How to Fix Outlook 2016 Search Problems?

Sometimes, users find it difficult to understand and execute Outlook Search with each updated version of the application. If you just upgraded your desktop email client to the latest version, you also might be facing ‘MS Outlook 2016 Search not working’ issues.

Since Outlook is a most popular email client being used to send and receive bulk emails in a significant number of organizations as well as a personal level; it must be maintained and upgraded on a regular basis.

Note: If you find that problem is related to damage in MS Outlook PST database file then, try PST Repair Software to make Outlook error-free and to fix “outlook 2016 search not working” Problems.

In some cases, the Search algorithm integrated into MS Outlook does not work appropriately as desired. If this is the case, all you need to do is just stay calm and try some resolution methods to fix Outlook 2016 instant search not working error.

When Outlook Search Shows ‘No Results Found’ Status

Undoubtedly, ‘Search’ is one of the significant features the application offers. It not only helps to perform a particular search following a defined criterion but also helps to navigate through emails and other mailbox components quite efficiently. The search algorithm might incorporate different kinds of malfunctions such as entirely improper outputs or no/ blank results.

fix outlook 2016 search problems

When the tool stops functioning properly; it would either display search results up to a particular date or it will show that there are items based on search criteria waiting to be indexed in the output panel. In this case, there could be an error or issue with Windows Indexing services.

There could be many problems in Outlook 2016 responsible for Outlook 2016 instant search not working issue and so are the solutions.

Reasons for ‘Outlook 2016 Search Not Working’ Problem “When Outlook Search Shows ‘No Results Found’ Status”:

Outlook Marked for Indexing

    • Outlook’s Search result comes out blank because the Search feature stopped working. There is a possibility that Outlook may not be able to check its data files for indexing. However, Outlook 2016 provides an easy way to analyze whether the mailbox is indexed or not. You can do this by executing the following steps:
    • i. Open Outlook 2016, click ‘File’ menu, then ‘Options’ and ‘Search’ button
  • Or
  • ii. Go to Control Panelii. Click ‘Indexing Options’ and then select ‘Modify’ tab
    iii. In ‘Indexed Locations’ window, verify if the Outlook data file is indexed
    iv. Alternatively, you can select the option to index Outlook completely, or quit the indexing option, if desired

fix outlook 2016 search problems

Note: The previous versions of Outlook do not allow selecting OST or PST file to Index, whereas in Outlook 2016, you can choose to index the application itself.

While checking if the Outlook emails are indexed or not, you must also disable and then enable the application from the ‘Indexing Options’ window. Deselect Outlook by checking the checkbox and close the application. Wait for 5 minutes and then open ‘Task Manager.’ Check if Outlook.exe is still running in ‘Processes’ tab. Next, go back to select Outlook for indexing.

OST/ PST Corruption

Corruption could be a possible reason behind the malfunctioning of the instant Search not showing recent emails feature. Analyze the file and repair it using the ScanPST.exe tool. This is the popular ‘Inbox Repair Tool’ integrated with all the versions of MS Outlook email client. In File Explorer window, open ‘This PC’ and then type ‘ScanPST.exe’ in the Search box. Running this tool will repair any existing damaged or corrupted OST as well as PST on the system.

How to fix the ‘Outlook 2016 Search Not Working’ Problem
  1. Rebuild Outlook Index

The step-by-step procedure to rebuild the Outlook Search Index is:

i. Open Outlook 2016, Click the ‘File’ menu, select ‘Options’ and then choose ‘Search’ that is available on the left side of the window.
Open ‘Control Panel’ on your Windows PC
ii. Click the ‘Indexing Options’ button and then ‘Advanced’
iii. In the ‘Advanced Options’ window, select ‘Index Settings’ tab and click the ‘Rebuild’ button
Note: A ‘Rebuild Index’ dialog box opens displaying the message that the ‘index might take a long time to complete.’
iv. Click OK to start rebuilding the index.
v. Restart Outlook to check ‘Search’ functionality, after the process to rebuild indexes completes

fix outlook 2016 search problems


Note: Index Rebuilding Process

  1. The search feature does not work while the ‘index rebuilding’ process is in progress. Therefore, do not interfere with Outlook during the process.
  2. The time taken to rebuild indexes depends on system specifications, the number of emails to be indexed, and the amount of data in each email.

2. Repair corrupt or damaged Outlook PST file

Corrupt or damaged Outlook PST file is a possible reason behind the malfunctioning of the Instant Search feature. Therefore, analyze and repair the PST file by using either the scanpst.exe tool or a PST file repair software such as Stellar Repair for Outlook.

Fix Outlook 2016 Search Problems


Of the many Outlook problems, Outlook 2016 Search problem is another one. This blog provides detailed steps on how to repair corrupt or damaged PST file and resolve this issue with regard to Outlook indexing services. In this way, it helps you fix the ‘Outlook 2016 Search not working’ problem so that you get correct results when you search for any item in Outlook.

If the corrupt Outlook data file is the reason behind the inappropriate functionality of Outlook ‘Search’ feature, you can repair the PST file by using Stellar Repair for Outlook or Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe). Both of these utilities can repair PST file and recover the entire mailbox data. After the damaged PST file gets repaired, the ‘Search’ feature would work properly.

However, Stellar Repair for Outlook is recommended as it provides several benefits – supports encrypted Outlook data file recovery, shows the preview of recovered mailbox data before saving, can save the recovered Outlook data files as EML, MSG, RTF, PDF and HTML file, and more. You can access these files on various email clients, and some of them without a specific platform. The software works perfectly in most of the cases when the Inbox repair tool fails to resolve the issue.

Check what the other MVPs and other experts have to say about this software: Click Here.

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