How to Troubleshoot “Outlook Search Not Working” Issue – DIY Guide

Written By: Justin  Outlook Error January 19th, 2021

Outlook search helps to scan both email messages and many types of attachments such as phrases or words. For example, if you want to search for a project either with or without quotes. It will show all the messages with the word projects, projector, projects, projecting, etc. are present in the sender name, message body, attachments, or subject. If Outlook data not included in the indexing option dialog box may result in Outlook Search Not Working.

It is necessary to make sure that the indexing option dialog box helps Microsoft Outlook to get listed in the Included location column. It will keep away you from Microsoft Outlook search not working disadvantage. Also, you can Overcome Cannot start Microsoft Outlook Invalid XML Error.

Why is the search function not working in Outlook?

There are some of the reasons due to which the Outlook search function not working.

  • If the Outlook data files corrupted in Outlook 2010 and then also you are using them. The corrupted files may suspend the Outlook search button to work.
  • When you rebuild a PST file, add more mailboxes, or precisely migrate mailboxes. Due to which your mailboxes do not get updated. It will not allow the Outlook search button to work in Outlook 2013 to work.
  • If you have a corrupted PST file, this can result in a search problem with the Outlook search index in Outlook 2016.
  • You may have completely turned off your search button. It may result in the Outlook search button to stop working.
  • When you update from an old version to the latest version 2010,2013,2016. During the updating process, the search option becomes disabled.

These are some of the reasons for the Outlook search button not working in 2010/2013/2016. Also, To overcome these problems, you can refer to below-mention solutions.

Solutions to Fix Outlook Search Not Working in 2010/13/16

For Outlook 2010

Rebuild Index in Outlook 2010

  • You can solve the Outlook 2010 search problem by rebuilding the index.
  • First, you have to access the indexing option directly from Outlook.
  • Select file>option.
  • After that, click on the search section, now select the indexing option
Outlook Search Not Working
  • Once you have opened the indexing option dialog box, select the advanced button.
Outlook Search Not Working
  • Click the rebuild button. So, you can rebuild your index.
Outlook Search Not Working

For Outlook 2013

Step 1. Verify whether Indexing is Working

If you want to verify whether indexing is working in Outlook 2013. You can refer to the below steps.

  • First, you have to click on the Search box.
  • Now, in the search box, select search tool and then press Indexing status.
  • Finally, when the indexing status dialog has come. Now, you will come with the below procedure.
Outlook Search Not Working

Step 2. Now you have to remove Outlook from the window Index.

  • First, you have to go to the File menu and click on Options.
  • Now, in the search setting, click the Indexing option.
  • Press Modify.
  • After that, you have to un-check the Microsoft Outlook from the list of Indexed Locations.
remove Outlook from the window Index
  • At last, you have to close Outlook and check the task manager (ctrl+alt+del). By this, you can check the Outlook process that is not running.

Step 3. After this, make sure that the Outlook file can be indexed.

       Find the location of your OST/PST file.

  • First, you have to go to the File menu and then click on Account settings.
  • Now, click on the Data file tab.
  • After that, select your Outlook file from the list and then click Open.
Outlook file can be indexed
  • Now, right-click on the .pst or .ost and click Properties.  
  • Press the Advanced option.
  • After, make sure that the box next to Allow the files to have content indexed with addition to the files.
  • At last, click on the Ok button. 
Outlook file can be indexed

Step 4. At last, you have to add Outlook to the window index.

For Outlook 2016

Mark Outlook for Indexing

  • If you want to check what you are indexing in Outlook 2016. You can refer to the below steps.
  • First, you have to navigate to the search option by clicking on File>Option>Search.
  • After this, click on the Indexing option>Modify.
Search Function Not Working

Limitation to the above method

  • It limits the number of results displayed to speed up the search results in cached Exchange mode. 
  • The speed up search result is 250 in Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016 whereas 200 in 2010.
  • It is a time-consuming process, and also the searching speed is slow. 

To avoid such limitations, I recommend you for a third party tool to fix the Outlook search not working on 2010/13/16.

Using Cigati Outlook Email Recovery

Outlook Recovery Software

This Outlook Recovery Software may help you to recover all the MS Outlook data with contact, emails, etc. no issue. Outlook PST Recovery tool can save the recovered Outlook emails in different file formats such as EML, MSG, new PST files, and DBX. It helps you to repair the Outlook emails with its attachment. There is no restriction on the PST File size. Also, it helps to recover up to more than 80 GB PST files. 


I have come up with a solution to fix the Outlook search not working in 2010/13/16, tested based on the above methods. In the above procedure, there is a limit to the number of the result displayed to speed up the search results in cached Exchange mode. To overcome this method, I would recommend you to go with an expert solution. Using the recommended tool, you can recover all Outlook emails with its attachment. It also provides an auto search option. By which you can research any email messages from selected PST Files.

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