The Microsoft Outlook logo.

Microsoft Outlook has a new Search box, which we quite like. The only downside is the Search tab is now hidden until you click in the Search box. Fortunately, there’s a way you can make that tab stay put permanently.

If you use Microsoft 365 (M365) or Office 365 (O365), you should have the new Search box. In previous versions of Outlook, the “Search” tab was always visible on the ribbon.

The "Search" tab on the Outlook ribbon.

With the arrival of the new Search box, this tab is now missing.

The new Outlook ribbon without the "Search" tab.

It reappears whenever you click inside the new Search box, but only after you’ve cleared the automatic drop-down menu. It’s not great for those who like to use the tab instead of the Search box. Luckily, there’s a way to get it back!

You’ll first have to add the Search tab to the Main group on the ribbon. We’ve covered this before, however, in this case, the “Search” tab already exists, but the buttons to move it are grayed out.

The "Customize the Classic Ribbon" panel with the Up and Down arrows grayed out.

You can still add it, you just have to be a bit sneaky. First, right-click any of the tabs in the ribbon bar, and then select “Customize the Ribbon.”

Click "Customize the Ribbon."

In this panel, change the “Popular Commands” dropdown to “All Tabs.”

Change "Popular Commands" to "All Tabs."

Scroll down, click “Search,” and then select the tab you want it to appear next to in the ribbon. We’ve chosen “View” so it will be in the same place it was previously. You can put it wherever you want it, though, and then click “Add.”

Click "Search," click the tab you want it to appear next to, and then click "Add."

The “Search” tab will now appear under the tab you chose. Click “OK” to proceed.

Click "OK."

The tab will now be visible all the time.

The Outlook ribbon with the "Search" tab.

However, this does create a minor problem. Whenever you click in the Search box, there will now be two “Search” tabs.

The Outlook ribbon with two "Search" tabs.

If this doesn’t bother you, you’re all done. If it bugs you, though, you can also disable the “Search” tab that appears whenever you click in the Search box.

To do so, right-click any of the tabs in the ribbon, and then select “Customize the Ribbon” once again.

Select "Customize the Ribbon."

Change the “Main Tabs” dropdown to “All Tabs.”

Change "Main Tabs" to "All Tabs."

Scroll down to “Search Tools,” uncheck “Search,” and then click “OK.”

Uncheck "Search," and then click "OK."

Now, whenever you click in the Search box, a second Search tab won’t appear.

The Outlook ribbon with one "Search" tab.

Rob Woodgate Rob Woodgate
Rob Woodgate is a writer and IT consultant with nearly 20 years of experience across the private and public sectors. He's also worked as a trainer, technical support person, delivery manager, system administrator, and in other roles that involve getting people and technology to work together.
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