I tend to use the search feature and get the highest sample I can, although sometimes I just click through.
Tips for finding Earth-Like planets: Look for F, G, or K Class stars. M class habitables will almost always be tidelocked. Oceanias can, of course, also be habitable, they just have tiny amounts of land.
It depends. If im in trhe Enterprise, I use Universe Map with a scanning range of no more than 1.8 parsecs. I think the Enterprise actually has a scan range of about 1 parsec. Any planets with multi cellular terrestrial life, I rename the star system for and bookmark. Just as an example
I sometimes travel in spaceship mode using the TARDIS, and sometimes simply fly around in free mode. Generally I find star systems simply by clicking on stars and using the solar system browser, but sometimes I go in mao mode.