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To me the Firefox search bar is an indispensable tool and one of the few features that I cannot part with. Now of course I’m talking about my modified version of it. The default version is pretty good already, but there are still a few things that can be improved. Here are five steps anyone can take to improve their search experience.

1. Shortcuts

It’s tedious to take your mouse and move it up into the toolbar to hit the search bar when all you want to do is look something up real quick. Instead click [CTRL] + [K] to instantly find your cursor in the search bar and use [Ctrl] + [DOWN] or [CTRL] + [UP] to navigate through your search engines.

If yo’re interested see what are Top 5 Firefox shortcuts Top 5 Firefox Shortcuts You Can't Live Without [Poll] Top 5 Firefox Shortcuts You Can't Live Without [Poll] Read More among MakeUseOf readers. Or just download a Firefox cheat sheet 10 Essential Cheat Sheets To Download 10 Essential Cheat Sheets To Download Read More with all the shortcuts.

2. Customize

Don’t like the location of your search bar? Move it. Right-click into any Firefox toolbar and select >Customize from the menu. A window will open. Then left-click and hold the search bar, move it to its new location and release the left mouse button.

3. Open Search Results in New Tab

What I found very annoying after updating to Firefox 3, was that searches wouldn’t open in a new tab and no option was to be found to change this. However, there is a simple fix that requires some editing of the ‘about:config’. Type ‘about:config’ into your URL bar and hit enter. You’ll see this:

open search results in new tab


Don’t worry, we’re not going to break anything. At least we’re not going to instruct you to. ;) So click the button, then look for “” and double-click it to change its value to “True”. That’s it.

4. Organize & Add Engines

Click on the current search engine icon in your search bar, a list of engines will appear, click the option >Manage Search Engines at the very bottom.

This is where you can change the order of your search engines, edit their names and remove ones you won’t need.

add and remove search engines

Towards the bottom of the “Manage Search Engine List” window you’ll see a link that says >Get more search engines. You can also visit the Mycroft Project to select additional search engines. In both cases the process of adding a search engine is quick and easy. Just click the desired engine to add, the window pictured below will pop up, click >Add, and you’re good to go.

5. Add Make Use Of

A few months back Mark wrote a post about how you can add a Make Use Of search engine How To Search MakeUseOf from the Firefox Search Bar How To Search MakeUseOf from the Firefox Search Bar Read More to the list. So if you like us well enough, please add us! :)

Do you use your Firefox search bar a lot? What other tweaks do you know of?

  1. Nesceo
    September 17, 2008 at 10:55 am

    I use the Add to Search Bar add-on to at search engine's to my search bar.

    From the site: "Have you ever wanted to have a search engine available in the search bar of Firefox that is neither shipped by default nor to be found on Mycroft? With the Add to Search Bar extension you can add the search functionality of any page to the search box by navigating to the search engine, placing the mouse pointer on top of the search engine's search box and clicking "Add to Search Bar"."

  2. rok
    September 17, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Don't forget the ubiquity extension which is the best way to search very fast in firefox.!

  3. Shankar Ganesh
    September 16, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for tip #3. I was always wanting to know how to do that!

  4. Aibek
    September 16, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    @ TIna

    Great tips.
    I woul like to add "keyword searches" to it. This has been my best Firefox searh feature fo ages. I will be doing an article about it soon. Meanwhile you can read about it

    How To Be More Productive with Firefox Quick Searches

  5. Jimmy Rogers
    September 16, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Don't forget that the YubNub ( command for MakeUseOf is "MUO" followed by the search query!

  6. Alan
    September 16, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    3. Open in New Tab can also be achieved using ALT + ENTER after entering your search term

    • Tina
      September 16, 2008 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks Alan, totally forgot about that one!

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