Idea: Ribbon Bar Item Finder

type in the property you want and the relevant tab will light up with the control highlighted

As a special reward to the people with longer attention spans, I've included a joke near the end of this blog entry. I highly recommend continuing up to that point, at least, as it is certainly one of the funnier jokes that has been written since, let us say, the invention of trans-human discourse.

But first, here's a free idea which I would like to share with our old buddies, the Office Team: why not add a 'finder' at the top of your nifty ribbon bars?

Just say you're using Winword.exe from Office 2007 and you're hunting through the ribbon bar looking for something. In this case you're wondering...

"Hmmm. how do i create a two-column layout?"

Here's my suggestion:

A small textbox at the top right could act as a navigation aid, and would also search the document.

In the example, as we type "column" into the 'finder' any tabs that contain 'Column' related properties would light up in some ambient way, with an indication of how relevant they are. (In the screenshot I've got the number "2" appearing, as if to say 'There are two Column-related items in this tab right here!')

This behaviour would happen 'as you type', much like incremental find in firefox and visual studio.

I for one could use this feature all the time.

type in the property you want and the relevant tab will light up with the control highlighted

The idea is inspired by vista's start menu search box, and by the property search experience in expression blend:

property search in expression blend

(I wanted something similar in Janus property inspectors and intellisense a few years ago)

Intellisearch highlight the words you're looking for

And now for my very funny joke. You've been good. Prepare for an excellent reward.

Q: Why did the retired mathematician sell his blackboard?

A: Because he had nothing left to prove.

2.5 dimensional view of document layout

Also here's a recent article by Paul Stovell where he suggests some changes to the designer concept for WPF. My favourite thought here is the 2.5 dimensional view of the layout. Clever stuff.


My book "Choose Your First Product" is available now.

It gives you 4 easy steps to find and validate a humble product idea.

Learn more.

(By the way, I read every comment and often respond.)

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