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.