Use Visual Studio search

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

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.


To learn more about current and upcoming changes to the search experience in Visual Studio 2022, see the Better search in Visual Studio blog post.

Use the Ctrl+Q keyboard shortcut to access the search box or select the Visual Studio Search input box, located next to the menu bar by default:

Visual Studio search box


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

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. The following sections discuss the different types of results that Visual Studio search can find.

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


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:

Search 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:

Search 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:

Search files with 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:

Camel hump search with Visual Studio search

Keyboard shortcuts

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

See also