About Outlook Search not working on Mac

Outlook for Mac search not working is a typical problem that Mac users may sometimes encounter with the Outlook app. Wrong Outlook folder location, special characters in a profile’s name, and incomplete Spotlight indexing are possible causes of the Outlook search not working on Mac.

Outlook is a Microsoft app for email management that has a dedicated macOS version. This is a great app for managing all of your emails from a single place, and its time-management features and real-time email syncing make it particularly desirable to people who have multiple emails that they need to keep track of at all times without wasting any time.

For the most part, the macOS version of the app works just fine, but there are certain bugs that can occur from time to time, and one of them is when the app’s search stops working correctly. When this bug 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 problem, but rather a slight “incompatibility” between the way the app and the macOS system are built. Usually, the cause of this bug/error isn’t anything significant and can be fixed easily. Below are the main possible causes of this problem:

  • 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. It is, therefore, possible that the reason you get the “No Result” error is because 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 simply be enough to wait for some time and allow Spotlight to finish indexing newly-added data. 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.
  • There is an Outlook update that needs to be installed – It’s generally considered good practice to keep all of your software updated to their latest versions. Though it’s relatively unlikely that the “No Results” error is caused by the fact that you are using an older Outlook version, it can still be helpful to see if there are any pending updates and install them.
  • There are special characters in the name of a profile – If the name of your Outlook profile contains special character such as (/), (\), (!), (*), (-), or others, this could be a possible cause for the outlook search feature not working properly and yielding the “No Results” message.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

Fix Outlook Mac search not working

Outlook Mac search not working fix methods are to check the Spotlight Privacy tab, to check your Outlook profile folder name and location, or to update Outlook. An additional Outlook Mac search not working fix is to cause Spotlight to re-index your Outlook profile.

Know that after you perform some of the fixes shown 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.

Related Issues

One of the most frequent examples is the Outlook app for Mac. If you try to close Outlook on your Mac, it’s possible that once the app closes, 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.

1. Check the Privacy tab of Spotlight

As already mentioned, if your Outlook profile is listed there in the Spotlight Privacy tab, chances are that this is the cause of the “No results found” error, because 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.

2. Check your Outlook profile name for the presence of 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 what the exact name of your Outlook profile is and if it contains any special characters (basically any characters that aren’t numbers or letters).
  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 a name that lacks any special characters. After that, restart your Mac and try the Outlook search feature again.

3. Check for and install software updates

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

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

Fix Outlook Mac search not working on Monterey

To fix the Outlook Mac search not working in Monterey problem, we recommend installing the latest Monterey update, 12.1. 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.

Many users that have updated their Macs’ operating systems to macOS Monterey have reported experiencing the “Results not found” problem in Outlook, which may indicate that there’s something about the current version of the latest major macOS release that may be incompatible/in conflict with the programming of Microsoft Outlook, which could be the what’s causing the Outlook search error. This wouldn’t be a surprise, since macOS Monterey got officially released relatively recently, and it may still need some polishing through future patches and updates. This would also mean that the suggested fix methods we’ve shown you above may not work in your current case because what’s triggering the error may be different from what those methods are supposed to fix. If none of the aforementioned potential solutions have helped you with the Outlook search not working issue, here are two additional options you may want to try:

Update macOS Monterey to 12.1

The first released macOS Monterey version is 12.0.1, but recently, a new Monterey update, 12.1, was made available, which added some new features and fixed some problems present in the previous version. If your Mac is currently running on Monterey 12.0.1, we suggest updating to 12.1:

  1. First, go to Apple Menu > About This Mac, and see what the current version of your macOS is.
  2. If your Mac is currently running on macOS Monterey; version 12.0.1, then open the Apple Menu again and select System Preferences.
  3. Click on the Software Update icon.
  4. Install the latest macOS Monterey update – at the moment of writing, that would be macOS Monterey; 12.1.
  5. Once the update is installed, restart your Mac.

Reinstalling Outlook

Some users have reported that the issue persists even in macOS Monterey 12.1, but gets fixed if the Outlook app is reinstalled after deleting the main Outlook profile folder. Make sure to perform the next steps only after updating your macOS Monterey to 12.1 (as shown above).

  1. First, click on Go from the Start Menu, open Go to Folder, copy-paste this line in the search bar ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook, and press Return (Enter).
  2. Open the Outlook 15 Profiles folder and then delete the folder of your (main) Outlook profile.
  3. Next, go to Applications, send the Outlook app to the Trash/Bin, and then empty the Trash/Bin.
  4. After that, go to the App Store, search for Microsoft Outlook, and reinstall the app.
  5. Open Outlook, log into your Outlook account, and see if the problem is fixed.