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Several of the comboboxes that I use regularly (the box to select syntax highlighting in the gedit statusbar, boxes for choosing smart playlist criteria in Banshee, etc) require me to click on them with the mouse, scroll down for awhile, then click on the item that I want. Being able to type into these boxes and have the list jump to the first matching entry would be a nice time saver.

So I'm wondering, has this been implemented in Gtk+ 3? If not, is there a bug report somewhere that I could subscribe to? And is there a technical reason that this hasn't been implemented, or is it a design decision. Since this behavior is common in all major web browsers, I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this, but a few minutes of Googling didn't lead me to anything relevant.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

No, this hasn't changed in gtk+ 3.

Back in 2001, a bug was reported that dropdown comboboxes couldn't be navigated using the keyboard (even the arrow keys and Enter). All parts of this bug were fixed except the part about typing text while the combobox has focus and having the list select the correct item alphabetically.

More recently, a new bug was filed requesting that combobox lists respond to all keyboard input by selecting items alphabetically. This issue is still open.

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Thanks for the confirmation. For lazy readers, the latest comment on that bug as of now: "gtk3 is the place where this kind of feature addition can happen, but the bug can easily stay open another 4 years, if nobody volunteers to work on this feature." Hopefully there's someone who knows enough to help out... Plain alpha/numerical selection within a combobox is something you see in almost every other UI, so it's weird that the otherwise-comprehensive GTK+ is missing this. ( Mnemonic-based jumping would be even better :-) ) – underscore_d Jan 3 at 15:57

Well, the syntax box in Gedit isn't a combobox, just a button with a popup menu. The Banshee boxes are regular comboboxes, not comboboxes with entries.

So to answer your question, GTK 3 does have combobox entries, just like GTK 2. But the developers of each application choose wether to use them or not, same goes for any other widget. If a developer thinks a combobox is more convenient than a comboboxentry, then that's what you get.

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If I understand correctly, gtkcomboboxentry allows free text entry, so the user could enter things that aren't on the list -- is that correct? That's not necessarily what I'm looking for. What I -- and arguably anyone who has filled out a form on the Internet -- would expect, is that even regular comboboxes will respond to keyboard input by jumping to the matching position in the list. – Michael Martin-Smucker Nov 7 '11 at 12:57
Yeah, this doesn't relate to the question. Free entry is not relevant here. – underscore_d Jan 3 at 15:58

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