If you love the search bar as much as I do, you’ll find the following three tips just awesome – they will let you quickly switch between search plugins.
1. Use Keyboard Shortcuts
The Firefox search bar has a number of really handy keyboard shortcuts built in by default. Chances are, if you get yourself familiar with these shortcuts, you’ll need no other tricks to switch between the search plugins.
CTRL+K changes the focus to the search bar box, so you can instantly type your search term or change the search plugin.
Note: Firefox used to also support the CTRL+E shortcut to do the same thing but it isn’t working in Firefox 4. You can use this addon to set your own shortcut as well.
When your focus is in the search bar you can use the ALT+down arrow key to:
- Select your preferred search engine;
- Hit the first letter of the preferred search engine to instantly jump down to it.
2. Scroll Search Engines
Heavy mouse users will find this addon very useful. Scroll Search Engines lets you change an active search engine by scrolling the mouse over the search bar or search context menu (i.e. when you’ve highlighted a word on the page and right-clicked to search the web for it). Thus it saves you two mouse clicks: you don’t have to click the search bar, and then click the engine you want to use.
The add-on also supports the following keyboard shortcuts: CTRL+K and CTRL+SHIFT+K to switch between the search engines. Optionally you can also set to scroll search plugins in a loop by configuring it in the addon options.
3. Click: Quick Search Bar
If you (like myself) seldom use a mouse (and are rather a touchpad addict), you may want to try this addon -. It places the search engine buttons inside the search bar instead of the drop down menu. Thus it saves you one click: with it, you don’t have to click the search bar to access the list of search engines in the drop-down.
As you can see, if you have more search engines than can be placed in your search bar, the rest will be available after a click:
You may want to organize your search plugins for the most important ones to be on top of the list (and thus available before the click). It can also be set to use the mouse to scroll through the search plugin icons:
The icons are also placed inside your right-click context menu:
Do you love using the Firefox search bar? What are your favorite tips to make more fun with it?