Outlook Search Not Working (Mac)



OutlookSearchRepair Utility for Mac

The “OutlookSearchRepair Utility” is a tool provided by Microsoft to repair and rebuild the search index for Microsoft Outlook on Windows. This tool is designed to fix common search-related issues, such as search not returning results, slow search performance, or Outlook crashing while searching. It’s important to note that the “OutlookSearchRepairUtility for Mac” is not supported with MacOS Mojave 10.14 and higher versions.

Why search is not working in Outlook Mac?

If you’re having trouble with the Outlook search function on your Mac, there are a few potential reasons. It could be that your folder location is incorrect, your profile’s name contains special characters, or that Spotlight indexing is insufficient. Restarting your Mac is a good first step to troubleshooting the issue.

How do I get Outlook search to work on my Mac?

1. To use Outlook search on your Mac, type your search query (e.g. contact, topic, excerpt from a message, or file name) in the Search box at the top of Outlook for Mac.
2. To exit the search, either select Exit Search in the Search box or choose a folder in the navigation panel.

How do I fix search not working in Outlook?

To rebuild the Outlook search index, open Outlook and select File > Options > Search > Indexing Options > Advanced > Rebuild > OK. The process may take some time, so wait for the progress bar to complete before closing the window.

Outlook Search not working on Mac

Outlook is a Microsoft app for email management that has a dedicated macOS version. For the most part, the Outlook app works just fine, but, sometimes, Mac users may encounter the Outlook search not working on Mac problem. When this occurs, the user is shown a “No Results” message when they try to search for a particular item. In many of those instances, there isn’t even an actual issue, but rather a slight “incompatibility” between the way the app and the macOS system are built.

Usually, the cause of this bug/error can be fixed easily. Below are the main possible causes of this problem:

  • Your Outlook profile is listed in the Privacy tab of Spotlight – if a given item is listed in that tab in the Spotlight settings, this means that Spotlight isn’t allowed to access it, which could explain why you aren’t getting any search results when you search for something in Outlook.
  • There are special characters in the name of a profile – If the name of your Outlook profile contains special characters such as (/), (\), (!), (*), (-), or others, this could be a possible cause for the Outlook search feature not working properly and yielding the “No Results” message.
  • There is an Outlook update that needs to be installed – Though it’s relatively unlikely that the “No Results” error is caused by the fact that you are using an older Outlook version, it won’t harm to check if there are any pending updates and install them.
  • The Outlook profile folder is in the wrong directory – There is a specific directory where the Outlook 15 Profiles folder of the Outlook app needs to be located, and that directory is ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook. If the Outlook 15 Profiles folder is in another location, different issues with the Outlook app may start to occur, including problems with its search feature.
  • Spotlight hasn’t finished indexing your data or has stopped the indexing process – Spotlight is the main search feature of your Mac, and it needs to index any new information so that you can later find it with search words. Therefore, one of the reasons that you get the “No Result” error is that Spotlight is still in the process of indexing newly-added information – for example, if a new profile has recently been added to Outlook. In such cases, it may be enough to just wait for some time and allow Spotlight to finish its indexing. Unfortunately, it’s also possible (though unlikely) that the Spotlight index has been corrupted, in which case you’d need to get Spotlight to re-index all Outlook messages.

Unfortunately, it’s usually not possible to know exactly which of these potential causes is the one that triggers the “No Results” problem in your case. Therefore, figuring out the root of the issue is a matter of trial and error. What we suggest is completing the following potential troubleshooting methods until one of them resolves the problem for you.

Outlook Search Not Working

Know that after you perform some Outlook Search Not Working fix methods outlined below, the search feature in Outlook may not immediately begin to work properly, as Spotlight may need some time before it indexes all data contained in your Outlook profile. Therefore, give it some time after you perform each suggested fix method before you try the next one.

Check the Privacy tab of Spotlight

If your Outlook profile is listed in the Spotlight Privacy tab, Spotlight isn’t allowed to access or index your Outlook profile. Fixing this is very easy:

  1. Open the Apple Menu and go to System Preferences.
  2. There, click the Spotlight icon, and then select Privacy from the top.
  3. If you see that your Outlook profile is listed there, select it and click the minus (-) button that’s below the list to remove it from there. Once this is done, close the Spotlight settings window, restart your Mac, open Outlook, and see if the search problem has been resolved.

Check your Outlook profile name for special characters

If the name of the profile contains any unusual characters, this may lead to problems with the Outlook search feature, so here’s how to resolve this:

  1. Go to the Applications folder on your Mac, find the Outlook icon, and right-click it.
  2. Select the Show Package Contents option from the context menu and then open the Contents folder that shows up.
  3. Next, open the SharedSupport folder and double-click on Outlook Profile Manager.
  4. In the Outlook Profile Manager window, see if your Outlook profile contains any special characters.
  5. If special characters are present in the profile name, open the Go menu from the menu bar, click on Go to Folder, copy-paste the following folder location in it, and hit Enter: ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook.
  6. In the folder that shows up, open Outlook 15 Profiles and then rename the folder of your (main) Outlook profile so that it has no special characters. After that, restart your Mac and try the Outlook search feature again.

Check for and install software updates

It may be a good idea to check for any new Outlook updates that haven’t been installed yet, as there might be something about the version of Outlook that you’re using that triggers this specific error:

  1. Go to Applications and start the App Store app.
  2. Click on Update from the panel to the left.
  3. Check for a pending update for Microsoft Outlook, and if there is, click the Update button next to it. Wait as the update installs and restart the computer. See if the search function in Outlook has been fixed.

Check Outlook Profile Data location

If the location folder of your Outlook profile is in the wrong place, Outlook may be unable to index your data. Here is how to check the Profile folder location and change it to the correct one in case you have to:

  1. Open Finder, click the Go button from the menu bar, and click on Go to Folder.
    Go to Folder
  2. Enter the following folder path ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook and press Return (Enter).
    Go to Outlook Folder
  3. Next, open the Outlook 15 Profiles folder and see if it contains a sub-folder with your profile’s name – the same profile name shown in the Outlook Profile Manager from Method 2.
    Outlook 15 Profiles Folder
  4. If you didn’t see a sub-folder with your profile name in the Outlook 15 Profiles folder, then you need to search your Mac for your profile’s folder and move it to Outlook 15 Profiles.

Manually re-index Outlook database

If nothing from the above-mentioned fixes works, you can use Terminal commands to manually force Outlook to re-index your data:

  1. Go to Applications > Utilities and launch the Terminal app.
  2. Type the following commapd mdimport-L and hit Enter.
    Terminal mdimport command
  3. Check the entries that appear next, looking for ones named Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter or something similar. If you see more than one entry with that name, you’ll have to re-index the Outlook data in the following way.
    terminal outlook entries
  4. Enter the following command in Terminal: mdimport -g “/Applications/Microsoft Outlook.app/Contents/Library/Spotlight/Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter” -d1 “/Users/<user_name>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/<my_profile_name>”.
  5. Make the following changes to the command:
    • Replace <user_name> with your Mac account’s name.
    • Replace <my_profile_name> with your Outlook account’s name.
      terminal outlook re-index command
  6. Execute the command by pressing Enter and wait for the re-indexing to complete. Know that this process may take some time.

Important note: The file path after “-g” in the command is the default Outlook installation folder, and the path after “-d1” is your profile’s default folder. If you’ve installed Outlook in a different location, you must change the path in the command accordingly.

Outlook Mac search not working on Monterey Fix

Many users that have updated their Macs to macOS Monterey have reported experiencing the “No Results” problem in Outlook. This isn’t a surprise, since macOS Monterey got officially released relatively recently, and it may still need some polishing through future patches and updates. But if you want to fixthe Outlook Mac Search Not Working in Monterey problem we recommend installing the latest Monterey update. Another possible fix for the Outlook Mac Search Not Working in Monterey is to uninstall Outlook, delete your Outlook profile folder, and then reinstall Outlook.

Related Issues

One of the most frequent related issues with the Outlook app for Mac is when you try to close Outlook on your Mac, and you see a message on your screen that reads “There was a problem and Microsoft Outlook was closed. We apologize for the inconvenience.” Check our in-depth article here.

34 responses to “Outlook Search Not Working (Mac)”
  1. Tessa Avatar

    Updating to latest version of Monterey is what fixed the issue for me. I had been trying all the other fixes but none of them were working. Life saver. Thank you!

    1. Florence Avatar

      Thanks Tessa, this worked for us too

  2. Joe Shonka Avatar
    Joe Shonka

    I have Monterey 12.4 — ran all suggestions, still no luck.

  3. Tom Avatar

    Now that I’m on Monterey 12.4 and I made sure my Office 365 software was fully up to date, the search feature is working again. Not sure when the change happened, but some time in the last couple of weeks the feature is working again for me.

  4. Derek Avatar

    If I delete the Main Profile folder, how do I restore all my e-mails after I’ve deleted the App and re-installed the new Outlook App? Does the main profile folder not contain all my e-mail data ?

  5. Mary Avatar

    I am using Monterey 12.5 on a Mac M1 Pro with Outlook: 16.63
    I have tried all of hte suggested fixes but the indexing search is still not working in Outlook. Any suggestions appreciated……

  6. Akhilesh Singh Avatar
    Akhilesh Singh

    if Step you have checked all the 3 method above and still search bar is not working then pls. do the following simple steps
    1. open outlook and minimise in the dock
    2. close the MacBook ( close only flap don’t shut down) and leave it overnight, based on your data in MacBook it might take longer.
    it should work on those machine in which data has been migrated from old MacBook.

  7. Sue Avatar

    Thank you!!! I updated from Monterey 12.4 to 12.5.1 and that fixed the problem for me.

  8. Lisa Avatar

    Monterey 12.6 works…

  9. Peter Hsieh Avatar
    Peter Hsieh

    I think I’m facing deeper situation than address above.
    I’m using “Time Machine” to move my outlook and mail from previous MacBook Pro to new one. After booting up new MacBook Pro finding this situation, but

    1. there’s no specical characters in my profile;
    2. The profile is at right place;
    3. There’s only one “Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter ” instance;

    Here’s what I stock…when I issue mdimport -g, it seems not support “-g” option.

    Where did I go wrong?

    thank you,


    1. Peter Hsieh Avatar
      Peter Hsieh

      Ok, I have successfuly issue the commend, but it has been 12 hours. Is that normal?

      1. Peter Hsieh Avatar
        Peter Hsieh

        May I know what’s the outcome after “mdimport -g “/Applications/Microsoft Outlook.app/Contents/Library/Spotlight/Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter” -d1 “/Users//Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/Main Profile”.” was issued?

        Mine showing nothing under “>” for almost 24 hours, is the commend correct?

        thank you,

  10. Michael Avatar

    Rebuilding the search index was the only thing that fixed this for me. I am running Monterey 12.4 and just transferred my system to a new Macbook pro from my older machine. The instructions to rebuild the search index from the command line, listed above and on Microsoft’s help page, no longer work in the latest versions of Mac OS. It seems it hasn’t be supported for years. Apple provides instruction on how to do this in the GUI. Follow this instruction : https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201716
    To get your User/Library folder to show up in the folder finder press the “Command” + “Shift” + “.”

  11. Dan Avatar

    Currently on Monterey 12.6,
    I access outlook through my web browser (Safari) because it allows me to open 3 different email accounts for the same business. Previous I used the App, and every time I needed to access another email account I had to log out, so by opening the browser, plus 2 private windows I get to view all of my work email accounts.

    The problem is, none of the accounts can find emails any longer, and I could reboot the laptop and initially this fixed the issued, but now it has no affect.

    I have followed all of the steps above, both methods 1 and 2, and as a non-techie type, I can assume these are fixes if you use the App to access outlook.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to resolve this issue by accessing outlook through Safari?

    I really do appreciate your assistance.

    1. Anthony Avatar

      Firstly, you don’t have to use the browser vesion. You can easliy access/view several accounts in the App version (I have 14). Go to Preferences in the Outlook menu and select Accounts, then the + symbol bottom left and choose New Account. Add the recommended (check for latest) details of your second account. If not one of the ‘expected’ providers, choose IMAP (don’t choose POP). Repeat for the third account. The 3 inboxes will appear in the sidebar of the main window (it will take a while to download all your existing messages). There is also an option to have a combined inbox (All Accounts).

      I can’t help with the Safari Outlook issue as I have never used it, but it’s likely to be related to the account settings. Make sure you check and use the lates recomended settings. Applies to App as well of course.

  12. Drea Avatar

    I’m currently on 12.6 and I access outlook through my browser. The search in emails stopped working yesterday, however it works fine if I access it through Firefox. I reported this glitch to Apple.

  13. ScottyB Avatar

    FYI, this worked since the -g is discontinued: mdimport -t -d1 “/Applications/Microsoft Outlook.app/Contents/Library/Spotlight/Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter” “/Users//Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/Main Profile”

  14. Chuck0 Avatar

    I think Microsoft needs to take some ownership here. My outlook search works just fine, until it doesn’t. If I close outlook and restart it, search is back to working again. Very frustrating.

    1. Anthony Avatar

      That was my experience until a week or so ago, then it stopped altogether. I have been through all the Spotlight re-indexing and now all my messages are accessible to Spotlight in the Finder but Outlook only displays the last few days (since I finished the re-indexing). I can’t see that anyone else has experieced this!
      I am still using Mojave and Outlook 16.53, so it’s not a Monterey issue.
      I guess I will be trying the Manual re-indexing.

  15. Rda Avatar

    Mac finds my mails in spotlight search but not in outlook app. I am also using macOs Ventura 13.0 and outlook 16.66. I started having this problem 3 weeks ago when I switched from another macbook device (Catalina) to the new one.

    1. Dana Avatar

      same as me – happened when I got a new computer. Were you able to fix?

    2. Kevin Kennedy Avatar
      Kevin Kennedy

      I have exactly same issue and have tried everything. Any resolve?

  16. R Stallings Avatar
    R Stallings

    When I go to “Outlook 15 Profiles”, I have 2 folders. One named “New”, the other “New [Backed up 2022-11-07 09.22.52]. Should I remove both? Will I be able to restore Outlook 365 from the App Store? This is a new MacBook Pro M2 with Office 365. The backup is the restore from time machine. Auto Updates is turned off. Everything worked fine until yesterday. All Office products are up-to-date and running on Monterey 12.5.

  17. Chris Avatar

    I looked at all config issues above and all are OK. I did not delete/reinstall as i don’t want to lose all my archives and folders. I went to Terminal to force a manual indexing but got a “command not found” return.

    I am on Ventura 13.0.1 and Outlook for Mac 16.68 on a 365 subscription. Is there another command for Ventura? see below (Changed PI to xxxx’s)

    xxxx-MacBook-Pro:~ xxxxuserxxxx $ mdimport-L
    -bash: mdimport-L: command not found
    xxx-MacBook-Pro:~ xxxxuserxxx$

    1. Coen Avatar

      The -L has to be in capital and a space between mdimport -L

      I’m stil with the same problem as all of you. I think the problem is with the old version usage of outlook. If I use the new version in Outlook 16.69 the search works, but I don’t like the new version. I prefer the old ons. So the problem isn’t in the indexing but in the software from MS I guess. Anybody else tried this?

      1. Dan Avatar

        Same issue here – old version search doesn’t work – ‘new’ Outlook experience search works but nothing else does!

  18. Vincent Avatar

    HI, I Experience the same problem. Ventura 13,2, Outlook 16.69.1
    Since one week no more search result in #MSOutlook, really disturbing this issue.

  19. Jason Bosket Avatar
    Jason Bosket

    As an Apple consultant, I have been dealing with this issue for some time with many customers. The solution that I’ve found that works best is the following:

    Quit Outlook then go to the following directory inside the users home folder

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

    Find the Outlook.sqlite file and move it to the Desktop. Restart Outlook and select Repair on the pop-up menu

    1. Chuck0 Avatar

      Hey Jason, I tried your fix but it didn’t work for me. When I first open Outlook, search results are complete and pretty instant. After Outlook has been open a few minutes though, the exact same search produces incomplete results (if any) and is much much slower.

    2. Lutz Avatar

      Researched for 2 days. After everything else, I found on the internet forums failed, I came across your comment. Last resort. Worked like a charm. Even my 14 different account settings were untouched and worked after the repair. And over 80000 emails re-indexed! I ran it over night, so took at least 7 hours in my case. Thanks, Jason

    3. Kevin Kennedy Avatar
      Kevin Kennedy

      Thank you!!!!! This worked! and I have tried everything!!!

  20. Lilia Chakarian Avatar
    Lilia Chakarian

    NONE of the options worked, but this:

    1. Mike Weil Avatar
      Mike Weil

      How long did you have to wait after doing this for the search function in Outlook to start working again? Did you need to leave the computer on overnight?

  21. Alexandre Avatar

    Hello, I had the same issue and I fixed it by desinstalling & reinstalling Office 2016 (and a smart reboot maybe).

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