run dialog.
  2. Type control in the text field of the dialog and press Enter.
  3. Once you are inside the Control Panel, head over to the Programs section.
  4. Choose Programs and Features.
  5. Your screen should now display a list of installed programs. Locate Office 365 and right-click on it.
  6. Choose Change from the context menu.
    Choose Change from the context menu
  7. In the following window, you will see two options; Online Repair and Quick Repair.
  8. We recommend going with the Quick repair option first. In the event that this does not work, click on Online repair.

  9. quick-repair-online-repair-outlook
    Perform a Quick repair

Once the repairing process is complete, check if the Search bar option is back. You might have to add it manually as we mentioned in the second method above.

5. Run Outlook in Safe Mode

If you are a long-time Windows user, you might be well aware of Safe Mode already. This mode launches any system with only the basic set of features and services, disabling all third-party integrations and add-ins. 

Just like the Windows operating system has a Safe Mode, most of the apps that you use within the system have one too. In this method, we will be running Outlook in Safe Mode to see if the issue still appears there.

If it does not, then that implies that a third-party integration is a culprit. However, if the problem occurs in Safe Mode as well, then you can jump to the next troubleshooting method below.

  1. Press Win + R to open Run.
  2. Type outlook /safe in the text field of Run and hit Enter.
  3. Once Outlook is launched in Safe Mode, check if you can view and use the Search feature here. 

6. Update Outlook

Several users also managed to fix the search bar problem by updating the application. This is because when the program you are using is outdated, there is a chance that some of its features will start getting faulty. 

If you have not updated the application in a while, here is how you can do it:

  1. Launch Outlook and head over to the File tab.
  2. Choose the Office Account option in the next window.
  3. Expand the Update Options dropdown and click on Update Now from the context menu.
    Update the Outlook application
  4. Once the pending updates are installed, check if doing so made any difference.

7. Contact Office Support 

If none of the methods mentioned above work for you, then we suggest contacting the official Office support team and reporting the search bar issue to them. They might be able to identify the exact cause of the issue and then suggest a fix accordingly. 


Zainab Falak

Zainab Falak is a highly educated professional with a background in actuarial science and a strong passion for technology. Her expertise lies in the field of data analytics and she is a proficient programmer in languages such as Python and R. At Appuals, Zainab shares her extensive knowledge of Windows 8, 10, and 11, covering a broad range of topics related to these operating systems. Zainab's ability to effectively communicate technical concepts in a clear and concise manner has earned her recognition and respect in the tech community. She is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and providing readers with insightful and informative content.