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Outlook for Mac 2011 Search Not Working (Returning No Results)

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Symptoms:  In Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011, you receive a “No Results” message when you try to search for an email message. Additionally, when you search by using the Mac OS native Spotlight Search, your search may not be successful.

Problem Cause:  Most likely, your Mac Spotlight index is either disabled for your drive, or the index is corrupted.


Option 1: Spotlight Indexing Not Complete

If you recently created a new Outlook Identity or a new account, or if you recently imported new data such as from a PST or OLM file, Spotlight indexing may not be complete. In this case, Outlook displays a “No Results” message. In this scenario, wait for indexing to finish, and then search again.

Option 2: Special Characters in Identity Name

Make sure that your Identity name has no special characters, such as a front slash (/) character. To view your Identity names in the Microsoft Database Utility, hold down the Option key, and then click the Outlook icon. If the Identity name contains a special character, follow these steps to change the Identity name:

    1. Open the following Office 2011 Identities folder: Users/<Username>/Documents/Microsoft user data/Office 2011 Identities/

Then, determine whether any Identity contains any special characters.

  1. Rename the Identity by removing any special characters.
  2. Open the Microsoft Database Utility. To do this, hold down the Option key, and then click the Outlook icon. Confirm that the Identity name was changed.
  3. Select the Identity, click the Gear icon, and then click Set as Default.

Option 3: Spotlight Index is Disabled for the Volume

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Spotlight.
  3. Click the Privacy tab.
  4. Any volume in the list will not be indexed
  5. Remove the volume that contains your Outlook data file if it is in the list

Option 4: Spotlight Index is Corrupt

  1. Launch Terminal
  2. Type “sudo mdutil -i off /” and hit enter
  3. Type “sudo mdutil -E /” and hit enter
  4. Type “sudo rm -Rf /var/folders/*” and hit enter
  5. Type “sudo rm -Rf /.Spotlight-V100/*” and hit enter
  6. Restart your Mac
  7. Launch Terminal again
  8. Type “sudo mdutil -a -i on” and hit enter