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All I find from googling "disable incremental search" is a bunch of people telling me how great incremental search is. It isn't. Firefox has the worst version of it, jumping around and making me lose my place because of a search I haven't even finished typing yet. I don't want the window scrolling up and down without my say-so.

It would be nice if I could search with regular expressions, like text search has been done in every non-toy application since ed. But the jumpiness of the window is the overriding concern.

How can this evil be defeated?


I see now that I was unclear in specifying exactly which user interface element I was talking about. I'm talking about the simple text search that you can get to by typing Control-F or using "Find" in the Edit menu. I should have specified that originally. Sorry for the waste of time caused by the ambiguity.

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The "search for text when I start typing" checkbox is not checked in Tools/Options/Advanced/General but the incremental search is still happening. – Alan Curry Jul 4 '12 at 1:16
Did someone delete an answer? I had it briefly, then I looked at the Tools/Options/... checkbox and decided to restart Firefox, and when I got back the answer was gone – Alan Curry Jul 4 '12 at 1:18
Yeah, I did because I was saying to uncheck that box that you're talking about, but then I realized that didn't solve the problem. – imtheman Jul 4 '12 at 1:55
Well that option is actually for if you just started typing without first going into the find box. It's called quickfind. I don't know of any way to do what you are trying to do. – imtheman Jul 4 '12 at 7:31
I just want to be able to do a search and not have the current screen yanked from my sight before I'm done. Not only is the near-complete-screen-redraw on every keystroke distracting, I often want to construct a search based on what I'm already looking at, and that is impossible because of the unsolicited jumping around. – Alan Curry Jul 4 '12 at 7:46

FindBar Tweak 0.5.5


Delay the highlights if the search term is shorter than a defined number of characters (default is 3) to improve performance

Hopefully this will work for you.

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That checkbox seems to only delay the effect of some additional highlighting provided by the same add-on. Here's a test case for what I'm talking about: scroll to the top of this page. Type Control-F. Now type in "advertising info" (some text that appears at the bottom of the page). Did the screen jump around while you were typing? That's the problem! Well, you're going to find the phrase in this very comment instead of at the bottom of the page. But it's a good enough demo. – Alan Curry Jul 5 '12 at 3:42

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