Outlook 2011 email search does not work

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by sticko, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. sticko macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2010

    moved my entire "~/Documents/Microsoft User Data" directory which contains the entire office 2011 configuration to "/Volumes/MYDATA/Microsoft User Data" place and made an alias to it back in Documents.

    Everything works fine except for the fact that my search in outlook does not work.
    No emails no matter what I search for gets matched, it always says no results. And I know something is wrong because I tried the same search before the move and it works fine.
    I did several tests and I realised the problem is not the fact that I moved the directory and made an alias as it works fine if the alias links to somewhere else on the C Drive but if I make an alias to a mounted /Volume then I get this behavior where my search in outlook does not work.
    Does anyone know more detail about how outlook works and how I can fix this?

    I used the same method in Entourage before, and it worked just fine.
  2. g0tcha macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2011

    have you managed to solve this ? if so, offer advise.
  3. Fruiteatingbear macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2007
    Republic of England, Europe

    I have similar problem, moved database to Dropbox folder and have alias. Outlook 2011 works fine apart from the search facility. Spotlight gets them, but not an ideal solution. Any one any ideas?
  4. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a


    Apr 26, 2011
    Search in Outlook 2011 is based on Spotlight cache files.

    It is not advised to move the Main Identity out of the User's Documents Microsoft User Data folder.

    Putting it on Dropbox is definitely not advised.
  5. simmomelb macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Same issue, new install

    I am having the same issue with the 'search' feature in my newly installed Outlook 2011 on my Mac, it doesn't matter what I type, I am getting 'no results', very frustrating indeed, arghhhhh...
  6. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a


    Apr 26, 2011
    Search in Outlook Mac uses Spotlight index files. If you are on Lion skip down to reset permissions steps.


    From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.

    * Click Spotlight.
    * Make sure Mail Messages is checked under the Search Results tab.
    * Click the Privacy tab.
    * Drag your hard drive to the list.
    * Remove the drive you just added.
    * Spotlight will re-index the contents of the item you initially dragged to the list.

    Depending on your Mac and the contents of its hard disk, re-indexing may take several hours to days. Until this process is finished, Spotlight won’t know the contents of your disks and neither will Outlook. All lists like contacts, events, notes etc. are generated by the Spotlight searches.

    If you are on Lion, reset permissions using these steps.

    When you use the Disk Utility app and Repair Permissions — it doesn’t actually repair the permission settings on folders and files in your Home folder where your documents and personal applications reside.


    In Lion, there is an additional Repair Permissions application utility hidden away. This tool is located inside boot Repair Utilities. Here’s how to access it.

    1 Restart Lion and hold down the Command and R keys.

    2 You will boot into the Repair Utilities screen. On top, in the Menu Bar click the Utilities item then select Terminal.

    3 In the Terminal window, type resetpassword and hit Return.

    4 The Password reset utility launches, but you’re not going to reset the password. Instead, click on the icon for your Mac’s hard drive at the top. From the drop-down below it, select the user account where you are having issues.

    5 At the bottom of the window, you’ll see an area labeled 'Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs'. Click the Reset button there.

    The reset process takes a couple of minutes. When it’s done, quit the programs you’ve opened and restart your Mac. Notice that 'Spotlight' starts re-indexing immediately.
  7. simmomelb macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for your help, I tried this second step to no avail, any other ideas?
  8. jandri.jacob macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2011
    Outlook 2011

    Dear All,

    I have already imported email from PST file (Windows, microsoft outlook 2010) into mac: outlook 2011. I am really headache since the email imported cannot be located into the same account when I selected viewing in group and account. The imported email are shown on "my computer" . It make me confusing. Any body can help me how to locate the imported email into the same account when its view in group?
  9. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a


    Apr 26, 2011
    Try deleting these files in your User’s Library/Preferences folder:


    Also in the User's Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office 2011 folder delete OfficeSync Prefs

    You'll need to restart after deleting prefs.
  10. kahunamike macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2011
    got this working

    I stumbled on this thread when I was having the "No Results" issue with Outlook for Mac. Just some background, I have an SSD + HDD setup in my Macbook Pro with an SSD as my OS/applications and HDD for my user folder. I wanted to put my outlook information on the SSD for faster searching of emails, etc. And moving the Identifies folder killed the search function.

    This is what I did to get this working:
    1. Move (not copy) the "Office 2011 Identities" folder to the SSD
    2. Create alias of identifies folder in the original location using click-drag + cmd + option keys (So system thinks it's looking in the right place)
    3. Rebuild Identity (Just moving killed the search function for some reason. This builds a new identity on the SSD. Make sure you have enough space)
    4. Rebuild spotlight index (optional since it seemed to already start rebuilding the mail index)

    There's a definite speed improvement when searching now. =D
  11. acomiskey, Feb 3, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012

    acomiskey macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2012
    Same problem....?

    Hi All,

    I am a new member to the forum but have often scanned over it before joining in order to resolve any problems - this time though I can't quite find the solution I'm after.

    As the posts above, my search facility in Outlook 2011 has stopped working. The only thing that has changed and must have caused it is that I installed MainMenu to give my iMac a bit of a spring clean. It has done the job nicely with the exception of breaking this feature in Outlook.

    I am generally fairly new to Macs so I would be grateful if someone could explain how to fix this as basically as possible!

    I see the post from kahunamike says a solution that got it working but what I could really do with is a step by step of how you actually do what is described if that is what need to be done.....

    Thanks in advance.

  12. Brandino147 macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2011
    This completely wiped out my Exchange Account settings and Offline folders...
  13. valor, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012

    valor macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Four Things to try

    First, the real issue:
    As others have said, Outlook relies solely on Apple's Spotlight indices to search. If you move the DB, the index files no longer point to where Outlook is expecting them, so search in Outlook will fail. My guess is that you will have to change where Outlook THINKS to look for the identity DB, not just put a symlink (alias) to the new location.

    Summary of things to try:
    1) Rebuild the Outlook Identity (see this link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2702740 )
    2) Repair disk permissions in Disk Utility
    3) rebuild the Spotlight DB by opening a terminal window and typing "sudo mdutil -E /"
    4) give up

    If you're looking to get your Identities folder backed up/ synced by Dropbox, try the other way around -- putting a symlink in the Dropbox folder to the MS Identities directory.

    If none of these work, I believe you're SOL.. I've done a lot of poking around here. My issue is that I want Outlook search to work ONLY within Outlook. I don't want any search results to show up in Spotlight/Finder search--it's way too messy and I have duplicates as I have Mail.app connected to my Exchange account as well.
  14. Jude Garcia macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2012
    Outlook 2011 for mac

    I had a user come in complaining of no search feature in outlook 2011. After trying all the remedies on the web, I was going to remove the data file from the users library, when I discovered the user did not have access to their home folder. I clicked on user folder and then right click the user home folder and then select get info. Located at the bottom in the Sharing and Permissions section,the only permissions this user had were for the dropbox public folder.Clicked on the lock , entered admin credentials, selected the user in the custom access field, and added read & write permissions, and then selected the options button with the drop down, and selected to make these changes to all sub folders. Walah!!! Search is working now in outlook!!

    Hope this helps someone out there with the same issue!! Best of Luck!

  15. clarkml macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012
    Fixed: Outlook 2011 Search not working

    We had this issue surface in my company, most were able to be fixed by reindexing the drive but we had a few that nothing seemed to work. So after a bit of digging it was determined to be a permission issue on the /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011 folder. On every person that nothing seemed to work they were the sole owner of that folder with drwx------ (700) as the permissions. Normally this would be ok, I mean the users can run the .app bundles. However Spotlight needs access to a Outlook.mdimport plugin contained in the Outlook.app bundle. With these permissions the mds (spotlight) service which runs as ROOT could not get there and thus could not successful import the Outlook database.

    The following commands fixed all our users:

    Open Terminal

    sudo chown root:wheel "/Applications/Microsoft Office 2011"

    sudo chmod 755 root:wheel "/Applications/Microsoft Office 2011"

    sudo mdutil -a -i off

    sudo rm -rf /.Spotlight-V100 (get this command right)

    sudo mdutil -a -i on

    That's it. Spotlight will now reindex your entire drive. Outlook search will not work until it is 100% done indexing the drive. Monitor the progress by clicking on the search glass icon in the upper-right corner.


  16. anjikn macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    This worked for me in Mountain Lion

    Originally Posted by dianeoforegon

    Search in Outlook Mac uses Spotlight index files. If you are on Lion skip down to reset permissions steps.


    From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.

    * Click Spotlight.
    * Make sure Mail Messages is checked under the Search Results tab.
    * Click the Privacy tab.
    * Drag your hard drive to the list.
    * Remove the hard drive you just added.
    * Spotlight will re-index the contents of the item you initially dragged to the list.

    This can take some time, and your search will start to work once it finishes.

    Thank you so much, it was a nightmare trying to find filed emails without the search function working. :):apple:
  17. LastZion macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2006
    Thanks for this, I am currently going through this now. and I just can't get it...

    Its like I don't even have it turned on. I have followed all the steps. Any other thoughts?

    It works fine in Apple Mail


    I am not the best with Terminal but do I copy all these lines word for word with he quotes??
  18. shutch4251 macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2009
    Mike, thank you! Saved me hours of research and action plan worked like a charm! +1 on the support!!
  19. lcsolano macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2013
    I've just registered in this forum to thank you. After reindexing many times and trying many other solutions, this one worked perfectly. Comparing the permissions of other folders in /Applications and what Sporligth does, it makes sense.

    Thanks again!
  20. rearviewmirror macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2010
    I had a strange issue where my Outlook 2011 wouldn't show the results of an email search past June 20th, 2013. I'm not sure how that date became the cut-off.

    I am thankful to Mike for the fix!

    One correction to the following command:

    It should be :

    sudo chmod 755 "/Applications/Microsoft Office 2011"

    Again, thanks for posting the fix though, my Mac is now searching all mail again. :apple:
  21. moominoid macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2013
    This is what worked for me

    I tried several of these things and then got a hint from one of the posts here which actually did work for me. Previously, I had the folder "Main Identity" on my external drive so that I could swap it between different computers at home and work. Each computer had an alias to this folder in the correct place on its hard drive. With this set up I couldn't search my e-mails in Outlook. When I instead put the folder "Office Identities 2011" on the external drive and put an alias on the hard drive it works.
  22. dellamac macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2013
    Only Searching emails more than 2 weeks old

    Hey mate,

    Im having a similar problem, I can search emails but the search function seems to only show emails more than 1.5-2 weeks old.

    This goes the same for my sent mail. If I look at my sent mail I can see an email sent 5 mins ago. But if i type in a search criteria for that same email nothing shows up.


  23. dellamac macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2013
    Search Function - only emails 2 weeks old or older

  24. bart4u, Jan 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015

    bart4u macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2008
    Outlook Search

    I just bought a new Mac Pro and migrated my Microsoft Mac Office 2011 from my old 2008 Mac Pro over to the new computer. The Microsoft User Date folder came over too. I see all my old E-mails in Outlook but the Search function does not work. I called Microsoft Office for help. I spoke to 4 agents and it took 1.5 hours to reach someone in India and of course they wanted 99.00 for tech support. Lucky I called Apple because I still have support available for my new Mac Pro and a senior tech walked me through and told me how to index my new Mac Pro Spotlight. I opened Spotlight in the System Profile, then clicked on Privacy. I dragged my Hard Drive into the Privacy Folder then pushed OK then I was told to push the minus button and that started the indexing process. If you push on the Command Button and the Space Bar it will show a progress bar on the indexing. The indexing took a few minutes because my computer is new and I have a SSD hard drive installed. I noticed I am now able to use the Search function on my Outlook. I am seriously looking at changing my E-mail program out of Outlook. I do not want anything to do with Microsoft or their software. I only use Outlook and Word with my Microsoft Mac Office 2011. I could never or would ever buy a PC. Microsoft programs for the Mac and their tech support is for the birds.

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23 February 17, 2011