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(using Blender 2.79b)

Almost invariably, when I watch a video on Cycles material nodes, they have an ability to hit spacebar, then type the name of a node to add that node to the editor. For example, Space+ramp pops up a Color Ramp node. An example of this is shown below: desired result

When I try this, though, all I get is this: undesirable result

Googling told me about a plugin called "Dynamic Context Menu," but that does not allow the desired type-and-select functionality.

To clarify, I can add nodes with Shift+A and hunting through the menus that way; I simply want to have this much more efficient way of accessing them.

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    $\begingroup$ There is keymapping which makes it possible, see gist.github.com/bitinn/…. It is possible to grab only that functionality from the keymap as well if the rest is unconvinient (or just create one yourself as in the answer below) $\endgroup$ – Mr Zak Jul 26 '18 at 22:25
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I'm not sure if the node search by name is on default on the Spacebar. However you can assign it any shortcut you want.

By default, you can access the search by pressing ⇧ ShiftA > and then selecting Search. Your presented searchbar will show up and show the nodes as results.

search for nodes

(I consider it possible, that the makers of the tutorials you mention, simply pressed clicked the search option too fast for a frame to capture.)
If you wish to add an even more direct shortcut to this functionality, go to the User Preferences ⎈ Ctrl⎇ AltU. Scroll down to the Node Editor and add a new shortcut. Assign a key combination to it and enter node.add_search into the identifier field.

enter image description here

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