Search function in Outlook is terrible

Copper Contributor

I have a problem with the PA to the CEO. When she searches for emails in his mailbox (which she has full access to), it returns 997 mails. As an example, I chose a folder with 4 emails in it. I typed in the word I was looking for, and hit enter. Outlook reported that no mail could be found, so it searched the entire mailbox. 

I have recreated her profile, and switched off cached exchange mode. When cached exchange mode is switched off, Outlook finds the email. 

I also renamed the outlook folder under c:\user\app data\local\Microsoft\outlook, same problem. 

Searching for the mail in the portal works.

Any suggestions? 

1 Reply


Here are some suggestions to troubleshoot and improve the search functionality for the PA to the CEO:

  1. Rebuild the Search Index:
    • Close Outlook.
    • Go to Control Panel > Indexing Options (or use the Windows search bar to find it).
    • Click on "Modify" and ensure that Microsoft Outlook is selected for indexing.
    • Click on "Advanced" and then the "Rebuild" button to rebuild the search index.
    • This process may take some time, so be patient. Once it is done, restart your computer and open Outlook to check if the search issue is resolved.
  2. Check the Outlook Search Options:
    • In Outlook, go to File > Options.
    • In the Outlook Options window, click on the "Search" tab.
    • Make sure the "Include results only from" option is set to "Current Mailbox."
    • Also, ensure that "Improve search speed by limiting the number of results shown" is unchecked.
  3. Use Advanced Search Queries:
    • Encourage the PA to use more specific search terms and advanced search operators to narrow down search results. For example, using quotation marks to search for an exact phrase: "search term".
    • Teach her how to use keywords along with other search operators like "from:", "to:", "subject:", "received:", etc., to refine search results.
  4. Update Outlook:
    • Ensure that Outlook is up to date with the latest updates and patches. Sometimes, Microsoft releases updates that address search issues.
  5. Check for Add-Ins:
    • Third-party add-ins in Outlook can sometimes interfere with search functionality. Disable any unnecessary or suspicious add-ins and see if it improves search performance.
  6. Check for PST Files:
    • Ensure there are no PST files added to Outlook that are causing search issues. PST files are not indexed by default, and they can slow down searches.
  7. Check Exchange Server Configuration:
    • Ensure that the Exchange server is configured correctly and up to date. If there are issues on the server side, it can affect Outlook's search functionality.
  8. Check Windows Updates:
    • Ensure that Windows itself is up to date with the latest updates and patches. Sometimes, Windows updates can impact Outlook's performance.


By following these steps, you should be able to troubleshoot and resolve the search issue in Outlook and improve the PA's experience with email searches. The text and steps were edited with the help of various AI’s.


My answers are voluntary and without guarantee!


Hope this will help you.

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