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Re: When can Mathematica have a decent Find dialogue?

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  • Subject: [mg107516] Re: When can Mathematica have a decent Find dialogue?
  • From: David Bailey <dave at>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 05:48:37 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <hl8kvg$pb5$>

BernieTheJet wrote:
> I don't know how many times I have muttered under my breath that
> someone should complain about the lousy Find in Mathematica... but now finally
> I have decided to take some action for the greater good of all.
> First, instead of like the Find in other math softwares I use, Mathematica
> requires I hit three (actually six) keys just to do what they do with
> a Ctrl-F or an F3 key: Ctrl-C, Ctrl-F, Ctrl-V.  Jeez, what a pain.
> Why do I have to copy the expression I want to search for myself?
> 'F1' somehow is smart enough to select the entire word, why can't
> Find?
> Then, there is no 'Find whole word' option.  Very annoying.  Every
> little fragment of a word has to be pondered.
> Then, there is no 'Undo', so that if one accidentally hits 'Replace
> All' instead of 'Replace' one might as well just throw away the entire
> notebook and start over.
> Then, there is no option to skip Output and just search Input, so
> every instance of a symbol that really doesn't need to be corrected
> must be considered.
> Then, the Find dialogue drops below the searched notebook whenever one
> switches over to do some edits so that unless one has two screens one
> is forced to do Ctrl-F again to get it back.
> Then, the dialogue doesn't remember values all the time when switching
> back and forth so that if one goes back to Copy some other value, for
> a replacement value for example, the first value might revert to
> whatever value was there when it opened.
> Then, there is no 'Find First' - a pretty standard operation, no?
> And finally, the layout of the buttons is a bit non-ergonomic and
> confusing.  Really, if they just copied the Find from another leading
> competitor we'd all be better off.
> Am I wrong?
> Bernard
I suspect a lot of the people here, either use Workbench, or do as I do, 
and have their own find code (activated instead of the built-in version 
by modifying the MENUSETUP.TR file).

I tend to use a lot of extra characters, such as \[Breve], and it is a 
real pain to include these in a search string using the built-in 
facility. However, my search box is a small notebook, so I can use all 
the usual methods to enter these characters.

I agree with you, and, more generally, I think Wolfram Research tends 
make two strategic errors:

1)  They ignore convenience features like this, in favour of much more 
elaborate extensions to the software.

2)  They seem to expect everyone to use the Workbench to get the best 
out of the software. I think this is unreasonable because many 
experienced users like to continue using a single frontend for 
everything, and it really is unreasonable to expect beginners to learn 
two interfaces in order to use Mathematica effectively!

David Bailey

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