Narrow Navigation Bar With Speed Search

Narrow and select from a long folder listing Navigation Bar by typing a speed search.

Want to quickly select a file in a directory, without the mouse?

Want to really move fast through listings? Speed search is the all-purpose facility for narrowing to what you're looking for. Parts of strings, punctuation, file extensions...whatever it takes to filter down the list.

In Depth

We've discussed getting into the flow by reducing UI clutter and being keyboard-focused. We're using the Navigation Bar on-demand to get to targets in our project tree.

When we get a drop-down for contents of a directory, sometimes the listing is long. We don't want to press down arrow a bunch of times. Instead, use the IDEs "speed search" facility to quickly dive through a long listing.

As shown previously, use the Navigation Bar to get to a directory listing:

  • Activate the Navigation Bar with Navigate -> Jump to Navigation Bar (Alt-Home Win/Linux, Cmd-Up macOS)

  • Use the cursor keys to get to the target directory

We now want to select one item in the list, but using speed search:

  • Simplest case: Type one letter

  • Type a second letter...if your choice is selected, then you're done and you can act on it (e.g. press enter, Ctrl-T to refactor, etc.)

  • Type a period and a letter to search in the file extension

This becomes a very fast workflow for speeding through the navigation bar, all without using the mouse. Moreover, speed search is a pervasive pattern in the IDE.

Full Video