Well while working with visualforce pages, I was always tempted to replace the boring lookup field with a autocomplete component which searches the records as we enter text in them.
Try this out:
Setup -> customize -->search settings -->check lookup autocompletion for whichever objects you wish.
This will automatically search for records as user types in characters. I checked this for bith standard edit layouts as well as visualforce pages.
However the note which appears while you do this setting, states that this will show you the recent items.
Thought its worth sharing. Here is component that supports autocomplete(http://blogforce9.blogspot.in/2012/11/auto-complete-visualforce-component.html).
Few features of the autocomplete component
- Uses Jquery UI to create the autocomplete component.
- Look And Feel - Has exactly same look and feel as native components
- Uses Js Remoting to populate data and hence the component is very fast and light weight.
- Configurable : The search field can be configured to search fields other than "Name" field. Even the value that is returned to controller can be configured return fields other than record Id.