Design/Whiteboards/Find Bar

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This page covers find bar improvements that have been derived based on a discussion to remove the "Search and Replace" toolbar item in several applications. For the complete thread, please have a look here.

Requirements and Constraints


Usage Data

Usage numbers for the Find & Replace dialog for all applications ...

FindAndReplace UsageNumbers.png


Proposed Changes

Topic Description Comments

Available Functionality

It has been proposed to add a "match case" checkbox. But, the "match case" check-box is not used that often. Here, it might be more important to have access to the "advanced" find - so it is rather to move the "find/replace" dialog button from the standard toolbar. In the best case, a button "Advanced..." (or "Find and Replace") will open the Find/Replace dialog pre-filled with the current find-bar search strings.

Kendy: Done, the 'Find & Replace' is now available in FindBar.
Better Button Names

Button captions should be added. In the spec review I did that time, I proposed to use "[Forward]" and "[Backward]". Surely, it is less simple than "Next/Previous", but we use it throughout the software (e.g. in the Navigator).

Kendy: [Previous]/[Next] is used in Firefox, I don't consider it confusing there (and Firefox has much more extensively used [Back]/[Next] that might confuse people - I think it does not.
Improved Artwork

The artwork is clearly OOo 1.x (Industrial Theme, see website). Personally, I would like to re-use the (less dominant) icons currently used within the navigator - although they look dated as well. A quick-fix (tm) might be the use of newer Tango icons.

Kendy: Done, the themes with the exception of the Galaxy theme are using the Tango icons.
Providing Simple Notifications

There are several notifications - e.g. nothing found, or wrap-around. It would even be nice to know how many times the search term has been found ... so surely, this would be good.

The OOo guys tried to address it the non-modal message way - unfortunately, it is not yet available in OOo (as far as I know).

So, placing that in the find bar would be an intermediate solution (my POV).

Extension manager uses similar bubbles to notify you about updates. However, the real bubbles look quite a bit more broken than in the mock-up. --Astron 2011-07-30T19:40:48 (CEST)

Adding a Caption

If the user presses CTRL+F, then he directly jumps towards that bar (maybe accidentally). Since the focus is directly set to the (now empty) text box, he'll never see the explanation text "Find".

Proposal: If we have sufficient space, let's add a "Find:" in front of the search box.

The current text "Find" should be replaced to "Search terms" - or something like that. It may even be empty.

Closing the Find Bar

A new issue: Kendy proposed to get rid of the toolbar options menu (the dropdown at the right side). Now, users may be unaware how to easily (=visibly) close the toolbar. So I propose to add a closer icon "x" like we have for the slide sorter in Impress (right side).

Currently, when the Find bar is floating, it gets its own little "x." This begs the question: should Find bar 3.0 be able to float? (If yes, we'd need a solution for the two close buttons.) --Astron 2011-07-30T20:11:54 (CEST)

Summary of the Changes

The bar would now look like:

| Find: [             ] [Forward] [Backward]         [Search and Replace...] [x] |

Open Questions

  • Christoph: There are a lot of details that have to be clarified ... e.g. technical feasibility (e.g. highlight default button when in the find text box, removing the toolbar handle, handling the "missing" find functionality if the user doesn't know Ctrl+F, ...). These will be addressed with the development and their technical advice :-)
  • Caolán (Mail 2011-06-17):Yeah, we can probably work something out. Would also need to decide whatwe want to happen wrt what to put into the find and replace dialog whenthere are both selected contents in the document, and different contentsin the find bar, and nutball stuff like having multiple findbars.

Future Work

For "Search 3.0" (tm), we really should consider to connect this stuff with the Navigator and some of the (currently) separately used shortcuts.