Toolbox searching in Visual Studio 2010

As I continue to use Visual Studio 2010 I still find innovative helpers that Microsoft has added along the way.

One of these is the search function within the toolbox. As VS2010 has more controls than ever it can be harder to find things. Just look at my toolbox which has some add-on controls installed as well as the defaults. I have many categories and each one has loads of controls. Finding the control I need used to mean rummaging through each category.


Microsoft has come up with a plan to fix this. They now allow for typeahead keyboard searching within the toolbox which is a definite time saver.

To do this yourself put the cursor focus in the toolbox. As you type your keystrokes get logged on the main status bar of Visual Studio. As the list gets narrowed down you might get multiple selections with the same values. If you do you can use the up and arrows OR the tab key to navigate between them. Once you have the desired control highlighted just hit the Enter key to add the control to your page. (Be sure to place your cursor in the desired location first!)

You can also cancel the search by hitting the Esc key or by moving out of the toolbox. You can also use the Backspace key to correct any typos. If there no controls matching your input then a message is displayed.


About Ken Cenerelli
I am a technical writer/programmer writer/content developer, .NET developer, Microsoft MVP, public speaker, blogger, and Microsoft Azure nerd. I blog about technology at and am on Twitter via @KenCenerelli.

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