Use Visual Studio search

The Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) has many menus, options, and features, which can be difficult to remember. The Visual Studio search feature is a single search box that helps developers find IDE menus and options, while also searching your code. Whether you're new to Visual Studio or an experienced developer, this feature offers a quick way to search across IDE features and your code.

Search in Visual Studio 2022 version 17.6 or later

If you're using Visual Studio 2022 version 17.6 or later, you have access to a new search experience: All-In-One Search.

About the All-In-One Search experience

With All-In-One Search, not only can you search for features, but you can also search your code elements, such as files and symbols.

Screenshot of the All-In-One Search experience in Visual Studio 2022 version 17.6 or later.

The new search experience appears as an option next to the menu bar.

Screenshot of the All-In-One Search experience from the Visual Studio menu bar.

You can use the Ctrl+Q keyboard shortcut for feature searches, and the Ctrl+T keyboard shortcut for code searches.

Filters for Code Search queries

To quickly get a filtered experience, you can type the corresponding prefixes before your query or use the corresponding keyboard shortcuts to open the search with the filter you want.

Filter Prefix Keyboard shortcut
files f: Ctrl+Shift+T
types t: Ctrl+1, Ctrl+T
members m: Alt+\

Tip

To learn more about the new search experience, see both the Better search in Visual Studio and All-In-One Search available in 17.6 blog posts.

Tip

Text support (Shift+Alt+F) in Code Search has been added in preview as of 17.9 Preview 2. See the 17.9 Preview 3 brings exciting changes to Code Search blog post to learn more.

Search in Visual Studio 2022 version 17.5 or earlier

The following sections discuss the different types of search results you can find if you're using Visual Studio 2022 version 17.5 or earlier (to include Visual Studio 2019).

Unlike other search features such as Find in Files or Search Solution Explorer, the search results in Visual Studio include IDE features, menu options, file names, and more. To access it, use the Ctrl+Q keyboard shortcut to view the search box. Or, select the Visual Studio Search input box, which is located next to the menu bar:

Screenshot of the Visual Studio search box.

Note

The command executed by Visual Studio search is Window.QuickLaunch and you might see this feature referred to as quick search or quick launch.

Search menus, options, and windows

You can use the Visual Studio search box to find settings, options, and similar configuration items. For example, search for change theme to quickly find and open the dialog that allows you to change the Visual Studio color theme as shown in the following screenshot:

Search Visual Studio settings and options.

Tip

In most cases Visual Studio search will also remind you of the menu, shortcut keys, and location of each item in the results.

You can use the Visual Studio search box to find menu items and commands. For example, search for clean sol to quickly find and execute the Clean Solution command. The search results also offer a reminder of where to find this command in the menus as shown in the following screenshot:

Screenshot of an example of a search for Visual Studio menu items and commands.

Finally, you can search for windows or panels that you might have accidentally closed. For example, search for test to find and open the Test Explorer window:

Screenshot that shows an example of a search for Visual Studio windows and panels.

Search files and code

Visual Studio search also searches your solution items for filename, code, method, and other matches. In the following screenshot, a search for markdown has found the MarkdownMetaExtractor.cs file, the MarkdownMetaExtractor class, and two methods within the solution:

Screenshot that shows an example of a search for a file by using Visual Studio search.

You can also do a "camel case" search. In the following screenshot, a search for FSS has found a FolderSizeScanner file, class, and method:

Screenshot of an example of a search that uses medial capitals in a text string in Visual Studio search.

Keyboard shortcuts for search results

The search results include tabs for All, Code, Visual Studio. You can save time by using the following keyboard shortcuts for different types of searches:

  • Ctrl+Q, Ctrl+T for files, types, and members
  • Ctrl+Q, Ctrl+M for Visual Studio menus, options, components, and templates
  • Ctrl+Q, Ctrl+E to go to the All tab, for both