How To Fix Outlook 2016 Search Issues

Last Updated on April 14, 2020 by Next Century

One of the most common issues that occur with most Outlook clients is the search tool not working as it should. Microsoft Outlook Search not working is an issue that is common across all versions because all of them have the same base on how it functions, and that is the Outlook Search Index. There’s no need to worry though, there are things that will help you get your Outlook 2016 search up and running again.

Outlook 2016 Search Index

Outlook search is arguably one of the most important tools on an email client. When it stops working, it can seriously affect your ability to quickly navigate through your emails. There are various degrees of malfunction you may have to contend with dealing with the Outlook Search Index: it can completely stop working and give you zero results; it may show results up to a certain date; or the Outlook Search Index will tell you that there are items that are still waiting to be indexed. These issues could have many different roots, and can be fixed by doing different things.  Here are some solutions below:

Outlook Marked for Indexing?

When dealing with Microsoft Outlook Search not working, it is important to just keep calm and follow the steps provided here. If your search shows no results, one thing that could be happening is that your Outlook data file is not actually checked off for indexing. It is important to have the Outlook Search Index working correctly, as it can send the entire email client into a spiral of malfunction.It is quite easy in Outlook 2016 to check if your mailbox is being indexed. To check what you’re indexing in Outlook 2016 just follow this specific path:

  • Navigate to the search options by selecting File Options > Search and then select Indexing Options

  • Under Indexing Options, select Microsoft Outlook and then select Modify

  • This is where you can make sure that Outlook has been selected for indexing and Microsoft Outlook should be ticked.  Deselect the check box next to Microsoft Outlook and then select OK

  • Close Outlook for a couple of minutes or even better, restart your computer.  Then repeat step 1 to 3 but this time, re-select the check box next to Microsoft Outlook and then select OK

Possible Pst File Corruption?

There could be a corrupted pst-file that’s causing the search problems with the Outlook Search Index.

Please refer to the article, How to check Outlook PST file for corruption with ScanPST

Rebuild the Index

If nothing else works, you may need to rebuild your index. This is easy to do, it just may take some time. All you need to do is follow these steps to rebuild your Outlook 2016 search index:

  • Click on File > Options > Search > Indexing Options

  • Select Advanced

  • In the tab that says Index Settings select Rebuild under Troubleshooting

    Note: When the index is being rebuilt, your search will not work. You should wait until the index is done rebuilding. The time it will take for the index to be rebuilt depends on the system you are using, the amount of files that need to be indexed, and file size.  This can take hours and you do need to make sure you computer stays on during this time and does not go in to sleep mode!

    When your index has finished rebuilding, you can go ahead and restart your Outlook searches. This should have fixed your Outlook 2016 search problems.

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