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Chapter 3. Finding Information with Fire... > Working with Firefox’s Keywords Syst...

Working with Firefox’s Keywords System

Firefox offers many unique tools and techniques. This is a direct result of a product that is not only driven by the users, but developed by them as well. One very powerful system in Firefox is the keywords capability.

With keywords, you can type a keyword in the Location bar and Firefox goes to the desired site and uses that site’s search to find the search terms. Configuring keywords is not difficult, but it’s not well documented. Let’s go through an example, step by step. Go to a site that has a search box. This site could be a search engine or any site that has an internal search capability.


Keywords are not case sensitive, but you can define both upper- and lowercase keywords using the same characters. For example, you can create two keywords: HID and hid. I try to avoid confusion by always keeping my keywords lowercase—it is easier to type and being consistent helps me avoid any conflicts.

Start with adding a keyword:

  1. Navigate to the desired page (it must have a search edit box).

  2. Right-click the search edit box on the page (see Figure 3.5). Don’t try to right-click Firefox’s Search bar.

    Figure 3.5. At any site that has one, right-click the search box and select Add a Keyword for This Search.

  3. In the Add Bookmark window, type a name for this bookmark and a keyword (see Figure 3.6). When done, click OK.

    Figure 3.6. A search bookmark differs from a regular bookmark, in that it lets you specify a key in addition to the name.

  4. Use the keyword. In the Location bar, shown in Figure 3.7, type the keyword and a search term. The search term can be anything the site expects you to use.

    Figure 3.7. In Firefox’s Location bar (not the Search bar!), type the keyword and search word.

  5. If all goes well, you should be taken to the site’s search results (see Figure 3.8).

    Figure 3.8. Press Enter after typing a keyword and search term in the Location bar. Firefox goes to the site and tells the site to search.

Now, if that isn’t the coolest trick, then nothing is.


This cannot be done when selecting Bookmarks, Add Bookmark. Firefox does not know where the search terms should be placed, so you must right-click the site’s search edit box.

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