Probably nobody noticed it. But this is an example of how Microsoft is looking at even the smallest inconveniences and resolving them to improve efficiency. In order to understand this topic, you have to know how to perform the QAT customization – Quick Access Toolbar. You can read this article for details.
While customizing QAT, you see two lists. The list on the left side has thousands of items – all available features in the product. The list on the right side contains items which are already there in your QAT.
The idea is to find the desired item from the main list and add it to the right side list. Now, in the longer list, if you wanted to find, let us say the item “Split”, you could not type the characters s p l. Basically, incremental search did not work at all. If you typed s p l it will show you the first entry of l rather than the entry starting with spl.
This required lot of scrolling and manual searching because it is a very long list. It is not a major issue but a small irritant. However, recently, Microsoft solved this and now, the long list supports incremental search. In short, you type spl together and it will go to Split item (in Word).
We usually miss incremental improvements
The reason I am writing this article is that, most probably, I would have missed this improvement altogether. Why? Because for many years the list did not support incremental search. Once we know that something is not going to work, we just don’t try it.
Luckily, I tried it recently, hoping that true to its continuous improvement thought process, Microsoft may provide incremental search some day. And it did work.
A classic example of missing incremental improvements is associated with Excel. In older versions, if you click inside a cell and type CTRL A the entire sheet would get selected. What we wanted is to select the block of data around the selection. People just gave up on CTRL A.
But somewhere down the line (I don’t remember the exact version), Microsoft did enhance Ctrl A to select the current region of contiguous data. Unfortunately, most users who were earlier disillusioned with CTRL A never tried it again and they still don’t know that CTRL A works.
Such if life!