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6: Forgetful Find

If you choose Edit > Find (Command-F), you’re presented with the "simple" Find dialog box, which is almost always woefully inadequate for locating items of interest, so you click More Options to expand the dialog box into its "advanced" mode (see Figure 6).

Figure 6

Figure 6 Entourage never remembers the state of the Find dialog, nor any of the search criteria you enter.

Let’s say you want to search for email containing Enter rage in the message body. Just as you click Find, you notice a misspelling in your search criteria, so you abort the search and choose Edit > Find again. Instead of remembering that the last time you chose the Find command you had expanded the dialog box to show more options, Entourage again presents you with the simple version. If that wasn’t annoying enough, your previously entered search criteria are gone, so you must start from scratch. Microsoft could simplify things by combining the Find and Advanced Find items in the Edit menu into a single Find item that remembers its prior state (simple or advanced) when chosen. In the meantime, I recommend using Menu Master to reassign the Command-F shortcut to the Advanced Find item.

While we’re on the subject of things I hate about the Find command, why is it that you must specify the scope first (subject, message body, recipient, etc.), and then the search criteria? If you inadvertently enter the search criteria first and then change the scope, kiss your criteria goodbye. Entourage erases the text field and you have to manually reenter your criteria. This behavior might be acceptable—or at least understandable—if Entourage retained separate criteria for different scopes, but it doesn’t.

Those are just a few of the things I can’t stand about the way Find works, but what really steams me is how unbearably slow it is to search for items. Microsoft, please implement Spotlight searching in Entourage ASAP! Apple got it right; searching should be so fast that there’s no need to waste time specifying detailed criteria to filter your results.

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