Friday, December 16, 2016

Visual Studio 2015's Busted Find Dialog

In Visual Studio 2015, Microsoft decided to wreck the Find dialog so it's perma-docked into the upper right-hand corner of the document. The dialog is too small, and the key icons (to enable case sensitive searching or searching for whole words) are too small and hard to use:

By comparison, here's 2010's:

The new find dialog in 2015 is an example of bad UI, and I'm not the only Windows C++ developer I know who seriously dislikes it.


  1. Yeah! I've found myself using more Ctrl+Shift+F and then F4 instead.

  2. Ctrl+Shift+F gives you a bigger window.

  3. There's still a Find and Replace dialog (ctrl+shift+F) with the same old functionality, but I really like how the new quickfind shows a progressive search as you type, and how its non-modality allows for matches to remain hilighted while you interact with the document. Keeping a non-modal dialog docked to the upper right seems to make sense for that. If you're using a maximized window on an ultrawide monitor then I could see how the position could be inconvenient, but otherwise why would it bother you?

    The quickfind dialog can be horizontally resized - what's the complaint about it being too small? Sometimes not realizing it's still open? As for the icons, my primary complaints would be that their hilighted state isn't clear enough, and also I never remember what the hotkey is to toggle toggle them (a hint popup while holding alt would help). As for "hard to use" - do you mean the icons are hard to click on (too small), or their functionality isn't clear from the icon?

    I do agree that MS could have had the best of both worlds if they allowed vertical resizing so the option icons could get full-line descriptions and allow undocking into a modal dialog, but, as someone who prefers the new UI, I want to fully understand the complaints. Oh and also I'm developing an IDE with similar functionality.

    1. The icons are very small, and honestly quite fiddly. Another dev I know just hates them. All of this is subjective, of course, but I think the new dialog could be much better.

  4. I think that was in 2013 already if not '12.

    Personally I don't understand what's the reasoning behind leaving only either FindNext or FindPrev buttons in this small docked window.
    Did anyone at MS ever accidentally clicked one too many times, had to click down arrow, switch it to FindPrev, click FindPrev and switch it back (because more often You want the FindNext)?
    You can resize that window how long You want, but can't add another 30px button.

    Only reason I can find is that they want us to memorize the keyboard shortcuts for every option.

    Still ain't that bad - I remember in VS2012 on rather weak laptop if system was under load (like building) when You clicked "find+f, " it sometimes didn't open window fast enough, so You ended up in writing text in document You were editing instead of dialog...