Felix Crux

Technology & Miscellanea

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One of my favourite features of the Firefox web browser is surprisingly unknown and sadly underused. Keyword search bookmarks let you kick off a custom search of any site straight from the address bar (a.k.a. the “awesome bar”). For example, if you typed “w hedgehog”, you could go to the Wikipedia page for the little critters, or “img hedgehog” could show you a cute image search.

This is similar to search engine DuckDuckGo’s “!bang commands”, except you can define your own new ones and pick whatever keyword you like, instead of being limited to pre-defined ones.

You can set up a new search by right-clicking on any search field (try the one in the top-right on Wikipedia) and selecting the context menu option “Add a Keyword for this Search…”. In the dialog that pops up, just pick the shortcut you’d like to use (for example, for Wikipedia I use “w”).

Alternatively, you can do the same thing by creating a regular bookmark through the full bookmark manager (not the sidebar) and filling in the “Keyword” field. In the bookmark URL, put the string “%s” wherever you want your search term to appear, and when you trigger the bookmark search via the keyword, it will be replaced with your query.

Some of my keyword searches that I use frequently:

It’s just super handy to be able to type “map 123 main st” or “w echidna” and get to the right place — especially on a phone. You can also make great use of this at work by setting up search bookmarks for your tools; like GitHub, JIRA, internal docs, etc.

I believe Chrome can also do something similar, but it may involve a few more steps and configuring a custom search engine — I’m not sure.

I hope this feature will delight you as much as it does me!

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