Outlook is a Microsoft application for managing emails. It has a full-fledged macOS version and allows users to manage their emails from a centralized place easily. Although the macOS version of Outlook works well most of the time, certain bugs can arise from time to time. Users have reported Outlook search not working Mac at various points in time. When this bug appears, you will see a ‘No Results‘ message when searching for a specific item.

This problem can result from various factors like incorrect Outlook folder location, special characters in the profile’s name, and partial Spotlight indexing. In this guide, you’ll find comprehensive instructions on resolving this Outlook email problem.


Possible Causes Behind Outlook Search Not Working Mac 

To successfully tackle this problem, you should find the exact cause for it. The most common reasons are explained in detail below to help you understand this problem correctly.

  • Incorrect Outlook profile folder location – In case you use Microsoft Outlook 2016 for Mac or newer versions, the correct path of the ‘Outlook 15 Profiles‘ folder is `/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook. This folder contains profile information. If it’s kept in another location, you may complain of Mac Outlook search not working.
  • The profile name contains special characters – An Outlook profile containing special characters like a forward slash (/), an asterisk (*), ampersand (&), an exclamation mark (!), backslash (\), or a hyphen (-) will likely not get found in Outlook search.
  • The Outlook profile is listed in the ‘Privacy‘ tab of Spotlight. The Spotlight functionality in Mac is obstructed from searching that location.
  • A halt in Spotlight indexing – It leads to a few emails slipping away when you perform a search. A probable cause is that if you have just added a new profile to Outlook, Spotlight hasn’t indexed your data.


Troubleshoot Outlook for Mac Search Not Working

There are multiple methods to troubleshoot this problem. These methods are carried out to rectify the reasons described above. Note that after you execute some of these measures given below, the search feature may not instantly work as it should. It’s because the Spotlight requires some time until it indexes all data in your Outlook profile.


Inspect the privacy tab of Spotlight

You already know that if your Outlook profile is there in the ‘Spotlight Privacy‘ tab, it can result in this error. Fixing this involves checking Spotlight’s ‘Privacy‘ tab. Follow these stepwise instructions.

  • Navigate to ‘System Preferences‘ after opening the Apple Menu.
  • Once you are there, tap the ‘Spotlight‘ icon. After that, choose ‘Privacy’ from the top.
  • If you find your Outlook profile listed, choose it and tap the ‘Minus (-)‘ button. It is below the list. It will remove your Outlook profile from there.
  • Now close the Spotlight settings window and restart your Mac.
  • Launch Outlook and see if Outlook search is working.


Eliminate all special characters from the name of your Outlook profile

Users commonly encounter their Outlook not working on Mac when their profile name has any unique character or characters in it. To inspect and eliminate special characters from the profile name, you must first find Outlook Profile Manager. Follow these steps to find and remove special characters from the profile name.

  • Launch the Finder app and locate the Microsoft Outlook app inside the folder of ‘Applications.’
  • When you find the Outlook app, right-tap on it and choose the option of ‘Show Package Contents.’
  • You will see the folder of ‘Contents‘ on your screen. Double-tap on this folder to navigate to the next screen.
  • Next, double-tap on the folder of ‘SharedSupport.’
  • In the subsequent screen, launch the ‘Outlook Profile Manager‘ application.
  • Inside the Outlook Profile Manager, you’ll view the list of profiles that you have loaded on the MS Outlook application.
  • Here you can check whether your current profile has special characters under the section of ‘Profile Name.’
  • For editing this name and eliminate every special character from it, hit the Enter key.
  • Next, input the name you wish to set for this profile by eliminating the special characters.
  • Hit Enter to confirm the modifications you’ve made.
  • When you are finished, exit the Outlook Profile Manager and see whether the Outlook search is working or not.


Repair the Outlook database

Sometimes forcing Outlook to repair the database can also help resolve this problem. Follow these points to fix Outlook Mac search not working by repairing the database.

  • Quit Outlook and navigate to the ‘Finder.’
  • Tap the ‘Go‘ menu and then ‘Go to Folder.’
  • Enter the folder’s pathname that is given below.

~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/Main Profile/Data

  • Find the ‘Outlook.sqllit file. Shift it to your desktop.
  • Open Outlook. You will find that it says ‘Something’s wrong with the Outlook database. Please repair to fix the problem.
  • Tap’ Repair.’
  • If your issue gets fixed, delete Outlook. sqllit file. Otherwise, you can restore the file.


Update the Outlook application

The search function in Outlook can malfunction because of a bug in the existing version of the application. You can fix these bugs by installing new updates to the Outlook application. To find new updates, follow these series of steps.

  • Navigate to ‘Outlook‘ and go to ‘Help.’
  • Once there, tap Check for Updates from the menu bar present at the top.

Alternatively, if you installed the Outlook application from the App Store, open it and head over to the ‘Updates‘ tab. You can check for new versions of your Outlook app from there.


Delete and add your MS Outlook profile again

If any of the methods above does not work out, you can try deleting and re-adding your MS Outlook profile to fix the issue. Follow these steps to fix the Outlook search not working Mac problem.

  • In the Finder bar, expand the Outlook menu and choose ‘Preferences.’
  • Choose ‘Accounts‘ on the ‘Outlook Preferences‘ screen.
  • Choose the account you are facing problems with and tap the minus sign on the screen’s bottom-left.
  • Confirm this removal.
  • Navigate to ‘Contents‘ and from there to ‘SharedSupport‘ and finally to ‘Outlook Profile Manager.’
  • Choose your current profile and tap minus symbol for deleting it.
  • After you have removed the profile, tap the plus sign for adding another one. Give it a different name, and ensure that you don’t put any special characters.
  • Launch the Outlook app and navigate to ‘Preferences.’ From there, go to ‘Accounts.’
  • Tap the plus sign and choose ‘New Account.’
  • Input your email address and adhere to the prompts onscreen to create your Outlook profile again.


Final Words

Hopefully, these fixes will come in handy whenever you find ‘Outlook search not working Mac.’ Go through these instructions and follow them carefully. But if you still face issues or have any queries, seek expert Outlook customer service. The Outlook technical experts will resolve all problems you may encounter while working with this application.


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