Rectifying the Issue Outlook 2011 Contacts Search Not Working

Mac operating system has provided its users with a desktop-searching system known as Spotlight Search. This system generates an index and related files in it, providing users an easy and a fast way to search items on their machine. It was being developed by Apple and used in devices having operating system iOS and OS X. Moreover, there are some command line tools for performing functions to open Spotlight system.

Trouble Description When Mac operating system users try to search for their contacts they receive a “No Results” message as a resultant and when they try to search the same by using Mac OS Spotlight Search, it displays the same error i.e. search is unsuccessful.

NOTE: While performing search operation in Outlook 2011, be aware of following facts:

  1. Operating System should contain Spotlight Searching system.
  2. The Spotlight system should be synchronized with Outlook 2011.
  3. After added new contacts, wait for several minutes for Spotlight indexing.

Reason behind the Trouble A very common reason may be that the contact name mentioned by user in Spotlight Search does not exist in Outlook 2011. However, if the contact exists and then “No Result” message still occur then, below-mentioned are reasons for the problem:

  • The Spotlight Index may be disabled in the Operating System
  • The contacts files may be corrupted or damaged.
  • Spotlight Index may be incompletely synchronized.
  • Spotlight Search Index may be corrupted or damaged.

Solution to Handle Outlook 2011 Contacts Search not Working Issue

Until now, we have studied about the problem (in detail) and causes for it, now we are going to study solutions to deal with the problem. Following are the techniques that can be used to resolve the problem i.e. Mac Outlook 2011 Contacts search not working:

Technique 1: Complete Spotlight Index
At the time when user has created a new contact in Outlook 2011, or currently added new data then, indexing of Spotlight Search may be incomplete. Therefore, “No Results” message occurs when user search for newly created or imported contacts. To solve this problem, wait for some time so that the indexing is completed, and then again go for Search.

Technique 2: Remove Special Character
If the Identity name of Mac Outlook 2011 contains some special characters like /,*,+,>, etc. then you will have to change your identity name by going through the following steps:

  • To View Identity Name

    From your keyboard, hold Option key and click on icon of Mac Outlook 2011.

  • To Change Identity Name
    1. Open identity folder of Outlook 2011 from the below-mentioned path:
      Users/< Username >/Documents/Microsoft user data/Office 2011 Identities/
    2. Now remove the previous Identity name and write new Identity Folder name having no special characters
    3. Launch the Microsoft Database Utility window to determine whether the name has been altered or not
    4. At the end, select the Identity >> Gear icon and click on Set as Default button.

Technique 3: Remove the Privacy Tab
If the Identity folders where the contacts are saved is having Privacy tab in Spotlight then the searching will be failed. However, if Privacy tab exist then Spotlight will not index the folder location. Therefore, remove the Privacy tab, which is in Spotlight and then wait for some time for Spotlight indexing procedure to get complete.

Technique 4: Fix Corrupted Spotlight Index

  • Open Terminal
  • Write “sudo mdutil -i off/” and press Enter.
  • Write “sudo mdutil -E/” and press Enter.
  • Now after completion of procedure upto Step (c), restart your Mac operating system machine.
  • Now again launch the Terminal, write “sudo mdutil -a -i on” and press Enter.

Technique 5: Check Default Location

Accidentally, sometimes the Identity folder is being moved to some other location, which leads to replacement of file from its default location. Hence, once you have to check whether the data is at its default location or not and if not then move that file to its default path. The default parameters of Mac Outlook 2011 are:

Folder Name as Microsoft User Data
Default Location is ~/Documents folder

After performing above procedure, if still the problem exists then uninstall the Outlook from your machine, restart the machine and again reinstall the Outlook application.

Conclusion After going through the whole article, we conclude with the fact that Spotlight Search system plays a major role in searching process. Therefore, measures are to be taken to improve the functioning of the Spotlight and issues can be resolved using the methods above.


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