Visual Studio 11 Beta Improves Find & Replace

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Microsoft has been busy lately improving and fixing the Visual Studio 11 beta. The changes thus far have all been much needed updates that make the program easier to use for professionals and amateurs alike. From a more visual based UI to improving update delivery, Microsoft seems committed to making Visual Studio 11 the best it can be when it officially launches. The software is still in beta though and Microsoft is taking user feedback to heart with its latest fix.

The Visual Studio team announced in a blog post today that they are making some changes to the Find and Replace options within VS11. They had already introduced a new Find control when they launched the beta last year. While they have fixed various bugs with the new Find controls, they are now addressing some of the suggestions users have submitted.

The first is that search options can now be navigated with the arrow keys. What's more is that you can open the MRU list by just pressing the down key. This should make search options easier to find as pressing a key is much simpler than looking all over a UI for a specific list.

They are now adding back in more keyboard shortcuts from Visual Studio 2010 after customer feedback. You can now use Alt+C to toggle Match case or Alt+E to toggle regular expressions. This is still the beta so Microsoft will be adding in more keyboard shortcuts over time. You can get a list of all the currently available keyboard shortcuts for VS11 here.

The Find control is now resizable. This was apparently a "top customer request" and I can see why. Some terms are too long for the default size of the search box. This is especially true for searches involving regular expressions.

There have been some updates to the regular expression builder. It now supports .NET regular expressions as well some of the missing regular expressions from VS 2010. You can access these by clicking on the builder menu flyout.

A small change also came to the tab order. It's now consistent with the dialog, which came after the Developer Preview provided this feedback.

There are a few bugs left, however, with one of them being fixed by a small extension. The first bug is that the shared scope and search options for Quick Find and Find in Files were common across the new Find control and the Find dialog. Microsoft claims its too risky to fix in the beta, so they have released this extension to fix it for the time being.

The other bug causes a COM exception every time a document is closed with an active incremental search. Like the last bug, this will be fixed after the beta ends. As a workaround now, you should close any incremental searches by pressing the Esc key before closing documents. If you do encounter the COM exception, just hit Ctrl+F and perform a Find Next.

This latest release should fix a lot of the complaints users have had with VS11. Microsoft says they are prioritizing bug fixes based on feedback so keep on sending them suggestions.

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