Outlook for Mac 2019 - Search not working :-(

New Contributor

Hi there

New contributor - I have just upgraded Office 2016 for Mac to Office 2019 for Mac.  The Spotlight Search option in Outlook no longer works - I get no results, even when I am looking at an email, and searching for a word or phrase or sender in that email ... I have downloaded the OfficeSearchRepair.app which is supposed to reindex and fix, but still not working.  I am running macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 - any help appreciated - thank you.

99 Replies

I have the same issue! has this been solved? My IT dept is suggesting I reimage my whole computer which I don't want to do.

Hi there Tonygee - I've had no feedback and no resolution - very disappointing indeed - if you find a solution, please let me know too ...

I have still the same problem with Outlook, my Mac and the new update of Mojave 

I have the same issue after using Time Machine. I got a new Macbook Pro 2019, used Time Machine and on the new Macbook the search doesn't work anymore. Both OS are Mojave .. also tried the OfficeSearchRepair.app but no results so far. This is frustrating ... 


I also deleted the whole email account and added it again but nothing ...

This worked for me (Outlook 2019 search working again) https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/rebuild-spotlight-search-index-on-mac/

Hope you guys have some luck.

@splasch This has been an issue in macOS for years. It seems Microsoft are too busy redesigning their app icons right now, to bother with such trivialities as a non-functioning search.


Fixing this is obviously on the too hard/expensive pile and appears to be staying there, indefinitely.


I personally think they will only start to do something about this when enough people start asking for their money back on the product, as the inability to be able to search emails would easily be construed as making the product not fit for purpose.

@Intergrator  That's for rebuilding Spotlight search indexing on a particular folder, not within Outlook.


Yep - exactly the same happened to me. Bought a new Mac, migrated using TimeMachine, and now Search in Outlook 365 has stopped working. I've tried everything on this page


Nothing works.

This is very frustrating.  If you find out how to fix it I'd be most grateful.  Everything still working on my MacMini no problem.  

This didn't work. I upgraded to 10.14.5 and same problem persists and is even worse. 


MS needs to fix this and FAST!

Hey Everyone,

Please try this as it did work for me.....


You will want to open finder, click Go, then click the "Option" key to find your Library. Then find the "Group Containers" folder, as this contains the Office365 Outlook Libraries. Drag this folder into the "Privacy" area in Spotlight and follow the instructions (basically just an add then remove). Spotlight will start to reindex.

Mine ran pretty fast. I almost immediately started finding emails that were coming up blank just minutes prior.

Good luck!!





Try this any one of the approach mentioned below works for you on your Mac.


Check Whether the Outlook Profile is Stored at the Default Location.


Try to Install all Updates from Microsoft

In this approach, open any of the applications offered by MS Office like Outlook, Word or Excel to troubleshoot “Mac Outlook 2019 search not working” error
From the top menu bar, click the Help menu and select the Check for Updates option.


Re-Index the Hard Drive in Spotlight

  1. Firstly, open the System Preferences and click on Mac Spotlight
  2. From the Search Results tab, make sure to tick Mail Messages option and select the Privacy tab
  3. Also, ensure that the Outlook profile or any one of its parent folder is not added to the Privacy tab
  4. Now, to eliminate the current index, from the desktop drag and drop the hard drive icon into the Spotlight to fix Mac Outlook 2019 search not working error
  5. At last, highlight the hard drive, which you recently added and remove it using the minus button. This will allow the Spotlight to create a new index
  6. Now, wait for some time until the spotlight indexing the drive is completed
    Once the indexing is done, restart the system and try to use the Outlook search to ensure it is working perfectly now.


Execute Outlook 2019 Mac Search Troubleshooter

If the above workarounds did not help you to fix Outlook 2019 Mac search not working issue, then try to run Microsoft Outlook Search Troubleshooter. For that, first you need to close the Outlook 2019 application, which is working on Mac OS and run Outlook Search Repair Troubleshooter. This will allow to fix the issue after which you can find the desired result quickly.


Transfer Messages to New Outlook Folder

  1. Initially, launch Outlook application and create a new folder. For instance, Inbox-New1 in the Outlook profile
  2. Now, select and transfer all the messages to the newly created folder
  3. Once the messages are transferred, move back the emails to the original folder. This will enable Outlook to re-index the emails in order to show the search results
  4. After completing these steps, delete the temporary folder, which was created earlier.

Re-Index the Search Database for Mac Outlook

We all are aware that Mac Outlook uses OS X Spotlight to search the data from the mailbox. If in case the Spotlight index itself is damaged, then a user might encounter an error message i.e., Mac Outlook 2019 search not working. Under such instance, a user must re-index the Mac Outlook 2019 search database. To implement the same, follow the step-by-step process mentioned below,

  1. To begin with, first you need to restart Mac and navigate to Finder>> Applications>> Utilities>> Terminal and type mdimport -L
  2. If you find more than one MS Outlook Spotlight Importer. Mdimporter, then remove the Outlook profile, which is not in use. Also, try to delete it from the trash. Once it is done, restart the Mac machine and execute the first step
  3. Now, without closing the terminal window, launch Outlook and implement the search function. If the searching gives you the relevant results, then the problem is resolved. If not, then follow the below step
    From the terminal, re-index the Outlook database using the below command,


    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
  4. In the above command, the path after -g is the default Outlook path location and the path after -d1 is the default location of your profile. Here, you need to replace these paths with your actual path
    It will take some time for re-indexing. Once it is done restart Outlook.


Delete and Reinstall Office for Mac

  1. Before executing these steps, copy your Outlook profile or Outlook data to any other location
  2. Then, uninstall Office 2016 for Mac and reinstall the same to solve Outlook 2019 Mac search not working error
  3. Now, open Mac Outlook and transfer the copied Outlook data using the Import command
  4. After that, follow the steps of Approach #6 from above so as to reindex the Outlook search database and implement the Outlook search function.


Rebuild Spotlight Index and Troubleshoot Spotlight Permissions

  1. Launch the Terminal from Applications>> Utilities to fix Mac Outlook 2019 search not working issue
  2. Now, press Enter after typing each command as listed below,
     sudo mdutil -i off /
    sudo rm -rf /.Spotlight* sudo rm -rf /.metadata_never_index
  3. Restart the system and also type the below commands in the terminal
    sudo mdutil -i on /
     sudo mdutil -E
  4. Then, wait until the Spotlight reindexes the entire drive. Once the indexing is completed, try to use the MS Outlook search.



Office 365 Admin | O365CloudExperts 


Due to some changes in macOS Mojave, the OutlookSearchRepair tool no longer works in 10.14 and higher. If you are on macOS Mojave (10.14), you can follow the steps below to reindex Spotlight for Outlook for Mac.

  1. Choose Apple menu, then System Preferences, and then Spotlight.

  2. Select the Privacy tab.

  3. In Finder:

    1. On the Go menu, select Go to Folder...

    2. Copy and paste the following location into the "Go to the folder:" dialog box and select Go:

      ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/

  4. Drag the "Main Profile" folder to the Privacy tab. Once added, remove the folder, and Spotlight will re-index the folder.

    You must perform this step for any additional profile folders you have.

See the following article from Apple to learn more: How to rebuild the Spotlight index on your Mac.

I have a few clients with Office 2016 (7/16/2019 release) on Mac Mojave 10.14.5 who still cannot search. These clients find no results when searching in Outlook. I have rebuilt the spotlight index a few times. In addition I have tested the search from within Outlook AND from Mojave. The search box from the OS finds all the e-mails as expected. It's as if the spotlight index is not connecting to Outlook.


Tonight I will try to re-move the account and delete the folder in question then re-add the account. If that doesn't work I will completely wipe Office and all of it's preference files and re-install and rebuild the account.


Anyone else having this problem?

I have the same problem after buying a new Mac and migrating everything across using TimeMachine. Can't search either Contacts or Emails. No help from Microsoft.


I have been having this exact same issue. It showed up after I upgraded to a new MacBook Pro and used a time machine backup to restore. I tried re-indexing outlook, tried rebuilding the Outlook main identity, ensured both Mojave and Outlook were the latest version (running Outlook 2019), and nothing worked. Today I wiped the entire hard drive of the new MacBookPro  and re-installed a fresh version of OSX 10.14.6 as well as a fresh version of Outlook 2019 (version 16.27). I then downloaded mail directly from the Outlook/Exchange server after setting up the accounts and had the same problem, search still not working. So I went and re-indexed the Group Containers folder in library again and still nothing. This is a big problem and I'm at a loss as to how to fix it. 

Same EXACT problem.  Tried everything and still cannot search from the latest version of Outlook 365 on upgraded MacBook Pro running Mojave 10.14.5 


Same problem here - Outlook 365 on Mojave 10.14.5 Macbook Pro. Search via Spotlight finds all Mails, search in Outlook always gives "no results". I hope this problem will get fixed soon!


I just found a fix to this issue on page https://www.repairwin.com/fix-outlook-for-mac-search-not-working-no-results/ 

The TIP in Method 6 worked for me:

Here is an alternative method to re-build the Outlook 2016 Database in MAC:

1.  Go to the following location:

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

2. Move the Outlook.sqlite file to your desktop. (This will force Outlook to detect an issue and to do an auto rebuild).
3. When the Rebuild is completed, open Outlook and perform a search.
4. If the search is working then delete the 'Outlook.sqlite' file from your desktop.

Rebuild took about 1 hour, but now everything works fine.