Find Toolbar

Blake checked in the new Find Toolbar on the aviary branch (aviary branch builds). To open the Find toolbar, press Ctrl+F. Typing text into the Find toolbar automatically selects the first result as you type (in green), and it has an option to highlight all instances (in yellow). The Find Toolbar replaces the Find dialog (previously Ctrl+F), the old "Find as you type" feature, and the "Find in this page" option in the search bar.

Keyboard controls:

  • Ctrl+F or / opens the toolbar.
  • Esc closes the toolbar.
  • Enter finds the next match. (Also F3, Ctrl+G.)
  • Shift+Enter finds the previous match. (Also Shift+F3, Ctrl+Shift+G.)

There is also a "links-only" mode, which is intended to make it possible to follow links using only the keyboard:

  • ' (single-quote) opens the toolbar in links-only mode.
  • In links-only mode, Enter follows the found link because the link has focus.


<luser> so much for 0.9 being feature complete ;-)
<blake> typeaheadfind is too cool of a feature to hide it for 1.0
<luser> i'd just hate to see 1.0 get rushed without proper testing
<blake> we'll do 1.0 right

Blake's checkin comment:

Find Toolbar landing. This is a work in progress but I want to get testing going. Known bugs: not currently working properly with text in textboxes, and highlight erases find selection.

Some known bugs in the Find Toolbar.

42 Responses to “Find Toolbar”

  1. fishbert Says:

    Tell me again why we have extensions…

  2. Jesse Ruderman Says:

    IMO, we have extensions so that features that reduce usability, averaged across all users, can be left out more easily.

  3. Sharki Says:

    The rules don’t matter as long as you are a dev. Rules are just there to blind out things they don’t like.

  4. Cell Says:

    What?! This gets rid of the find as you type feature? That is not cool.

    And what about case matching and wrap selections from the find dialog?

  5. Thomas Kaschwig Says:

    This toolbar is useless, if you have the googlebar installed. Will it be possible to disable it, to use normal »find as you type«?

  6. guanxi Says:

    So just typing, without pressing CTRL+F, does not initiate a search? No more Find-As-You-Type?

    The description is unclear.

  7. Blake Says:

    “The rules don’t matter as long as you are a dev. Rules are just there to blind out things they don’t like.”

    The people who do the work make the decisions. Welcome to the world.

  8. Jesse Ruderman Says:

    guanxi: You now have to press Ctrl+F, /, or ‘ to initiate find-as-you-type. A quick survey of #mozillazine showed that 75% of us often lost our place on pages by accidentally triggering find-as-you-type. It doesn’t take much time to hit / :)

  9. vfwlkr Says:

    I really wish “Find as you type” isnt removed, its by far the most practical way of searching.

    A GUI might be better for newbies.. but there should be an option to let you work faster when you know what you’re doing.

  10. Thomas Kaschwig Says:

    Jesse: Will there be an option in the preferences or about:config to restore the default find-as-you-type behavior? Although am a long time VI user, who is used to type / to search, I love the way it works in firefox now.

  11. Mike Goodspeed Says:

    Listen, it’s not going to be bad. Stop being afraid of [not even a large] change. Here’s how things are right now, at default settings:

    Start typing and it does f.a.y.t on links. (Convienent that it is always on, but sometimes when you think you are in a textbox, you might initiate a search.)

    Hit / and then type and it does f.a.y.t on all text ,including textboxes. (I use this every day.)

    Hit ‘ and then type and it does f.a.y.y on links, just as if you hadn’t pushed that button in the first place.

    NOW, if you start typing, nothing happens. This is probably to prevent accidental searches.

    If you hit / (or CTRL+F), a GUI toolbar pops up and you can start typing with FastFind (a buzzword I saw on the release notes for Fx 0.9). It searches all text (hopefully someday including textboxes). Instead of letting f.a.y.t timeout, you have to hit esc or close the toolbar. The important part is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO CLICK ANYWHERE. Just keep typing like before. Hit Esc to exit FastFind and everything works like before. Only this way you have a pretty little bar to tell you what’s going on.

    If you hit ‘, the same thing happens as if you just hit /, only it searches for links, not all text.

    Plus, the thing about the GUI is that, well, it’s a GUI. Most of us reading this site won’t need it, but it’ll gain FastFind huge exposure to the people who would benifit, but don’t look through release notes or nightly build blogs. Plus, um, it’s still a GUI that has pretty buttons for people to click. It’s got a highlighter (WHICH NEEDS TO HAVE A KEYBOARD SHORTCUT!) and bidirectional buttons so that if you run past something, you can go back with one click. Also, this combines the CTRL+F find dialog and the f.a.y.t UI (which consisted of staring at the status bar to see exactly what letters I had [mis]typed.)

    Bravo Blake. I wouldn’t have thought to do something like this, but it seems like the natural progression of the f.a.y.t engine for ease of use. Fits the Firefox mantra perfectly.

    I just hope it doesn’t get in the way. My dad hates toolbars that get in the way. =)

  12. fishbert Says:

    I don’t think anyone’s afraid of it… just that this find toolbar addition seems like the very definition of ‘extension’. Have yet to see a compelling argument to the contrary. Hell, ‘luser’ in the FAQ section (above “Blake’s checkin comment”) has made some of the best points so far, in my opinion.

  13. pb Says:

    Is this an improvement? I’ve never seen an average user use f. a. y. t. without confusion. It’s definitley a power user feature. The average person simply doesn’t search in a page. I hope there’s not too much feature creap in 1.0. Not a good sign.

  14. Martijn Says:

    I for one am glad with this new Find Toolbar.
    The old find in this page sucked (a bit), imho.
    Also, I’m glad that it isn’t that easy anymore to trigger that annoying find as you type.
    I never used it and found it ultimately irritating.

    Some (constructive I hope) criticism though:
    It would be nice if there was a drop down like menu with the find history (same for the Google search box).
    I see that this toolbar has a find-button: really a good decision. The Google search box never got an search-button, and I still find that a terrible decision.

  15. Jesse Ruderman Says:

    fishbert: The old UI (dialog + find-as-you-type + options for find-as-you-type) was more complicated. It should be an extension, not the toolbar. Unless you convince me that the Find toolbar is less usable, of course.

    pb: The old find-as-you-type, with its minimal status bar UI and weird backspace behavior, was indeed hard for newbies to use. I think the Find toolbar is much less confusing.

  16. Axel Hecht Says:

    - who thinks that a popup toolbar is a good UI? Definitly not me. So much for talking about your screen position.

    - and of course, it’d be nice if it worked more than once. In my build, it’s dying really soon, that is with less than 5 searches.

  17. Maniac Says:

    > It doesn’t take much time to hit / :)

    Really? In Russian Keyboard Layout On Windows / Becomes . And ‘ Becomes One Of The Letters From Russian Alphabet. So To Find Something In Russian I Should Press Ctrl+Shift, /, Ctrl+Shift… Not So Much Comparing To Just Typing, Huh?

    I Don’t Really See The Point To Disable Old Behavior. How Would This Interfere With The Toolbar Visible Or Hidden?

  18. Ewok Says:

    The normal old fayt may well be for power users, and a very large number of ff users are power users and this is WHY they use ff, the ability to have it work how THEY want it, not how someone else wants it. This had better not be the start of moronifying it like an MS product at the expense of people that actually HAVE some computing knowledge and skills.

    If 75% of people are too thick to work out that when you start typing, it does a fayt, then they have a serious problem up top. I have never ONCE mistakenly done a fayt by typing in the wrong place. And if they cant handle it, theres absolutely nothing stopping them turning it off now is there?

  19. Lor Says:

    Oh no, this is horrible. The single most time-saving feature bar tabbed browsing in firefox was type-ahead find for links.

    It was brilliant. You could go to a home page, type and find a link, press enter to activate the link, type and find a link on the new page, and so on. It was a massive time-saver.

    Now you have to press ‘, which is on a different (and possibly hard to find, requiring shift and/or ctrl), place in every keyboard layout, then type. Then, to find another link on the new page, YOU HAVE TO DELETE WHAT’S IN THE FIND TOOLBAR and start again, or press ESC and then ‘ again. Result: much wasted time.

    I can see this being useful for normal users, but PLEASE can we have something similar to the old behaviour as an option? Even simply having the find bar always open, with focus automatically switching to it when you start typing, would be fine…

  20. ruslan Says:

    Maniac: forget russian (or any intl) kb layout. Firefox is for English world, and such arguments are nothing for dev.

  21. Antonio Says:

    I admit i didn’t fully get it until Mike Goodspeed explanation. Sure some other comments were misdleading and this is an informal introduction but in mozilla folks place, i’d put more care in communication. As of “luser” concerns to me too they sound not completly immotivated: 0.9 final was quite buggy.
    That said the new feature seems a smart compromise of different searching behaviours, a good integration of f-a-y-t and search dialog. Can’t wait to see it in action. Curious to see how it fits with tabs.
    Being a vim user i’d also feel at home with an history triggered by arrows up/down, provided this doesn’t bloat the panel.

  22. Coffeebreaks Says:

    really disappointed…

    The argument that for non us keyboard is really true. I now have to find the key to type each time I change keyboard type (which I do all the time).

    FAYT was one of the 3 features I was always showing to people to convert to mozilla/fire*.

    I’ve never seen any poll, anything that would make such decision based on something more than a power call from the developers. I don’t mind them being able to take decision, but i’ve seen many many decisions taken lately that don’t involve users. Ah and don’t tell me that #mozillazine was a representative set of the users.

    So much for having been a loyal mozilla user since day one. Thanks a lot.

  23. guanxi Says:

    Jesse – If our goal is to increase the number of users, arbitrarily removing familiar features doesn’t help. Let’s make the old way of initiating FAYT a non-default option, everyone will be happy.

    I support many end users; we train them all in FAYT and haven’t had one complaint. It’s odd to see something ‘fixed’ that only a few people decided was a problem.

    Other than that, the toolbar looks great.

  24. José Jeria Says:

    I guess i have to get used to this new find, but my first impression is that it is not so user friendly.

    Thinking from a regular users point: If I want to find on the page i hit ctrl+f and i get a new toolbar, something that is not so obvious/clear at the first time you do it. When done searching the toolbar stays, I am not so sure that a regular user will close it, taking up space from the browser window. You have the close button to the right, that is very close to the close tab button, so you have to think twice (well not really, but you get my point) to be sure you click on the right button.

    For me personally, I cant use FAYT by just typing, i have to press ctrl + 7 for the / (swedish keyboard), or ctrl + f, making it an extra step.

    As I said, i have to get used to it, but right now i miss the old dialog that I think most users coming from IE would expect.

  25. Will Rickards Says:

    I definitely think the previous behaviour should be an option, and not just a ‘hidden’ one either in about:config. For new users the toolbar sounds great. For power users the old behaviour rocked and the new behaviour doesn’t preserve some key elements that let you search more efficiently. Maybe the old behaviour becomes a mozilla foundation created extension?

  26. Ted Mielczarek (luser) Says:

    fishbert: I like the feature. I was just concerned about 1.0 being rushed, as I felt 0.9 was. This is a great feature, but at some point they’ve got to stop adding features, shake out all the critical bugs, and make a release. You can’t very well make the next release 1.0RC1 if you’ve added features since 0.9/0.9.1.

    Everyone else: This is the exact same argument we hear whenever something is added/removed. Do you guys have a template for posting these comments?

  27. Brian Says:

    Yes please add the fyat feature as it is now in as an option! It’s one of my favorite time-saving features. Whenever I want to search a page I just start typing then hit F3 to find the next result instead of having to press ctrl-f like in IE. This doesn’t sound like it owuld save me much time but it really does! Every time I open IE on another computer that doesn’t have FF I find myself typing to search and then I get pissed because nothing is happening then I remember that I’m using IE not FF. PLEASE just add the old fyat feature in as an option.

  28. Tim Says:

    From the viewpoint of someone who uses a browser all day long: Find As You Type is currently a terrific timesaver and a change that means I can no longer navigate links just by typing is a step backwards. I haven’t tried the new version yet and the discussion makes it sound like it’s no longer available unless I learn a new prefix. Please don’t remove this feature.

    I don’t want to have to manage a toolbar just to navigate links on the page. FAYT gets out of your hair after a few seconds when it times out. Mike says the new toolbar can be closed with Esc, which is good, but doesn’t seem as elegant.

    I’m curious whether the new Find Toolbar is triggered by javascript:window.find();void 0; I hope so if it is replacing the find dialog. To replace the dialog, the Find Toolbar should have the options for match case and match links or you’ve gone backwards in functionality.

    I have some concerns: How well does the toolbar replace the dialog in small windows or those without the rest of the toolbars and menus? What happens in full screen mode?

    Looks like I need to go get a build.

  29. thenightfly42 Says:

    1. Is the find-text supposed to clear between tabs? I liked how the old FAYT would keep the current search in memory, and I could keep hitting Ctrl-G to find the same word on a series of tabs. Since the Find Toolbar appears above the tabs, it seems that it should still persist.

    2. I’d prefer if the Find Toolbar appeared at the bottom of the page, just above the Status Bar. This would prevent the text from jumping up and down.

  30. decompyler Says:

    I’d like to reiterate that this does sound like ‘extension’ material. The devs should not be focusing on fixing something that isn’t broken when there are other major issues. How about an needed option like controlling the way new windows open or are reused in tabs? That is something I should not need an extension for.

    The current FAYT is more than fine. Most newbies do not find text anyways. And I have watched many of people navigate Firefox and not once have I noticed someone loose their place because of FAYT, they can always turn it off as it stands if that is a problem. Please leave it alone or push this to an extension.

    Not very ecstatic about this ‘feature’ :(

  31. grayrest Says:

    This toolbar is a great replacement for the find dialog, a big usability win compared to something that got in the way as much as it helped.

    I’m assuming that this doesn’t disable typeahead find without the intial key, just that the pref for it will be turned off by default.

    If that’s not the case, please consider the disabled who can type but lack mouse control and laptop users. I always thought that typeahead find was an accessability feature.

    Also, this toolbar wants extensions. Mainly one that puts it in the statusbar or just above and optionally hides it on or .

  32. thenightfly42 Says:

    3) I’d like to see a visual indicator for ‘text not found’. Perhaps the textarea could light up red, the same way the main URL bar lights up gold when you enter a secure site.

  33. Greg Says:

    Quit bitching people. When Find-as-you-type (origianlly called type-ahead-find) was first introduced, it required the / or ‘ keypresses to initiate it. LATER, they took away the ‘ trigger for links. That made for LOTS of accidental searching. Two days ago, it STILL had the / trigger to search all text. Now it’s just back the way it used to be.

    The reason there wasn’t any complaining about FAYT was because 90%+ of users probably either never used it and/or didn’t know it existed.

    For other keyboard-layout users: maybe file localization bugs to use different trigger keys in localized builds. Or maybe file a bug to allow an about:config pref to easily change the trigger keys.

    If you make a strong case for your situation, the devs will listen. If you whine, they won’t.

  34. David Says:

    Just downloaded, and messed with it a bit. It seems to keep independant searches for each tab – switching between tabs shows whatever was searched for there. Sometimes the toolbar seems to time out, other times it stays. Haven’t quite figured out what triggers the timeout. Main difference is that I need to remember to watch the top left of the screen instead of the bottom left to see what I’m typing.

    If you use the highlight function, the highlights stay even if you dismiss the toolbar. However the highlighting appears to be global, not per-tab, though it may take switching between tabs to make the highlight take effect (and it doesn’t go away on a non-focused tab if you turn off highlighting in a different tab).

    Problem: Type in a search, hit F3 to find next. The toolbar disappears. Hit F3 to find another next, toolbar reappears. Just generally a lot of weirdness trying to work out what keeps the toolbar, what dismisses it, and what makes it timeout.

    Now to find out what this Live Bookmark thing is about…

  35. Jafe Mourner Says:

    Blake- this toolbar looks awesome, it will be a great way to introduce the feature to new users and may even be handy to the crusty types who have used Firefox since… er… Phoenix 0.1. :) However, there definitely NEEDS to be a pref in about:config to be able to do find without typing “/” first. No ifs, ands, or buts there.

  36. blimundus Says:

    1. The Esc button is so far away! I’ll never get there… The same is true for the X button on the Search Bar.

    2. Typing ‘ requires two keystrokes on my American Inspiron, which is two too much.

    3. The good thing: I you want to look through the text, not just the links, there’s no searchbox anymore. That box always seemed to choose the wrong place on my screen. However, I use FAYT much more for links than for text.

    It will take some getting used to…

  37. Skotlex Says:

    Hmm… regardless of how things turn out, we WILL have type-ahead-find (or whatever it is called now) without a toolbar popping up. If it isn’t on the FireFox official build, someone will write an extension for it, since so many people want it, the people WILL have it (even if it means writing an extension).
    The one thing I have noticed, and I hope, is that the start/stop keys for this should be configurable for the extension “Key-Config”. I have left a message at the Key-Config extension page asking to add entries for the starting and stopping of type-ahead-as-you-find (would be by default: /, ‘ and ESC). I haven’t heard word from the Extension’s maintainer, but I hope it isn’t impossible to do (and if it’s impossible to do, then I hope you guys who are working on this Type-Ahead thing will make it easy for that extension to modify these keys).

  38. grrrrr Says:

    Why is this in the aviary, it should be on the trunk.

    I use type ahead find everyday and its the most useful feature FF has for me. Why I like it? Because you DON’T need an iniator like “/” “,” or “ctrl-f”, we might as well just use the find window….grrrr

  39. Kraftwerk Says:

    sorry, but I hate it.
    an option to turn it off would be nice?

  40. Jesse Ruderman Says:

    Fans of the old find-as-you-type feature might want to vote for one or both of these bugs:
    allow disabling of Find Toolbar with Find As You Type
    starting to type no longer activates find-as-you-type

  41. Cusser Says:

    I think that to satisfy both camps (for and against the toolbar) we need to make some alterations here… my suggestions would be:

    - A keybind to clear the field.
    - A keybind for using the highlight toggle.
    - Automatic activation by typing (find as you type).
    - Status indication, in the statusbar or in the find toolbar itself… since the URL was shown before for links, and feedback was given.

  42. vfwlkr Says: