Outlook Search Bar Moved to Top

If you are in the Office Insiders group (and so getting early peaks at new Outlook features), you may have noticed that in a recent Outlook update the Search bar has been moved to the top of the Windows Desktop Outlook window.

It’s not simply its position that has changed, though, it’s supposed to do faster searches and it does seem to do that. I know Microsoft has been working hard to overhaul the search engine used throughout Office and Windows, and this apparently is a next step.

Update: I’ve just created a free video about this new search box, see this post for more info.


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94 Responses to Outlook Search Bar Moved to Top

  1. One of my clients has this update going out to all their machines now. They all hate it and desperately want the old search back. Will you be updating this article with any further news?

    • this guy says:

      the new search bar location is the worst

      • Mark Bell says:

        Interesting. In my opinion, it’s much cleaner at the top and the search is more reliable than ever. Can you explain why this is so terrible for you and/or your users? I don’t see it getting in the way of anything…

        • slim says:

          no the new search bat is a nightmare , its killing me , im 100 time slower , and im freaking…anoying, can i down grade ?is there any solution ?
          at least they should give us a chance to change its location ?

          • Josh says:

            I just turned on the “Coming Soon” feature, which moved my search bar to the top. From my testing so far, the new search is much faster and more reliable than the old version, which was laggy and often failed to find emails that clearly matched my search terms.

        • Darius says:

          I fully agree that it’s nightmare and in my case definitely it’s delaying searching process. Few reasons fort that:
          – To start searching, you need to click on the searching bar, because there is no easily accessible button on the ribbon. The problem is that when you click on search bar, the ‘Subject’, ‘sender’ buttons are hidden behind the pop-up window, thus you need to click somewhere to hide it… really “great job”
          – When you enter required ‘sender’ or ‘subject’ you can’t type further searching criteria, because focus is automatically moved to searching results, instead of searching bar… meaning that you need to click again on the searching bar.
          – Previously I could easily select if I want to search through current mailbox, subfolder or all mailboxes, right now I need to click it once, and then once more to access the list of mailboxes
          It’s quite a lot of new ‘clicks’ for me, what definitely doesn’t make searching faster, it’s exactly opposite!!! It potentially saved few 0,001 sec., while it cost +2-4 sec! I am really sick of it.

        • Mohamed Sharaf says:

          Why it is worse?
          1- It is not easy to select search box easily as it has the same color as the window bar
          2- It requires more clicks to do the same needed search with the old bar.
          3- It doesn’t support auto find contacts when you search (you need to type the full name)

          • Kevin Wilson says:

            A dunce designed this. A redundant dropdown appears over the bar to search from; to; subject; etc.

    • Rob Whitzman says:

      Any heavy user of outlook would agree. The extra real estate that you have to cover is not acceptable. An MS rep responded that it works well with the Simplified Ribbon. Unfortunately, the Simplified Ribbon does not work for heavy users of the product.

    • Marianne says:

      Hi, Alex.
      It also happened to me, but I returned it back to its original location. What I did is that I only just turned off the “Coming Soon” label (with box icon) on the upper right corner of Outlook’s home page.

      Hope this could help:)

    • Marianne says:

      It also happened to me, but I returned it back to its original location. What I did is that I only just turned off the “Coming Soon” label (with box icon) on the upper right corner of Outlook’s home page.

      Hope this could help:)

      • C. Harper says:

        Thank you! The new search doesn’t allow for multiple search features at the same time (to or from name, attachment, location, etc.) and has made it so much harder to find information.

  2. Darius Kelly says:

    I hate it too. I work using a lot of (req)uisition numbers that correlate to specific reqs so when I get an email about a specific req I like to search my inboxes for all emails concerning the req. With this new search bar I can’t just highlight and drag the req number to the search bar, I can’t even paste in the search bar without using crtl+v. So long story short, I also HATE it and desperately want the old search back!

  3. Anton says:

    I truly hope they add the option to move it back. The dropdown with suggestions gets in the way of the toolbar. My users all hate it. They really need to think things like this through….

  4. god says:

    get over it ya dam plebs

  5. Phil Rickels says:

    It’s a minor annoyance, but I don’t love it.

  6. Adis says:

    Whole day im trying to find option to move search box from the top and now i found this blog -.-‘

  7. Navi says:

    Same here. I spent almost 3-4 hours trying to go through the different View settings and landed on this page, finally. This should be at-least backward compatible.

  8. Nicole says:

    I do not like this at all. Like some others said at least give us the option to move it back; I do a lot of searching, I do not find this easier I actually find it more awkward. Blah Microsoft

  9. Amanda says:

    I hate it. It’s a long stretch with my mouse, to move all the way to the top of the toolbar and it gets in the way of my ribbon. All the options that pop in, also makes it feel cluttered.

  10. N Peep says:

    Is anyone else having an issue where when you click the search box, all of the search options show up in the main tab area, but trying to click into the search options takes focus away from the search box which makes the tab area go away..

    End result is I cannot click in Search, then select FROM, for instance. Very frustrating.

  11. Fokke says:

    What N Peep says; how annoying is it now to be able to select “From” or “Subject” in the toolbar, as the search dropdown blocks these buttons? My colleagues and are really disliking this change. It takes soo much longer to find something now.

    How can this have passed any UAT?!

  12. Michael Linenberger says:

    Guys, while it is annoying how much Suggested Search drops down, all you have to do is tap the ESCAPE key on your keyboard and the Suggested Search drop-down goes away, opening up access to the Search Tools Ribbon (and things like the From or Subject buttons on the Ribbon).

    What N Peep is saying sounds different, however—that the Search Tools Ribbon actually disappears completely, even after the drop down is gone. And no, I have not seen that. The Search Tools tab stays active in my usage so far, as long as the cursor is still in the Search box.

  13. Wisdom says:

    I hate it as well. I can’t get used to the location. I work on 2 large monitors within 6 – 8 programs, where they placed and do not allow you to move it is not only dumb but frustrating.

  14. Mike says:

    I use outlook on three machines. All have he same build and only one has the search bar in the quick access.

  15. Jason Kelton says:

    haha you’ll get used to it after 5 days, trust me!

  16. james says:

    It is TERRIBLE!!
    You now need to click to search, click the mailbox folder you want to search within, then click again to choose the folder. It used to be 2 clicks. Now it is 4. Seriously.
    Why did they make it extra clicks? One of the worst updates Microsoft ever made!

  17. Emil says:

    My users also hate this “improvement”…

    • Bob says:

      This is the part that baffles me. On one PC, I installed via the O365 portal and then ran updates and the search bar is at the very top. On another PC, from the same install button in the O365 portal, install and update did not move the search box.

  18. chuck says:

    can’t paste in that search bar, what a joke

  19. Mark says:

    Thanks for the tip to use ESCAPE to remove the suggested search dropdown. Solved my frustrations!

  20. Es says:

    I have two installations (laptop and desktop) of the same outook365 subscription, both updated to the SAME release and one has the search bar at the top, and the other is the usual place: above the emails. It cannot be any more weird.

  21. Garrett Fuller says:

    I have an older coworker who has had serious confusion related to this update.

    Why not make the search location optional??

    I appreciate your blog post, I could not figure out how she had gotten it up there.


  22. Woodrow Alex says:

    Yeah don’t like it at the top, its not a natural position for a quick search.

  23. Bill says:

    Ctrl-E or Alt-Q pop you right into the search bar. I still would prefer in the old location though.

  24. Amelia says:

    No ‘god’ we don’t have to accept something for the sake of change and or some antiquated ideal that society is constructed of stratified classes – and that people who complain are of the lower echelons, we are not, we just want to make this world a better place. Chucking all is not healthy, praxian change. If the change was about creating a faster search tool, did we have to move it to accelerate it? So why is it a hassle? Distance, distance from the information I am seeking, I adjust the order/ or change the whole word letters-symbols within the search history, the new position of the search bar is like looking back two pages, it slows down the work. I use Outlook as an archive system I research every living moment of the day. Frustrating, tis all i can say. This is the first search bar placed so far…most dictionaries including the Outlook Dictionary is immediately above the search request.

  25. shaji says:

    did u find a solution

  26. brian fox says:

    Just to start – I agree the new position is annoying BUT because it has moved, it allowed me to find new Search Options in the Quick Access Toll Bar!
    For example, some people complained about the “From” button being blocked from view due to the suggestions box. You can just click the blue bar or escape key and it goes away OR you can add a new Quick Access link to “Search by sender”!
    If you click the Down arrow next to the left of the search box than “More Commands” you will find a SLEW of other search options requiring only 1 click to execute (like Search by sender). Personally, I like the “Search current folder” option so I dont have to click the down arrow to change from “Current Mailbox”.
    So now I have 6 or so icons next to the search bar that with 1 click I can search based on the sender or in the folder I’m currently browsing…. I also have, Quick Print, Undo, Send/Receive, Speak, and Open Documents Folder. These options DID exist before but now have become easier to use (since its next to the search box now).
    I’m just saying… I do not like the new position but it has clued me into new features which I like – take a browse of those other “Quick Access Commands” and see what you could add to the top of Outlook to make like easier.

  27. Mayank says:

    Is it possible to realign the position of search fields to be able to achieve maybe a from, to, subject, body etc type positioning? It was possible earlier

  28. Anamika says:

    It’s very annoying and inconvenient to use.

  29. salim says:

    who approved such a change doesn’t care to read all the above feedback ?its stupid move , its stupid , its annoying , i’m so angry that i cant even write properly , its more that stupid , put it back

  30. Cherrie Anne Awang says:

    Is there a way to move back the Search bar to its original location?

  31. Rhys Garland says:

    In the top right corner of Outlook you should have the option for ‘Coming Soon’ with an on and off slider, select ‘Off’ and restart Outlook, this will move the search bar back to it’s default location.

  32. Jared says:

    I’m not sure what the stink is about. It seems like a good use of space to me. That title bar is sitting up there doing nothing anyway. Why not move the bar up there and free up those pixels from the messages column. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  33. Jared says:

    Ctrl-E or F3 will get you to the search bar in Outlook. Now your mouse hands won’t get tired from that extra inch you have to move up the screen.


  34. Arye says:

    I’m not sure if this will work for you but it did for me in one instance.

    – open “Run Command” outlook -safe
    – you will see that the search bar is still on the top bar
    – close Outlook
    – run Outlook in a normal mode and hope if does work
    – if not I’m really sorry if it didn’t work

  35. Denise says:

    This happened to my colleague. She is not stuck with it. I simply had her turn off “Coming Soon” (she thought it was a cinematic thing and got annoyed when her search bar was moved)…Outlook prompted for a re-boot (just a warm, not a cold)…and voila! Search bar is back in the old position. 🙂

  36. Mr Richard Everard says:

    I do hate it when they change things like this. Why dodn’t they leave things alone. I suppose because they would lose their jobs. Same with Word, Excel etc. I just wish they wouldn’t keep changing things that work perfectly well and then you have to waste time learning how to do it again. And I don’t think people should tell us to “get over it dam plebs”. Who does he think he is “god”?

  37. Alfer D Rodenburg says:

    Is there a way to put the search bar back where it was; it’s painful to have to have it at the top and use cntrl+v every time.

  38. DProia says:

    I hate the location

  39. Prodeleon says:

    I agree with most people, its annoying, not helpful and it MUST be a “Choice”, not an imposition to do as told, and that is it, real bad move from Microsoft, in order for people to accept changes, specially, they must be presented with the characteristics, and you, the “Buyer”, the user, the consumer, MUST have a choice.

    I believe the GOD response was uncalled for, and he needs to realize, that in the Cyber Realm he might be a God, but in the “REAL Realm” its just another human trying to survive this jungle of life, as HD says “Be good to one another”

  40. Ben says:

    To change this, you may need to change your Office Channel to semi annual. this appears to be happening with Office insider, monthly targeted and monthly. https://erwinbierens.com/switch-office-2016-to-monthly-targeted-channel/

  41. Nancy Slater says:

    With the “new search bar” I can no longer paste into it. This is very frustrating – as I usually will copy a number or email address. To ensure I have it correctly, I prefer to “paste” it into the search bar to get the correct results. PLUS I use copy and paste all the time. I do not understand why this no longer works. Any help would be greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

  42. wace says:

    I totally agree with the ones who doesn’t like the new position of search bar. Not only the position, but also the working algorithm. I’ve not measured searching duration, i may agree it’s faster than the old one, but for me, trying to create new search habits takes out all the advantages of getting faster results. Please follow the engineering rule, if it’s working well, don’t touch it !

  43. Stephanie Page says:

    We work in virtual mode and the search bar gets hidden under our virtual bar! It’s so frustrating. I have tried to move my virtual bar but the only place it’s not in the way is at the top of the screen. I have to move it every time I need to search Outlook. My screen also minimizes every time I use the search function now.

  44. Kather says:

    Is there any way to get the Search Tab (with all the search tools below it) to stay permanently on the ribbon? It only appears transiently when clicking the cursor in the new search field, which of course immediately covers up up the options with the drop down menu! You can finally access it then but once you move on to any of the other permanent sub-menus in the ribbon, Search disappears. I’m all for contextual commands but this is implemented backwards in my opinion. I can’t figure out how to customize the ribbon and add it permanently.

  45. Darrell McChesney says:

    absolutely the worst possible place to put it. Heck you can’t even do a copy and paste from what I can see in the new search bar?

  46. Kevin says:

    You cannot Right Click and Paste what you want to search in this stupid search bar. Have to turn off Office Insider to get back the old search that works.

    Outlook is basically still the same program from 20 years ago as nothing has changed for the better.

    I will be moving full time to new improved Gmail with my GSuite once my 365 year expires. What do the staff do at MS office as they are still stuck in the 1970’s!

  47. Wahid says:

    This search bar moved to the top because you turn on Coming Soon feature. To move it back just off this option and restart Outlook.

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