How to Fix Outlook 2016 Search Problems?

Yatendra Singh
Yatendra Singh | Updated On - 21 Dec 2021 |

Read time 7 min

Dealing with thousands of Outlook Emails is not an easy task, especially when you receive a lot of email messages on a daily basis, this has become the case usually with people who are using Microsoft Outlook for fulfilling their different business purposes.

There are times when you need to open an email you received days or possibly months back, but due to the huge stack of email messages existing on top of the one you need, scrolling through is not the option you would want to consider.

Though in such a scene you would make use of the ‘Search’ option built in Outlook 2016 application, what would you do when the file or item you were looking for doesn’t show up in the search results?


Improper or broken search in Microsoft Outlook 2016 can be fixed via multiple approaches, but it is important to make use of the right ones. In this article, we’ll guide through how you can have a resolution for the above-mentioned hurdle.

Check Indexing Status in Outlook 2016

Check the indexing status in Outlook, before we jump to the methods for fixing the Outlook search problem. Make sure of whether a specific Outlook file type is left from indexing or not. For checking the Indexing Status in Outlook application, follow below 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 File tab, click on Options, and select Customize Ribbon.Customize Ribbon
  2. Inside 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 have checked indexing status from within the Outlook let’s move forward to the fixing method. In case, if the Outlook file type is left to be indexed or still the search is not throwing the expected result, then rebuild 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 troubleshooting section; click Ok.
    Note: The index rebuild procedure would take some time, restart PC afterward.rebuild procedure to restart PC

Check Outlook 2016 Index Status

You’ve confirmed the indexing status and have rebuilt the index from scratch, but still, the search is not producing the appropriate results. In this condition check whether Outlook 2016 application is listed in the Indexing Options or not. 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 prove to be any help, then it might be possible that the issue is with the Outlook Data file – PST and repairing it might solve the issue.

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 PST data file, time for the repair process will differ.

Repair PST using a professional tool

Using a professional Outlook PST repair tool would be worthy in cases when the built-in utility SCANPST did not solve the problem with the PST files. Kernel for Outlook PST Repair is a tool which is specifically made for the objective of addressing all the issues of Outlook PST files.

Outlook PST Repair tool

Outlook PST Repair tool boasts of numerous features, follows an advanced approach to tackle the PST problems and ensures that there will be no loss to data. After recovery, everything will be as same as it was before in the original PST file.


Search is a very handful utility for finding the needle in a haystack, but it can become messy if the Search turns broken or does not produce results as per the query or the filters applied. With the right approaches, fixing Outlook Search Problem would not be a difficult job.