Quick tips are random posts regarding something I discovered on my way to something bigger. They usually get longer than “quick” would imply, for which I refuse to apologize.

This might not be news to most people, but I thought I’d point it out for any Firefox users that don’t know about it: you can add a custom search shortcut for any site, allowing you to use a short keyword followed by search terms and execute the search without going to the site, clicking search, and entering terms.

To add a custom search:

  1. Go to the site you want to search and use its search field to run any search.
  2. On the results page, add a bookmark. You can edit the bookmark title to a generic <SITE NAME> search in this step or in step 4.
  3. Open up the Bookmarks sidebar (B) (or open the Bookmarks manager with O) and locate the new bookmark. Right click it and choose Edit Bookmark.
  4. Change the search term in the URL to %s. E.g., if you searched for frog, find frog in the URL and replace it.
  5. Add a short “keyword” and edit the title to a generic “X Search” if you didn’t already. The keyword is the short text you’ll use to access the search. It can be as short as one character.
  6. Save the edit.

Now you can just focus the URL bar (L), type the keyword followed by a space and whatever search terms you want to use. The search page will be loaded directly with the results!

Hope that’s useful to some people. The same thing can be done in most browsers, I just happen to be using mostly Firefox these days. Feel free to add tips for your browser of choice in the comments.