Ctrl-F = find. Period. Full stop. End of discussion.
Except, of course, in outlook, where Ctrl-F forwards a copy of the selected message. That's a nice shortcut to have, but considering that Outlook has a find feature (a particularly braindead one, but a find feature nonetheless) it should be called by Ctrl-F. For some unfathomable reason, "Find" is called by Ctrl-E. Let's see where E is in the word "find." F, well, that's not an E. I, it's a vowel, but not an E. N is not an E, and D is close, but as close as F, which is not an E. There is no "E" in Find! Oh, and then, of course, "advanced find" is shift-ctrl-F. Makes a world of sense. Almost as much sense a the underlined letters in
The "w" is underlined in forward, so obviously ctrl-W has nothing to do with forwarding. And the "i" is underlined in find, so "i" makes things italic. Yeah that makes sense. It's nice of them to make alt-I a shortcut for find, but there's still no cross-application compatibility. In other words, ctrl-F should always call the find function. The program-random alt-underlined shortcuts are just annoying.
To recap: to use the "find" function you can use either ctrl-E or alt-I. In a just and loving world, this would not be allowed.
So, maybe Redmond realizes how bad their search is and doesn't want people to find it. It turns out that a surprisingly high number of people have no idea how to use the find function. Probably because they've been using Outlook. (Now, in Gmail, Find actually works, you know, to find things. But that's an entire other post.)