How To Fix Outlook 365 Search

Microsoft Office has become a staple in most, if not all, offices around the world. You may be currently using Office 365, which is the newest form of Microsoft Office. For those of you who do not know, Office 365 is a subscription service from Microsoft, which is run over a cloud service. Most plans give you access to all of the Office programs, including Outlook 365.


Having problems with search in Outlook 365? There's an easier way! Learn more here.

Office 365 Compliance Search

The new office 365 search is called compliance search and can be found in the office 365 compliance center. This office 365 search is perfect to search across all of your programs and data, which also includes Outlook data. The newest Office 365 search will allow you to:

  • Search through your Office 365 data without limits
  • Use keyword query language for advanced searches
  • Preview search results
  • Control what can be searched

These new features will help bring your Office 365 searches to a new level. The scale of your searches is limitless and it even allows you to run multiple searches simultaneously. The ability to preview search results will tell you if a search isn’t working properly.


Outlook 365 Search

When you are using Outlook with Office 365, you can search for messages and search for people. Outlook 365 search is a great and helpful tool to find the items or contacts you need. Here’s how to use Outlook 365 Search:

  • Open Outlook and within the navigation bar found in the top-left corner, select the app launcher icon and then go to Mail.
  • Type in what you are looking for in the Search Mail and People
  • As you type, Outlook 365 Search will make some suggestions of what you might be searching for.
  • You can choose one of the suggestions or you can hit enter and it will show you all possible results.
  • When you are done and you would like to clear your search, then choose Discard within the search box of Outlook 365 Search.


Outlook 365 Search in People

You will notice from the steps above that when you start to type in a name in the Search Mail and People search box that the Search People option will automatically come up. When you go into Search People option, you’re given a whole new set of options to work with. You can search for a person, a group, or a resource. NOTE: once you enter the Search People option, the results will be from your contacts or the company’s directory. Here’s how to use this Outlook 365 Search option:

  • Click the App Launcher Icon shown above and then go to People.
  • Now type in the name of the person you are searching for. If searching for a group or resource, then type in the name of those things and press Enter.
  • You can narrow your search by choosing to search in My contacts, Directory, or Groups.
  • You may have more options to narrow down your search results within each folder. You can expand each and check the options.


Office 365 Search Not Working

You have been in this situation before—you’re searching for something in Outlook but nothing shows up. What do you do when Outlook 365 search isn’t working?

Well if your Outlook 365 search is not working it is likely to be an indexing issue, and you will have to correct it for the Outlook 365 search to work properly again. The issue may lie in the fact that when you installed Office 365, you could have lost your Outlook index. If your results come up empty, you will need to rebuild the index.


Rebuilding the Index in Outlook 365

Rebuilding the index in Outlook 365 is necessary in when your search results come up empty. Here’s how to rebuild your index:

  • In Outlook 365 click on the File tab
  • Click on Options and Search
  • Next click on Indexing Options
  • You should now see which locations are being indexed, click on the Advanced button
  • Once the advanced box has opened you will see in the section named Troubleshooting section you have the option to rebuild, click this option
  • Rebuilding will take some time, so make sure to leave your PC running for a while

This won’t be the last time you will need to rebuild the index. When you use Outlook for a long time, Outlook 365 search will eventually run into the same issue. It will most likely be another indexing problem, but following the previous steps will give you a heads up and have Outlook 365 search running properly once again.

Date: 08. Sep 2015
Author: Joana Simoes
Tags: Microsoft Office Office 365 Outlook 365

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  • S

    Lookeen is designed to provide quick and accurate search results, helping users locate files and information across their computer’s storage

    2023-12-1 12:15:48 | SPECTRUM DIGITAL INFOCOM
  • L

    I don’t even see the “options” when I click on the File tab in Outlook.
    It is super frustrating to not be able to search the old emails that I havent had a chance to organize in folders!!

    2023-04-17 03:59:08 | Lubna Khawaja
  • T

    Great. Works for me!!!

    2022-11-5 07:35:51 | Tural
  • C

    I have done this more than once. It shows everything is indexed. I can use a different search (ctrl-shift-F) and find most things but it doesn’t look in attachments as the standard Outlook search will do. This problem just happened earlier this week–not the first time, but previous times rebooting the computer and rebuilding the index resolved it; this time it didn’t. It seems like every time they do an update, something that worked before no longer works, but usually someone reports it and it gets fixed. This has been at least 3 days now.

    2018-01-26 17:16:19 | Chris
    • M

      same thing here. two computers, all of a sudden the search doesn’t work, been about a week now. tried quick repair, online repair, nothing works.

      2018-01-29 01:33:10 | mary
  • L

    seems that the search function isn’t matching on partial strings – I need to search for the entire string in order for it to match. Any ideas why this is happening?

    2017-10-3 19:22:42 | Larry W.
  • H

    very helpful, on time resolution

    2017-07-14 05:34:02 | Harriz
  • C

    This didn’t work for me . I get the little dots moving around and the word “searching” but nothing comes up.

    2017-06-28 02:00:47 | Carol Bradley
  • M

    nope didnt work for me.

    2017-01-11 14:03:07 | M
  • N

    Hey this did not work for me, Instead I have got copies of all my mails again in Outlook.
    Can anyone suggest a proper solution?

    2016-11-23 06:20:43 | Nithya
  • D

    The indexing options button is not highlighted and does not work. How can I fix my index?

    2016-10-6 21:45:13 | Dov Kass
  • P

    Use IBM laptop having issues with Outlook in Office 365. There are about 75 contacts in list but it won’t alphabetize. I add a 1 or 0 at the beginning of name to force it 2 top but doesn’t help. Also some cards have multiple phone numbers and won’t let me edit or update email sddresses. Help.

    2016-08-9 23:17:48 | Penny Gaver
  • A

    Thanks but didn’t work for me.
    any other ideas?

    2016-03-30 23:21:51 | Alan
    • S

      Hi Alan,
      What problem are you facing exactly? The more detail we have, the easier it’ll be to solve it. You could also check the Microsoft help forums:

      2016-04-8 10:50:55 | Siobhan O'Rorke
      • K

        Ever since I upgraded to Office 365 that contains Outlook 2016, I can no longer use “Search” to find various contacts or e-mail messages. When I go through the “rebuild index” advice it shows complete but when I am in the Contacts, Search Tools tab and select “Indexing Status” it shows “27,486 items remaining to be indexed.” How can that be after the “rebuild” process stated it had finished? I am considering going back to the stand alone Outlook I previously purchased (Office 2010) as it works great when I search for any key word across all the platforms (contacts, notes, e-mail, tasks, calendar entries etc.).

        2018-02-14 20:01:03 | Kevin

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