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Posted 7 May 2010

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Tips & Tricks: Incremental Search in Visual Studio 2010

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7 May 2010CPOL2 min read
Incremental search in Visual Studio 2010

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 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. Let's 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 at the below figure:

Image 1

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:

Image 2

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

Image 3

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 in the forward direction
  • (Ctrl + Shift + I) => Starts & moves the incremental search in the 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 «IN»
Technical Lead
India India

Kunal Chowdhury is a former Microsoft "Windows Platform Development" MVP (Most Valuable Professional, 2010 - 2018), a Codeproject Mentor, Speaker in various Microsoft events, Author, passionate Blogger and a Senior Technical Lead 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 app development. He posts his findings, articles, tutorials in his technical blog ( and CodeProject.

Books authored:

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Comments and Discussions

Questionnice Pin
BillW3324-Apr-12 5:21
professionalBillW3324-Apr-12 5:21 
GeneralVS2008 has done that for years... Pin
Luc Pattyn21-Aug-11 0:57
sitebuilderLuc Pattyn21-Aug-11 0:57 
QuestionOld news... Pin
Axel Rietschin3-Jan-12 6:35
professionalAxel Rietschin3-Jan-12 6:35 
AnswerRe: Old news... Pin
Kunal Chowdhury «IN»3-Jan-12 7:52
professionalKunal Chowdhury «IN»3-Jan-12 7:52 
GeneralNice Trick! Pin
ryanoc33312-May-10 3:41
Memberryanoc33312-May-10 3:41 
GeneralRe: Nice Trick! Pin
Kunal Chowdhury «IN»12-May-10 8:04
professionalKunal Chowdhury «IN»12-May-10 8:04 

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