Read time 9 minutes

Summary: Struggling with Outlook 2016 search issues? This blog post provides actionable solutions to resolve search problems efficiently. Learn how to troubleshoot and fix common search-related glitches, ensuring you can find your emails and data with ease. Get your Outlook search functionality back on track with these practical tips.

Managing a multitude of Outlook emails presents a formidable challenge, particularly for those inundated with daily messages. This scenario is increasingly common among individuals utilizing Microsoft Outlook to serve their diverse business needs.

There are occasions when you must access an email received days or even months ago. However, sifting through a substantial email stack, with newer messages piled on top, isn’t the most efficient approach.

In such situations, the natural instinct is to rely on Outlook 2016’s built-in ‘Search’ option. But what happens when the file or item you’re seeking doesn’t surface in the search results?

Encountering search problems in Outlook 2016 can be a source of frustration. It may manifest as Outlook failing to locate emails you know are in your inbox or experiencing sluggishness when searching through your email history.


Resolving improper or malfunctioning search functionality in Microsoft Outlook 2016 requires employing the correct approaches. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to effectively address the aforementioned search issue.

Check Indexing Status in Outlook 2016

Before we explore methods to address the Outlook search problem, it’s crucial to examine the indexing status in Outlook. Ensure that no specific Outlook file types have been omitted from indexing. To check the Indexing Status within the Outlook application, follow these steps:

  1. Launch Outlook 2016.
  2. Click on the Search tab in the menu bar, click Search Tools, and select Indexing Indexing Status on Outlook 2016
  3. If the Outlook file type left from indexing, it will show up as below – 0 items remaining to be indexed is displayed; click Ok.Outlook finished indexing items

Note: Search tab is missing

If the Search tab is missing from the menu bar of your Outlook application, you can add it yourself as below:

  1. Click on the File tab, click on Options, and select Customize Ribbon.Customize Ribbon
  2. Inside the Customize Ribbon Settings area, click on Choose commands from the drop-down, and select All Tabs.choose commands
  3. From the list of tab selections, select Search, click on Add button and click search tool

Rebuild Index using the Repair Menu Option

Now that you’ve verified the indexing status within Outlook, let’s proceed with the troubleshooting method. If the Outlook file type is still left unindexed or if the search isn’t yielding the expected results, consider rebuilding the index using Advanced Indexing Options.

Perform the following steps for doing so:

  1. Launch Outlook.
  2. Click on File > Options and select search option
  3. In the Search Options area, click on Indexing Options (under Sources section), and click on Advanced in the indexing options dialog box.indexing options dialog box
  4. Click Yes in the UAC – User Account Control prompt.
  5. Click on Rebuild under the troubleshooting section; click Ok.
    Note: The index rebuild procedure would take some time, restarting the PC afterward.rebuild procedure to restart PC

Check Outlook 2016 Index Status

Even after confirming the indexing status and rebuilding the index, if the search results remain unsatisfactory, it’s essential to check if the Outlook 2016 application is listed in the Indexing Options. Follow the steps below:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Click on File > Options and select search option
  3. Click on Modify.
  4. Check whether there is a checkmark aside by Microsoft Outlook; in case the checkbox is empty, select it, click Ok and restart checkbox if empty

Repair Outlook Data File

If rebuilding or indexing the Outlook application did not provide a solution, it’s possible that the issue lies within the Outlook Data file (PST). Repairing it could potentially resolve the problem.

For doing so, you can make use of the native repair Outlook inbox tool provided by Microsoft which is SCANPST.

Using the tool is super easy, locate the tool and proceed, but for different versions of Outlook the location/path of the utility is different:

  • For 32-bit Office 2016: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\
  • For 64-bit Office 2016: C:\Program File(x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\
  • For 64-bit Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\
  • For Office 365 – 2016 Package: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\office16\

For this method to work, you would also need to know the location/path of Outlook PST file; for users of Outlook 2016 the path would be:


Once you’ve found the SCANPST utility and the location of the PST data file, perform the steps:

  1. Right-click the SCANPST executable.
  2. Select Run as administrator.
  3. Browse for the PST file, click Open, and click Start.
  4. After going through the details displayed by the utility, click Repair.
  5. As per the size of the PST data file, time for the repair process will differ.

Troubleshoot Search and Indexing

If Outlook search is still not working after trying these methods, you can try troubleshooting search and indexing.

  • To do this, close Outlook and go to Start > Control Panel > Indexing Options. Click the “Advanced” button and then click on Troubleshoot search and indexing.Click on Troubleshoot search and indexing
  • After that, you need to check mark your problem as Can’t start a search or see results. Tap on Next.check mark your problem
  • It will start detecting the problem and self-troubleshoot it in a few seconds.

Restart Outlook and check if the issue still persists. In case the problem still persists, your corrupted Outlook PST files can be a reason. To get an easy fix for the PST files, give Outlook PST Repair a try.

Repair PST using a Professional Tool

Opting for a professional Outlook repair tool becomes worthwhile when the built-in utility SCANPST falls short in resolving PST file issues. Kernel for Outlook PST Repair is a specialized tool designed to comprehensively address all Outlook PST file-related issues.

Outlook PST Repair tool

This versatile tool excels at recovering all items from corrupted PST files, encompassing emails, contacts, attachments, tasks, notes, journals, and more. Additionally, it can restore deleted items from damaged PST files. Furthermore, this advanced utility boasts compatibility with all Microsoft Outlook versions.

The PST Repair tool combines a range of top-notch features to deliver optimal results with maximum efficiency. Here are a few of its advanced attributes:

  • Export PST to Microsoft 365 & Email Servers
  • Repairs encrypted and password-protected PST files
  • Option to Search PST File
  • Smart Filtering Options
  • Retains Meta Properties
  • Repairs archive PST files of any size


Search is an invaluable tool for locating critical information, but it can become frustrating when it breaks or fails to yield the desired results. With the correct strategies and solutions, resolving Outlook Search Problems can be a straightforward task.

Kernel for Outlook PST Repair