Restore Outlook Search Bar To Its Rightful Place

Restore Outlook Search Bar To Its Rightful Place

If you’ve found this post, you’re probably bothered by how Microsoft has decided to forcefully move the Outlook search bar to the top. For many, this new experience simply doesn’t work, with reports of the search not working, a more ridiculous workflow, requiring Enter to search, disjointed UI from emails, etc. Here’s how to fix it.

This “feature” was forced in as of Version 2005 (Build 12827.20268, 2 June 2020). Rolling back to Version 2004 doesn’t seem to do the trick, so we’ll be rolling back to Version 2003 (Build 12624.20442, 14 April 2020).

  1. Download the Office Deployment Tool:
  2. Run the Office Deployment Tool (extracts some files to a folder of your choice)
  3. Right click THIS LINK, press Save As and save the config.xml file to the same folder
  4. Download upgrade.bat and place it in the same folder
  5. Right click upgrade.bat in the folder and “Run as administrator”
  6. Go into Outlook (or any Office product), go to File > Office Account > Update Options > Update Now and let Office “update”
  7. When Outlook reopens, watch as your search bar returns to its rightful place
  8. Go back to File > Office Account > Update Options and Disable Updates

If this doesn’t work, you’ll probably need to ensure you’re not opted into the Office Insider program, and that any “Coming Soon” handles are also off.

Make sure you then let Microsoft know that this was a terrible idea over at their Outlook UserVoice here.

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