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Firefox Quick Search

Friday, October 13th, 2006 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet

Firefox Quick Search

WorldStart’s regular readers probably remember the Firefox smart keywords tip that is in the archives. For those of you who have already forgotten, smart keywords give you the ability to go to any Web site by typing in just a little shortcut phrase instead of the complete Web site URL. In this tutorial, I am going to take this functionality even further and show you all how to search different Web sites by using the same functionality.

The popular way to search for anything using the Firefox browser is to go to the little search bar at the top right of the browser window, enter the text, select your search engine and then press Enter. Seems simple enough, right? But, if you are a mouse hating, keyboard loving soul like me, even this will start to become annoying to you sooner or later. So, what do you do? Well, you simply use the Firefox smart keyword functionality to complete your search. If you extensively search from within Firefox, this little trick is sure to save you a few minutes of your time everyday.

Okay, let’s start with this. If you go to your Bookmarks list, right click on any one bookmark and select Properties, you will see that the Properties box has a field called Keywords. You can use this keyword field to enter a shortcut that can be used to access any Web site.

For example, let’s say you visit the New York Times site every morning to get your daily dose of news and you have it promptly sitting in your Bookmarks list. To make the process even quicker, you can add a keyword for this bookmark. Say “nyt,” as you can see in the image below.

Now, when you go to visit the New York Times every morning, simply open your Firefox and press Ctrl + L. This will ensure that the cursor shifts to the address bar and clears it out for the new text you’re about to type in. Next, type “nyt” (without the quotes) and press the Enter key on your keyboard. Bingo! You will instantly be taken to the New York Times Web site. Seems easy enough, right? Now, let’s use this to search different Web sites, shall we?!

First, let me tell you that a few of the keywords are already predefined with Firefox, like Google, dict, slang and quote. To use this, you simply need to do the Ctrl + L procedure that I mentioned above. Once the cursor shifts to the address bar, simply type “dict <a word>.” For example, type in “dict dilemma” and Firefox will take you to a page that shows the meaning of the word dilemma.

Well, there’s your explanation on predefined keywords, but let’s go ahead and make a few new keywords of our own.

To show you how to do this, I am going to use the extremely popular site of Wikipedia. I don’t know about you folks, but I end up going to Wikipedia many times during my day. It’s probably one of the best Web sites on the Internet. To make a keyword for Wikipedia, first, go to the Wikipedia Web site here.

In the left panel, you will see a little search box. Right click inside that search box. In the right click menu you will see an option that says, “Add a keyword for this search.”

Click on that and a new box will open.

In the Name field, enter a name for this bookmark and more importantly, in the Keyword field, enter the shortcut you want to use to search this Web site. I suggest you keep the keyword as short as possible. For instance, here I gave the Wikipedia search a shortcut of “wkp.” Just three letters!
Use the drop down arrow in the “Create in” field to select the folder where you want this to be bookmarked. I suggest you create a new folder for these quick search keywords, especially if you intend to make them for a lot of different Web sites.

Now, how exactly do you use it? Well, this step is much simpler than picking up the 100 dollar bill you found lying on your porch. Trust me! Open your Firefox if it isn’t already. Press Ctrl + L and then type in “wkp <your search term>.” For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that I am searching Wikipedia for more information on Nashville.

Once I press Enter, it takes me to the Nashville page on the Wikipedia Web site. Is this cool or what?!

This works the same for all the other Web sites as well. Go to the search field, right click and add the keyword. The usage remains the same throughout. This goes without saying that if you search a lot on a specific Web site, this should be a godsend for you. Some ideas for common Web sites where one would like to search would be: – Your friendly tech resource. – One of the best stock photo sites. – The biggest online movie database. – Unless you have been asleep since 1995, you know what this is! – Read above. – Search among more than 17,000 free e-books.

The ones given above are only a few general ideas. Maximize the potential of this little trick by customizing it according to your specific needs. Have fun!

~ Yogesh Bakshi

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