Ever since email was invented, relevant temporary results have been the target of the search. If you want to know about a meeting you were invited to, search for the company and the last email would bubble to the top.
But with Microsoft Outlook, it does not work that way. Search for a critical email and Outlook will bubble up prehistoric emails dug up from the fossil record and pin them to the top as “Top Results.” Decades of email use have taught us the date is most important during searches. Your eyes follow the top results and you think it’s the latest message, but with top results it’s not. Not at all.
We have no idea what AI machine learning algorithms Outlook uses to decide what to show you, but we̵7;ve had so many blown meetings and missed emails because of Outlet’s top scores that violate the basic temporary email rule that we are ready to tie two cinder blocks around the neck and throws it into the Hudson River.
So this public service announcement explains how to turn it off.
We would like to give a shout out to Bruceb Consulting, who wrote his own guide after he decided that the top results were not “smart” at all.
In his guide, Bruce writes: “Well, that’s it supposedly to be smart algorithms. At the moment, the three “Top Results” seem to be chosen by a room with monkeys throwing dung on the screen. I would like to throw it back at Microsoft engineers who are working on searches these days. ”
If you are using the Outlook desktop client, select File > alternative > Search. At the bottom of the options, you should see a checkbox for “Show most relevant search results at the top.” Deselect it and the top results disappear. We wish it would get a Thanos snap and dissolve forever, but reports suggest it will return after occasional updates to Office 365, so bookmark this page in case.
If you use the web version, you can still send top results back to the hell where it came from. Click the gear icon at the top right of the screen on the Outlook 365 Web page. Click View all Outlook settings. Select General settings and then select search. During search, you should see “Do not show the best results.”
Before you change the setting, however, I recommend that you conjure up your favorite action movie. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger in, well, basically any movie, or Sigourney Weaver before she blows a stranger out of the airlock or burns it with a flamethrower. All McBain movies also work.
See you, top result.