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Is it possible to add a search engine without using the search bar?

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I don't use the search bar. Instead I use shortcuts for search engines in the normal address bar (for example press 'y', space and then my search string to search in youtube).

If I now want to add a search engine I have to make it visible at first, then add the search engine and after this make it invisible again.

My question is now: Is it possible to add a search engine without having to use the search bar?

All Replies (7)

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Hi Cytoph,

If you wish to add a search engine the easiest method is to use the search bar (although there are other methods). That makes that search engine available to various Firefox search methods including searching from the address bar. The search bar also has options to select which of the original or additional search engines you use.

The method you are using is by adding a keyword that is explained in

You want to add another search provider to the addressbar as a smart keyword, so if we take as an example DuckDuckGO - this is already an option from the search bar but if you visit it's website you will then get a search bar displayed & you can right click to set up the smart-keyword

If you wish to search this forum site you can also add a search engine or a smart keyword to do that, click the green cross on the Firefox search bar or right click the forum search bar.

If you do use multiple searches you may finds there are addons that help you this one in particular if pretty flexible at setting up multiple independent search methods

Hopefully this explanation covers whatever problem you ran in to. Please post back to say how you get on and give more details with an example if you still have problems.

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The third link answers the question how I could add a search engine without using the search bar, BUT... this is totally not the same.

If I "Add a keyword for this Search..." I have to add a bookmark, which is not what I want. Further more the newly added search engine can indeed be used via shortcut but it is not present in the search engines when I look on about:preferences#search.

Also the other way round: If I add a search engine via search bar, their is no new bookmark for it, like it should be.

I just want the same behaviour, if I use the search bar to add a search engine or if right click on a search field on any website and use "Add a keyword for this Search...". In both cases their should not be added a bookmark, but it should be added a new search engine which I can use via shortcut in the address bar, by selecting it in the search bar and which should be shown in the search engine listing on about:preferences#search.

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There are two slightly different methods of searching.

The smart keywords are as you say just special bookmarks. Firefox gives the search a keyword of your choice. The keyword itself is just an alias for the incomplete bookmark, and in the case of it being a search it is waiting for you to enter the target string you are searching for.

You can actually add a keyword to any bookmark. You could add the keyword my to a bookmark for this post. That would allow you to type my & press Enter to find this thread. To do that bookmark Use the bookmarks manager to add the keyword my to the bookmark. In future just key my & press enter to get that thread.

If you want to add a search engine use the search bar.

If you have a search engine or search site and want to make a bookmark manually then taking the example of DuckDukGo then make a bookmark of

and use the search bar in the centre of the page that opens. If you wish add a keyword such as ddg if you type ddg followed by your search string and Enter it will work from the address bar.

Some simple searches will operate direct from the addressbar as you have no doubt discovered. The search from this forum is such a search. It actually uses

When used from a keyword whatever is entered as a test-string replaces the %s for instance

If you wish to add a search engine then use the green button in the search bar, as for example for this forum. As you say that does not add a bookmark.

I did suggest you look at the features and possibilities of the Keyword Addon. That allows you to use a separate different search engine in the Search Bar the Address bar, about Home and New tab.

Please Try This Change your default search settings in Firefox_one-click-search-engines Of course you could quite simply quickly click the search bar's down arrow and select an alternative search engine as a one off search. Or swap the default search engine.

(I know that is not answering your original question but

  • I am wondering why that is so inconvenient that you do not want to use it.
  • I wonder what search engines you are trying to use. Almost anything can be added to the search bar


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Okay, now I'm a bit smarter.

Then now I have to ask, where I can make suggestions for new Firefox features? Because I think this both cases (regardless of whether I use the option through right click on a search bar on a website or through the Firefox internal search bar) should work similarily.

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It is probably fairly consistent as it is, with an option to modify things by using add-ons. I have not been following development plans there may well be further changes or plans relating to search features already in the pipeline. There is a wishlist forum|mailing list

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Note that you can right-click a search field on a web page and use "Add a Keyword for this Search".

You can consider to move the search bar to the "3-bar" menu button drop-down list via Customization mode or via the right-click context menu of the magnifier icon (Move to Menu) if you do not want to position the search bar on the Navigation Toolbar.

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It's nice having the visual indicator on the search bar (green + dot). Maybe there's an add-on to display some kind of indication that the page contains a search engine plugin metatag so you know it's available? But if not, you can always check using a bookmarklet. Maybe:

One-time Setup:

(A) Select and copy the following script:

javascript:var srch=document.querySelectorAll('link[rel="search"]'); if(srch.length==0) alert('No search engine plugins found in this page'); else{for(var i=0;i<srch.length;i++){var title=srch[i].title||'untitled'; if(confirm('Install '+title+'?')) window.external.AddSearchProvider(srch[i].href);}} void 0;

(B) Right-click a spot on the Bookmarks Menu or Bookmarks Toolbar where you would like to save the script and choose New Bookmark

(C) In the Location box, paste the script, then in the Name box, enter something you'll remember like SearchPlugs and click the Add button

To use the bookmarklet:

Click the bookmarklet button to execute the script against the page and check for and, if relevant, add the page's search plugin(s).

What could be more handy is to find or write a Greasemonkey userscript that checks every page as it loads and adds a button into the page to install its search plugin. To stay out of your way, it would need to keep track of what it installed before.