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Search Fields to Narrow Items in Long Lists in Dialog Boxes



It would be a huge productivity boost to have search fields on dialog boxes to reduce the number of items displayed by long lists.

The search fields should be anywhere there are long lists, but especially in the following areas:

1. Organization dialog box: Classes, Layers, Saved Views, References, etc.

2. Resource Browser: For example, searching for "metal" would show all textures, hatches, image fills, wall types, symbols, etc. that contain the word "metal".

Wildcard patterns: For example, searching *FLOOR* returns all Classes, Design Layers, Saved Views, etc. that include FLOOR anywhere (FLOOR1, BASEFLOOR, Mod-FLOOR-01).

The search field should be instant so that the results are shown dynamically as you type, not requiring you to hit 'Enter / Return'.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

This makes good sense!

The Organization dialog has plenty of room and could do with search fields on each tab without impeding existing workflows in any way.

The Resource Browser has much less room, but I think a much faster Search options would be well worth the space in the opinion of most users.


I think it would be useful in the OIP as well, but in a more collapsed way, since the OIP is full enough without a search box right above or below each item in it.

The Class or Layer dropdowns in the OIP could just have it appear when you clicked the dropdown, activating the search field directly upon clicking it (not requiring you to select the search field after clicking the menu manually) so that click the classes dropdown and immediately starting to type would start paring down the list and only show you the matching items.

Or would that be more irritating that it sounds in my head?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

For Navigation and Class/Layer lists I would say both full search and auto-scroll would be useful. For instance if you were to be searching for "Walls-Exterior-" having the list auto-scroll to that section and show you everything in that subclass would be appropriate.

BUT! Would it be common to be searching the class list for something like "Metal" and want to see all classes with Metal in the name, that may have been assigned to control class texturing, but may not all reside in the same location within the list? You might have mixed-location results like:




Or am I overthinking this entirely?

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I could see it working on the OIP for Classes and Layers like you describe, where you can either pull-down and scroll as currently, or you can start typing and the list gets shorter where you can select from that reduced list.

BUT - how the OIP search gets implemented into the UI would be critical, because it would have a direct impact on workflow if it was not engineered correctly. Search would work best on the OIP if it seemed like it wasn't even there.

I absolutely think it would be common to search for items that don't have the same naming structure.

Eg: A wildcard search of *metal* would find all items that have 'metal' anywhere in the name, even at the end. Searching for *metal would find only items that end in 'metal'.

A Google search on 'autocad wildcard' will give you an idea of the possibilities.

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