Do you visit your favorite websites several times a day to search their archives? Speed that process up. Install Add to Search Bar for Firefox and search all those websites from a single search box.
Many people don’t realize it, but you can add more than the standard search engines to Firefox’s search bar. You can choose from other search options like Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon, etc. by installing them from Mozilla’s add-on database.
But what if you want to search a website that you use frequently, but can’t find in Mozilla’s search database? That’s where Add to Search Bar steps in – it does a bit of abracadara to turn any website’s search functionality into a search engine for Firefox.
Add To Search Bar In Action
To begin with, install the extension by clicking on the big green Add to Firefox button on its download page. There’s no need to restart your browser.
Open a website whose search function you’d like to access from Firefox’s search box. Navigate to the search box on the website and place the mouse pointer within the box. Right click to bring up the context menu. Select Add to Search Bar from the menu and you have got yourself a custom search engine.
The next time you want to search that particular website, type what you’re looking for in the search box next to the Awesome bar, select the corresponding site from the dropdown, and hit Enter. What you get will be the search results page as you’re used to seeing on the website. And we’re done! That’s one of the shortest tutorials I have ever written, so that should tell you something about how easy to use the extension is.
You have installed the add-on and are ready to configure a few websites as search engines. Which ones should you add first? A dictionary website like WordWeb Online or Dictionary.com would be great, for starters. Throw in a shopping portal or two, a news website, a how-to site, and Google’s Play Store. Also Kickstarter, Tumblr, and Instagram maybe? The possibilities are endless. But to avoid browser clutter, do ensure that you don’t add too many websites just because you can.
What Doesn’t Work
Add to Search Bar works well with nearly all websites, except a few of them such as Google Maps. It’s disappointing, but minor.
One common problem many users have had with Add to Search Bar is that after Firefox is updated, the search engines added via the extension disappear. If you experience the same, you can fix it with this reviewer’s workaround till the time the developer fixes this bug.
Unfortunately, the extension is limited to Firefox, but there are a couple of ways to get the same results on Chrome. Simon’s post on adding custom search engines in Chrome is one of them. The Search the current site plugin is one of the one-click options available. If you’re an Opera user, try using the Search within the site add-on to achieve something close to this feature.
A Unified Search Box To Rummage Through Your Favorite Websites
The searchbox on MakeUseOf has featured regularly as part of my workflow. I use it to find fixes for my computer problems, discover what’s new in the world of technology, get help on which apps to download, find out if an app I want to review has already been covered, and more.
I disliked the fact that to access MakeUseOf frequently, I had to either open it from the address bar every time or always keep it open as a pinned tab to save some space. That was before I discovered Add to Search Bar. After I turned MakeUseOf’s search function into a custom search engine and listed it right after the default, DuckDuckGo, my workflow became a little more Zen. That prompted me to add more websites as search engines, which has made my Web searches a lot easier.
On many browsers, including Firefox, there are alternative ways to set up custom search engines. But many of us prefer point-and-click solutions over fiddling with settings under the hood. This is why Add to Search Bar makes for such a wonderful extension, and why it earned a spot on our Best Firefox Addons page.
If you know of any other Firefox extensions to make Web search easier, we’d love to know about them in the comments.