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Outlook for Mac 2019 - Search not working :-(

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splasch
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.

41 Replies
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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.

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

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

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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 ...

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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.
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@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.

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

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@maxmueller_89 

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

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2741535/outlook-for-mac-search-returns-no-results-and-task-...

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.  

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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!

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Hey Everyone,

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

https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/rebuild-spotlight-search-index-on-mac/

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!!
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@splasch 

 

Hey,

 

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.

Regards,

Akshay

Office 365 Admin | O365CloudExperts 

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@splasch 

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.

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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?

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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.
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@Run2win 

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. 

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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 

 

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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!

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@GFisher2019 

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. 

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i've tried this and its worked: OutlookSearchRepair. google it and download the DMG.

 

@splasch 

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@Tonygee I looked at the OutlookSearchRepair tool but the page where this is available for download states that it doesn't work Mojave OS. Have you tried this with Mojave?

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@anneu620 I tried that and it unfortunately did not end up working for me. This was the step I took prior to formatting my MacBook Pro 2019 hard drive, re-installing a fresh version of 10.14.6 Mojave and then re-installing version 16.27 of Office for Mac 2019. 

 

In the interim between posting my original message and today, a small number of messages seem to have indexed, but it represents only a fraction of my Outlook database. 

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@jrstone2000 

 

Working again! OK. So sometime before the 10.14.6 update I noticed that one of my users who wasn't working was partially working. A find of my e-mails within their profile would only find e-mails from the past couple of weeks but not from the past 3-4 years.

 

Today I ran the Office update (16.28). Before the update I preformed a search and only got results back to 7/31/19. I turned off indexing by Adding the Main Profile to the Privacy tab in spotlight. I verified that in fact it was off. I didn't find any messages. After running the update I turned indexing back on by removing the Main Profile folder from the privacy tab in Spotlight. Within 60 seconds I preformed a search and found messages all the way back to 2016.

 

This was not fixed by Apple in 10.14.6. I'm afraid I don't know exactly what fixed it but it is now working. I have another user to test and will see if I can nail down exactly what gets it working.

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@Run2win How do you add your main profile to the privacy tab in spotlight. Are you on a Mac? Spotlight seems to offer only a search option. I don't understand any of this. I'm still on 10.14.5. Should I update? It's infuriating that Microsoft offer services that don't work and then don't offer any support. I'm seriously considering other options.

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@anneu620 Tried the last tip but didn't work for my Outlook 2019 on macOS 10.14.6. Totally no results at all.

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I am considering trying this.  Did you back anything up in advance?  Was anything lost?

Thanks!

@anneu620 

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@mannWAI I reindexed my entire hard drive by dragging the hard drive into the Privacy tab of Spotlight within System Preferences. It would prompt you and ask if you were sure. Click Ok and then click "-" to remove the hard drive to force re-indexing. After waiting for something like half an hour, the indexing was done and I could search my emails again.

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Thanks for the detailed information.  I assume that we should try these in order.  The first is: Re-Intldex the Hard Drive in Spotlight. 

Question: If I drag the profile to privacy, and then click remove the folder, will I lose all of the information in it?  I have been using Outlook for 20 years and have many emails stored on my hard drive, organized, within outlook into various folders.  The entire profile is 50Gb.  I am afraid to proceed until I hear that this will not produce an irreversible loss of data.

Thanks, Sandy

@Akshay_Mane 

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@Akshay_Mane This is a LOT of work for you to expect a user to do to fix a problem that they should not be experiencing in the first place. Would be much better if Microsoft fixed the search, and implemented code to identify if there was a problem and fix it programmatically.

And "Check Whether the Outlook Profile is Stored at the Default Location." is neither helpful or specific. How are we supposed to know where the default location is, and what do we do if it is NOT in the default location?

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@Intergrator , in spite of what another poster said about this being only to rebuild the spotlight index on a drive, it worked for me. Outlook 2019 is searching again. Thanks!

 

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I'm also having the same issue! Why hasn't microsoft come up with a quick fix or update??!!
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@nevilleh 

Thanks! This worked for me!

 

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@nevilleh There is a new Microsoft Outlook update that popped up yesterday, i did the update and went through your steps and i am able to search once again! Thanks!! 

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@splasch 

I have over the last year needed to reinstall my 2016 outlook account on my Macbook air multiple times and/or do repair on the indexing (more than a dozen). It is constantly losing the search function. I have OS-mojave 10.14.6, and conscientiously upgrade OS and outlook sofware whenever prompted. The problem seems to happen not just when there has been an update of OS but of outlook, and then just out of the blue. I have spent multiple hours each time to resolve this. I last reinstalled my outlook account a week ago, and already the indexing has been scrambled. It is not that no emails are found on a search, but just some of them and in no predictable way. It is more damaging than if none could be found under a name, as you end up without current versions of documents or recent correspondence. It is just unconscionable that two of the largest companies in the world with infinite resources at their disposable have failed together to fix for so long a basic incompatibility and instability with Mac OS and outlook. It cant be so very difficult to resolve this. Apple technical support asks me to contact Microsoft support, and Microsoft support always suggests that this is a problem they have not come across before. If a pharma company produced a drug with such unpredictable and negative outcomes, they would be accused of negligence. Microsoft support - please take note and invest some care and attention in resolving this problem, so that Apple users are not continually disadvantaged. Thank you

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@splasch I've been having this issue since I upgraded to Mojave using Outlook 2016. I just solved it thankfully. For some reason, after installing Mojave, the Outlook spotlight importer was no longer registered. Once I re-registered, it is all working perfectly.

 

mdimport -r "/Applications/Microsoft Outlook.app/Contents/Library/Spotlight/Microsoft Outlook Spotlight Importer.mdimporter"/

 

This is the default location for the Outlook mdimporter, adjust for your environment where necessary.

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I solved it quite easy. If you click next to the search glass the menu appears, by default it is set to current map (see icons left), click on the folders (second icon). That did the trick for me. I felt quite stupid that I missed this, I'm sure I'm not the only one ;)

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@aproebers I'm not sure what the problem was that you resolved in this manner, but this didn't work for me. The Search menu offers various folders, and none of them allow me to search all my emails.

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[re]Moving the Outlook.sqlite file also worked for me! Many thanks to @anneu620
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@Intergrator This worked.  Thanks.

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@aproebers  Thanks.  It is that simple.  The Search box lists (and defaults) to on the left: "Current Folder" but on Outlook for Mac 2019, there are also choices for "Subfolders", "Current Mailbox", "All Mail" and "All Items."  Select All Mail or All Items.  (They are grayed out so it isn't obvious).  It works!

 

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