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Outlook search bar moved to top

Microsoft Outlook or also known as Outlook is a part of the Microsoft Office suite. Adding your email account in Outlook and using Outlook makes the daily workflow a lot easier. One of the functions that you use daily in Outlook is the search functionality. Now this time, when you started Outlook, you can’t find the search bar anymore. The Outlook search bar is missing, or is it moved?

The organization is using the on-premises Microsoft Office suite 2013, 2016, and 2019. We had a big update planned, and that’s rolling out Office 365 in the organization. There is a difference between Microsoft Office 365 and the on-premises Microsoft Office 2013/2016/2019 suite. One of these differences is that Office 365 is a subscription service. It ensures you always have the most up to date modern productivity tools from Microsoft. It means that the users are going to see new features and design changes. One of these changes is the search bar in Outlook. Expect to get calls or emails about the missing search bar in Outlook.

The answer that you can give them is that it’s not missing. Users, including you and me, are used to click the search box at the top of the messages and start typing. The good news is that the Outlook search box is not missing. The Outlook search bar position is moved to the top in the title bar. For some users, it feels a bit strange as they are used to it since Outlook 2003. That’s more than 15 years!

In the next part, we will look at the Outlook search bar position before and after the update.

Search bar before Outlook update

Before the update to Office 365, the Outlook search bar is placed at the top of the messages.

Outlook old search box position before

Search bar after Outlook update

After the update, the Outlook search bar is placed in the title bar.

Outlook new search box position

At the moment of writing, it’s impossible to change the search box back to the top of the messages. You can get the search box back if installing an older version of Microsoft Office 365. After that, you need to disable automatic updates. I don’t recommend doing that as you need to get updates for security fixes and bug fixes.

Technology changes every day, and you will get used to the new features. Stay up to date and make sure that you train the staff before pushing an update without telling them.

Microsoft pushed an update to the Office 365 suite, and the Outlook search box is moved to the top. A lot of people do not like the change, what do you think?


In this article, you learned that the Outlook search bar moved to the top in the title bar. It’s a new feature by Microsoft, and it’s only happening for Office 365 customers. The search bar is not moved to the top if you are using on-premises Microsoft Office 2013/2016/2019. If you are using Microsoft Office 2010 or older, you need to update right now to a newer version! Don’t like the new position? Give feedback about this change to Microsoft.

Did you enjoy this article? You may also like Cumulative Update 17 for Exchange Server 2016. Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.



ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. whoever made this change has an IQ of a fucking potato,

    the whole team who worked on this feature needs to get fired ASAP.

    braindead idiots.

  2. Not happy with this new change at all.
    The worst thing: I can just tell it ‘what to find’ but cannot tell ‘where to find’. It starts searching in whole mail box. I can’t specify a specific sender or subject or body or with in a specific date range etc. So it gives tons of irrelevant results causing wastage of my time in filtering these results again.

    1. You can, those options are just hidden behind the suggested search popup. You have to click outside of the search to see them, select what you want, then click back in the search box. There is no way to disable suggested searches that I can see. It is really stupid…

  3. when “genius” like this will not arrive to face that what can be useful or new nice thing for some can be a very disaster for others ……this is the result that we can have? to do the same “war” like when other
    previous genius wanted to “cancel/hide” the “DESKTOP” from win8 thinking that the PC WORLD could be a smartphone touch………
    they need 2 years and loose lot of money before to understand it ……. so what now? do we have to start the same battle? should be tell all the peoples DO NOT ACQUIRE outlook license and by another product? or maybe take something that is free?

    maybe at that point they will understand ……
    and that as nothing to do with “a surprise that peoples have to be used to” …

  4. The guy that made this should be fired… simple as this..

    the most stupid decision I’ve seen in quite a while.

    and the justification for not allowing to move it back (on microsoft’s site uservoice) is just ridiculous…it’s there for ages and now they’re worried about bugs?

  5. “Most are surprised by the change because we are used to having the search bar in a specific place. It has been there for more than 15 years. To access the search bar, you can use CTRL+E or F3.”

    No, most are surprised because the geniuses at Microsoft decided to move the search bar to the top of the screen, for absolutely no reason, literally zero. There is literally no benefit, and instead several consequences like the fact that you have to navigate between the top of your screen and the mailbox now.

    People aren’t surprised because Microsoft changed something, they’re surprised because they did it in such a stupid and non-intuitive way, it’s incredible whoever thought of this idea hasn’t been fired yet.

    1. Couldn’t agree more- it was convivence the search when the search bar is within the emails area- this makes searching a hassle as you have to move up and look down at the same time.
      who came up with that decision ??????

    2. Holy……what a pain this new search feature is.

      MS are saying the search is faster.
      That does not make if faster for you to search for an email.

      We use folders for emails as same sending company can be attached to different jobs
      The need to search a sub folder is now more time consuming and we have to use a short cut CTRL+E to even have the option of only searching current folder.


  6. Who in the heck thought moving the Search bar to the top was a good idea. Don’t you guys do Beta testing before you release changes? It’s more cumbersome, takes more clicks to do a search. The drop down covers the buttons I need to PERFORM a search. Seriously!
    Plus the search bar is up and out of the normal mouse cruising area for most buttons used. Either give the option to move it back or just “MOVE IT BACK!

  7. The issue with having the Search Bar on top is that it drops down on top of the Search keywords, i.e. Subject, hasattachment, etc, so you can’t use them anymore because they are behind it. It’s useless now.

    1. Exactly! This is the problem I have with it. Once I type a keyword in the search bar, suggested searches appear which cover up the “From/Subject/Has Attachments” etc. So I have to click off, then select, it’s a real pain. Very inconvenient and not productive at all.

  8. I totally agree with Vi, please give us the option to move the search bar back. It doesn’t make any sense having it up there.
    Please move it back!

  9. I use the search bar very often. I was really unpleasantly surprised that it has moved all the way to the top. It was much more accessible before, and this will take more time to move the mouse cursor there and back and cause me to lose a lot of productivity in one of the main tools I use. Please move it back!

    Is there a shortcut key for accessing the search bar?

    1. Most are surprised by the change because we are used to having the search bar in a specific place. It has been there for more than 15 years. To access the search bar, you can use CTRL+E or F3.

      1. I extensively used the search drop down, which can’t be accessed with a shortcut. I also had the fields ordered: From, To, Received, Subject, Body, Attachment, etc. in order. The drop down now shuffles the fields into alphabetical order.
        This is single handedly one of the the most destructive and unproductive UI changes I have seen – for what?
        How does this ever get approved to get deployed?

  10. Is there an option to add fields for search (example – “to”, “from”, “subject”…), as it was available in last version of Outlook?

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