Open Search

This quick tip explains how to use Open Search to search various websites for words or phrases contained in email messages.

How to use Open Search

Highlight some text in a message, then right click and select Search the web for: text from the context menu:

open search menu option

A new tab will open within Thunderbird that shows the search results on your default search site.

open search results

Highlight some text in a message, then right click and select Search search provider for "text" from the context menu:

open search menu option

Thunderbird will show the search results in your default browser.

How to change the default search engine

The sites that you can search are displayed in a vertical toolbar on the left of the search results.

  • Click the site icons to re-run the search on a different site.
  • Use the next and previous arrows to move backwards and forwards through the search results.
  • Click the heart icon at the bottom of the toolbar (lower left corner of the screen) to set the current search site as the default. (The heart is red when the currently selected site is the default.)
twitter open search results

By default, Bing is set as the default search engine. To change it, do the following:

  1. At the top of the Thunderbird window, click the Tools menu (Alt + T) and select Options…OptionsIn the menu bar, click the Thunderbird menu and select PreferencesAt the top of the Thunderbird window, click the Edit menu and select Preferences, or click the Application menu button New Fx Menu and choose Options…OptionsPreferences.
  2. Select the General panel.
  3. Under Default Search Engine, use the drop-down menu to select your preferred search engine from the list.
  4. Click OK to close the dialog.

How to add Google to the search engine list

By default, Google is not included in the search engine list, but you can add it simply by installing the Google Search for Thunderbird add-on. After you install the add-on, Google will be available in the list of search engines.

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