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Use "Find As You Type" Search in Visual Studio 2005

Visual Studio 2005 includes a great feature that they call Incremental Search, but I like to call “find as you type”, because that’s really what it does.

To start using this feature, just hit Ctrl + i once, and you will see the cursor change to an arrow with binoculars. At this point, you can just start typing, and Visual Studio will automatically start finding.

It’s tough to show this off in a screenshot, but here’s the basic idea:

To start an “Incremental Search” you just hit Ctrl + i, but there’s more keys that work with this:

  • Ctrl + i – Start Incremental Search \ Find Next Instance
  • Ctrl + Shift + i – Find Previous Instance
  • Esc – Cancel Search
  • Backspace – Works just like you’d expect.

This is a heck of a lot more quick than using the normal file search dialog.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/22/06

Comments (4)

  1. Marshall Mickelson

    You can do the same thing in VS.NET 2003 as well. No searching backwards though.

  2. tommy

    For me isn’t CTRL+i but ALT+i

  3. Dmitry

    Thanks for putting this together! I am actually working on an extensive presentation on the search features in Visual Studio IDE for both 2005 and 2008 and this reminded me of a feature i almost forgot about.

    I’m such a ctrl-f addict but as of recently i am trying to break the addiction and use the enhanced options available.

  4. arnab m

    This reminds me of VI editor. A forward slash “/” would be more helpful however in VS environment it can not be implemented.

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