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firefox search bar addonFirefox’s search bar is by far my favorite Firefox feature – it is one of the main reasons why I am still sticking with Firefox. There are several reasons to love it: it’s very clutter-free (all it takes is a little field to enter your search terms and an icon to distinguish your current search engine).

While being a really quiet feature, it is still highly flexible and rich in options: you can create and add as many search engines as you feel like using (including those requiring search suggestion support 10 Firefox Search Plugins That Support Search Suggestions 10 Firefox Search Plugins That Support Search Suggestions Read More ). What’s more, the search bar is tied to the right-click context menu allowing you to search for the highlighted term using the currently active search engine.


All in all, one of the oldest browser features is also one of the best – especially if you get used to it. Plus if you also try using some of the plugins listed here, you are likely to love the feature even more!

1. Enjoy Even More Flexibility With SearchLoad Options

SearchLoad Options is the smart extension that perfectly fills the gap offering some essential but missing search bar options. Its best feature is that it allows you to open search results in a new foreground tab which makes the search experience free of any clutter at all (what’s more, you can set the exceptions and let it open results in a new tab unless your current tab is blank).

Other fun features added include:

  • The ability to clear the search bar after a set number of seconds (if you are a long-time search bar user, you might have noticed that your search term will hang there until you delete it and enter a new one – which is not really productive). This addon lets you clear the search box automatically.
  • The ability to reset the search to your favorite search engine. By default, there are no “favorite”or “default” search engines in the search bar: the current one will be used until you change it. If you are a heavy user of one particular search engine (think “Google”, for example), you may want your search bar to always switch to it after you use anything else. I for one use the Google toolbar to search Google and the search bar to search Flickr CC-licenced photos How To Search & Credit Properly-Licensed Photos On Flickr [Firefox] How To Search & Credit Properly-Licensed Photos On Flickr [Firefox] Read More – therefore I have Flickr as the default search engine thanks to this addon.

firefox search bar addon

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As you may have noticed from the screenshot, I have the “Clear the searchbar” option unchecked – this is not because I don’t find it essentially handy – that’s because I am using another Firefox addon that uses the search term currently present in the search bar.

2. Easily Find & Switch Between Any Word Occurrences On The Page

It often happens that you need to quickly jump to any word on the current page or highlight them all. Firefox’s default “Find” feature can be used for that but it requires a few actions to be activated: use the CTRL+F shortcut to trigger the search field, enter the term (or copy-paste it) in the Find field and click Enter.

With the SearchWP Firefox addon things may be much quicker: it lets you use the search bar terms to navigate the page:

  • Highlight each search term with a different color;
  • Click any of the words in the search bar to easily find it on the current page;
  • Use a word highlighter to highlight all the word occurrences on a current page:

firefox search addons

The tool works much like the tools listed in my post on highlighting Google search terms on the target page 3 Tools To Highlight Google Search Terms On The Target Page 3 Tools To Highlight Google Search Terms On The Target Page Read More but it integrates the feature in the existing functionality without making you get used to any new interfaces.

The addon options let you set the minimum number of characters in a word for it to be highlighted and add the option to group the word tokens in a single menu:

firefox search addons

With the latter option checked, you will be able to jump from word to word using a handy menu which is only visible if you click on a circle:

firefox search bar addon

Do you love Firefox’s search bar as much as I do? Please share your favorite tips!

  1. Anonymous
    January 10, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    FYI:
    You may already know this about Firefox's search tool, but for those who don't; selecting/highlighting a word or term and then using Ctrl+F will trigger the search field with the selected term already active.

    • Ann Smarty
      January 11, 2011 at 8:19 am

      That's a great little tip - thanks for it!

  2. Nephil_Seraph
    January 11, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Double post. Deleted.

  3. Nephil_Seraph
    January 11, 2011 at 12:58 am

    FYI:
    You may already know this about Firefox's search tool, but for those who don't; selecting/highlighting a word or term and then using Ctrl+F will trigger the search field with the selected term already active.

  4. Tempersfugue
    January 10, 2011 at 2:35 am

    SearchLoad Options, when installed, says it is not compatible with FF3.6.13 but all seems to function o.k.

    @Penny, it's the little things you never think to ask and yet when you learn about them all you can say is "Oh, now you tell me!" and feel a total idiot, they're the worst.

    • Aibek
      January 10, 2011 at 7:11 am

      They are the worst and the best :-)

  5. Tempersfugue
    January 10, 2011 at 3:35 am

    SearchLoad Options, when installed, says it is not compatible with FF3.6.13 but all seems to function o.k.

    @Penny, it's the little things you never think to ask and yet when you learn about them all you can say is "Oh, now you tell me!" and feel a total idiot, they're the worst.

  6. Penny
    January 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I feel like a moron, but I never knew how the FIND worked on FireFox. Thanks!

    • Ann Smarty
      January 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

      No worries, Penny, I am always amazed at how many things we get to know every day!

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