Danny Iachini’s Weblog

My Nerdy Stuff

Incremental Search

As if I needed another reason to LOVE Notepad++, I found one more.  While reading my new favorite blogger at Coding Horror, I stumbled upon this entry about incremental search (from this rant about code folding).  I hadn’t heard the term “incremental search” before, so it was one of the billion links I clicked to learn more.  Even though I hadn’t heard of it, it’s something that I’ve been using for years!  Incremental search is the method that I use every day in Firefox.  Ctrl+F in Firefox brings up the little Find bar at the bottom of the window (neat trick for ya: pressing Esc while you’re in the Find bar will close it), and it gives you a much better way to find something than the disgusting Notepad dialog box.

So while reading that Incremental Search entry, I got to thinking: “I wonder if my favorite text editor has an incremental search…”  I pulled Notepad++ back up from my taskbar (in case you’re wondering, I almost always have 2 programs open on my laptop – Firefox and Notepad++ (and, at work, Outlook Express because I can’t minimize it to the tray)), and got looking.  After 0.5 seconds (that’s how awesome Notepad++ is), I found my incremental search in the Search menu.

Now whenever I need to find the function I’m looking for or a variable name that I don’t remember the proper capitalization of, I just do a Ctrl+Alt+I (hmmm.. that’s my iTunes keyboard shortcut…) and BAM!  Incremental search right there for me!

(Quick tip: if you were to paste this post into Notepad++ and do an incremental search for “search” (with “Highlight all” and “Match case” both selected), it will highlight each of the entirely lowercase instances of “search” in one color, and (if your cursor is still in the “find” textbox) the capitalized instances in a different color!)


July 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Yeah I like incremental search, but not if I have to press ctrl + alt + i. Any way to get it to respond to ctrl + f?

    Comment by Alex | July 11, 2008

  2. Absolutely! Go to Settings -> Shortcut Mapper and scroll down to number 44 and change it to Ctrl+F. You’ll also have to replace number 35 with something else in order to get the change to be the action taken by that key combination.

    Comment by dannyiachini | July 11, 2008

  3. Thank you very much. I was also looking for this technique. finally got it from here.

    Comment by Prince | June 23, 2016

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