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How to fix issues with Outlook search in macOS

14th January 2020 | posted by David Acland | Tags: , ,

From time to time, you search for emails in Outlook and it doesn’t display the results you’re expecting.  In this article we will describe some of the methods you can use to fix issues with Outlook search in macOS.

Check your search options

When you first click in the search box in Outlook, it defaults to “Current Mailbox”.  This means that it will only search the currently selected email folder.  If the email you are looking for is in a different folder, you won’t see the results.

Click in the search box in the top right, click on the “Search” menu in the top left of the Outlook window and then select “All Emails” to change the setting to all email folders:

all_emails_in_outlook

Tell Spotlight to re-index the Outlook data folder

The second possible issue is a corrupted Spotlight index.  Spotlight, the macOS search feature, creates indexes of the data on the Mac to help speed up searching.  Occasionally, these indexes corrupt, stopping the search from working.  To try a re-index, complete the following steps:

  1. Open System Preferences > Spotlight > Pivacy
    spotlight_search
  2. Click “+” and add the following folder: ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office
  3. Select the same entry in System Preferences and click the “-” button
  4. Close System Preferences

These actions add the Outlook data folder to an exclusion list for searching, removing the index.  Removing the folder from the exclusion list causes Spotlight to re-index the folder, possibly fixing the Outlook search issue.

Turn Spotlight off and on again

It is possible that the Spotlight search feature has crashed.  You can either restart the Mac, or just switch Spotlight off and on again with the following steps:

  1. Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app
  2. Enter
    sudo mdutil -a -i off

    and press return, entering your password when prompted

  3. Enter
    sudo mdutil -a -i on

    and press return

Moof IT offer technical support contracts for organisations in the UK.  If you would like to speak to someone about ongoing help, we can be reached on either 020 3983 4444, or hello@moof-it.co.uk.

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