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Tips & Tricks: Incremental Search in Visual Studio 2010

By , 7 May 2010
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You all know that Visual Studio 2010 is now available in its RTM version. There are lots of features available in Visual Studio 2010. In this tip, I will talk about the incremental search functionality available inside it, which is very useful in day to day life of coding.
So, what is the incremental search? Incremental search is a mechanism in Visual Studio 2010 by which you can search and focus on the searched keyword without any UI blocking from the user end. You don’t have to open the find dialog while searching for a specific keyword in your editor window.
Interested to know how it works? Let us open our Visual Studio 2010 IDE and open a sample application. Lets say in your application you have several "Customer" words and you want to find those.
First go with the old way by opening the Find pane to search. Press Ctrl + F. This will open up the Find dialog pane. Enter your search keyword to search. Thus you can find your word but as this opens the find pane, the editor window blocks by some UI. Have a look into the below figure:


Now let us go with the new way of finding keyword using the incremental search. Press Ctrl + I in your editor window. This will change your cursor to a find cursor. Now, once you start typing you will see that it actually starts finding the typed character just like the following figure:


Press Ctrl + I again to go to the next result. If you press Ctrl + Shift +I, this will search in the backward direction.


In this entire search you will notice that, it doesn't open up any extra UI in the screen, thus not blocking the editor window, which is really helpful while searching for some specific word.
Shortcuts for Incremental Search:
- (Ctrl + I) => Starts & moves the incremental search forward direction
- (Ctrl + Shift + I) => Starts & moves the incremental search backward direction
- (ESC) => Stops the incremental search


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

_ Kunal Chowdhury _
Technical Lead
India India
Kunal Chowdhury is a Microsoft "Client Development" MVP (Most Valuable Professional), a Codeproject Mentor, Telerik MVP, Nokia Developer Champion, Speaker in various Microsoft events, Author, passionate Blogger and a Software Engineer by profession.
He is currently working in an MNC located in India. He has a very good skill over XAML, C#, Silverlight, Windows Phone, WPF and Windows 8 (WinRT). He posts his findings, articles in his technical blog and CodeProject.
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Comments and Discussions

Questionnice PinmemberCIDev24-Apr-12 4:21 
GeneralVS2008 has done that for years... PinmvpLuc Pattyn20-Aug-11 23:57 
QuestionOld news... PinmemberAxel Rietschin3-Jan-12 5:35 
Nice tip, but incremental search was introduced (at least to me) by the Brief editor from UnderWare Inc in the 1980 and has been available in Visual Studio for years. It is certainly not a feature new to VS1020. There is a great (great) chance that a large part of the Windows OS and the original Visual Studio itself were written using Brief!

AnswerRe: Old news... Pinmvp_ Kunal Chowdhury _3-Jan-12 6:52 
GeneralNice Trick! Pinmemberinetfly12312-May-10 2:41 
GeneralRe: Nice Trick! PinmentorKunalChowdhury12-May-10 7:04 

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