In Outlook 365 I want to search my online archive for an exact phrase. When I put the search term in quotation marks, I still get results that do not exactly match the phrase.

Searching for an exact phrase in my inbox works fine.

A remedy is presented here, by editing a registry key: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/unexpected-search-results-when-you-use-double-quotation-marks-to-search-items-in-a-mailbox-in-outlook-d1de87c9-2ce6-0ce7-69b6-a6e872ba14c8

However for some reason, the critical registry key is missing from my system:

Note xx.0 in this registry path corresponds to the Outlook version (16.0 = Outlook 2016, Outlook 2019 or Outlook for Office 365, 15.0 = Outlook 2013, 14.0 = Outlook 2010).

Can anyone suggest an alternative solution?

  • What's the missing key? And have you tried to create it manually?
    – Jade
    May 25, 2021 at 9:27

3 Answers 3


I can confirm that searching for "any phrase in quotes" is broken in Outlook 365. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

When it works: search a specific folder, or select the "Current Mailbox" option.

When it doesn't work: select All Outlook Items or All Mailboxes

So the workaround is to select any folder in your online archive, select Current Mailbox from the dropdown next to the search box, then type your search "in quotes".


The article you found explained how to find whole words, not phrases.

To search for a phrase, just type it with quotes in the Search box. For example, type "this is my search" in the Search box.

This will search all emails in the current email folder which contain the entire specific phrase.

To search in all email folders, click "All Mail Items" under the Search tab.

For more details with screenshots see the article How to search entire specific phrase in Outlook?

  • 2
    Thanks very much for your reply. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work in Outlook 365, as indicated in the comments in that link. Quotes do nothing, and I get any result with all the words somewhere in the message.
    – PProteus
    Apr 29, 2021 at 13:22
  • Worked in my Outlook 365...
    – harrymc
    Apr 29, 2021 at 13:34
  • Hmm... It seems to work in some cases but not others. When I search my online archive, phrase matching does not work as expected, but when I search my actual inbox, it seems to work fine. The plot thickens...
    – PProteus
    Apr 30, 2021 at 15:05
  • I reworked the question, based on what I've learned.
    – PProteus
    Apr 30, 2021 at 15:11

Agree with harrymc, also if you need search a phrase in subject only, we could click "subject" option or type the phrase like below:

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