Complaints about Instant Search and Contacts keep surfacing:
How do you search Contacts on fields other than the ones that are supported by default? If I expand the Instant Search box, it gives me a handful of common Contact fields, but there doesn't seem to be a way to add/get at a lot of the other Contact fields to search on, and apparently the indexer doesn't index the fields I'm interested in, like notes.
Find in older versions of Outlook had an option to include frequently used fields and the notes field was one of those fields. The basic Instant Search doesn't appear to search in the notes field at all. However, the problem isn't that Instant Search doesn't search those fields (it does), only that there is something wrong with the search index and the only results that are returned belong to recently saved contacts.
When problems like this surface, you need to rebuild the search index.
When you are searching iCloud folders, you need to have the field you want to search in the View.
When you are searching for phone numbers, you can search for any set of numbers when the number is formatted in groups, such as (202) 555-1212. When it is formatted as on long number, 2025551212, the search term needs to begin with 202.
Rebuild the Search Index
To rebuild the index from the Control Panel, open the System and Maintenance category and select Indexing Options. You can also open it from Outlook 2007's Tools, Options menu or in Outlook 2010 and newer, from File, Options, Search page.
From the Indexing options dialog, choose Advanced, then Rebuild. This will rebuild the instant search index and should fix most search problems.
Find and Delete index files to rebuild index
While it's generally better to use the Rebuild button when you need to rebuild the index, you can delete the search index files from the hard drive to force Windows to rebuild the index.
Delete all files and folders in these directories:
Then reboot and Windows will start to index your Outlook files all over again.
Because rebuilding the index is a slow process that may use a lot of your system resources, you can use Advanced Find (Ctrl+Shift+F) until you have time to let the index rebuild.
If you have contacts folders in different PSTs and don't want to include them in your search, you can remove them from the search by clicking on the arrow found on All Contacts Items and removing PSTs from the list.