Tip: Inline Search Add-In for Internet Explorer

Now that Windows Vista is nearing release, I will start posting short tricks and tips to help newbies navigate the new interface and associated applications. This will only happen occasionally as I stumble across little-known features I find useful.

I have been running pre-release builds on my laptop (IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad T43p) since Beta 2. There are many substantial changes so there will be many frustrating moments as we unlearn familiar techniques and become more efficient with this “operating system of the future.”

These hints will help me down the road as well when I forget how to do something or while upgrading another machine. I have also created a new Tips & Tricks category for future reference.

Today’s entry: Improving the default Find (not Search) behavior of Internet Explorer (IE).

Find is what do when you select the Edit / Find on this Page… menu (or press Ctrl+F). Whereas search is what you do when using Live Search, Google, Ask, etc.  Find, for the purposes of this post, is for finding text on the page you are currently viewing while search is for locating all sorts of content and information on the Web.  Now that that is all cleared up.

This tip works for IE 5.5 and later including the new IE 7.0 for Windows XP and IE 7.0 for Windows Vista.

Follow the steps below to get going:

  1. Download & Install the Inline Search for Internet Explorer Add-In (requires you to close your browser)
  2. Re-open IE
  3. Visit your favorite page (http://www.msn.com is my default homepage)
  4. Press Ctrl+F (or use the menu as described above)
  5. Start typing in the pane that appears at the bottom of your browser window

As you type, matches will be highlighted.

  • To find the next match, press F3
  • To find a previous match, press Shift+F3
  • Highlight all matching strings on the page by clicking the ‘Highlight’ button
  • To stop searching and close the pane, press Esc

That’s it. Now you can search a page quickly using the keyboard. Also, you no longer have an ugly window appear and partially block the page you are searching in your browser. Even cooler is how the add-in highlights matching terms as you type and includes the option to highlight all matches.