Use Keywords to search faster in Firefox

Martin Brinkmann
May 21, 2007
Updated • Mar 30, 2018
Firefox, Search

Firefox is already a really comfortable choice when it comes to searching the web. While the search box is no longer displayed by default, it is still possible to bring it back to run searches using it.

While you can use the address bar of the browser to run searches as well, the search bar offers greater flexibility when it comes to searches.

Did you know that there is another way, even faster and better than this one?

Keyword search functionality

Firefox supports so called keyword searches which speed up the search process when you want to run searches using a search engine that is not the default. A keyword is a user-selected variable that is linked to a search engine in Firefox. You may use the keyword to run searches on the linked search engine by typing the keyword followed by the search term in Firefox's address bar; handy as you don't need to visit the search engine first or select it as the search engine in Firefox's address bar or search bar.

You may right-click any form field in Firefox and select the menu entry Add a Keyword for this search to create a new keyword powered search in the browser. Selecting this opens a new add Bookmark menu which asks for a name and a keyword.

Tip: check out our general overview of keyword search functionality in web browsers.

Keyword Search examplefirefox add keyword search

To give you an example of how this works:

  1. Go to and wait until the site has fully loaded.
  2. Right-click the search form on the page and select the add a keyword for this search option from the context menu.
  3. Use the suggested name or change it, and add a keyword to it as well, e.g. dgg.

When I want to search on DuckDuckGo now, I only have to enter ddg "phrase" into Firefox's address bar, e.g. ddg firefox to run a search for firefox.

The same method works for other websites including, Google, Yahoo, IMDB, Deviantart, Startpage, Bing, or Slashdot.

Firefox used to come with a set of default keywords for search engines but that is no longer the case.

firefox keyword searches

You assign keywords to existing search engines in the following way:

  1. Load about:preferences#search in the browser's address bar.
  2. Scroll down to the One-Click Search Engines listing.
  3. Double-click on the keyword column of the search engine that you want to assign a keyword to or edit an existing one.
  4. Type the keyword (one or multiple characters).

There is another possibility to add keywords in the browser. Any bookmark has a keyword field associated with it that is normally empty. By assigning a keyword to a bookmark you can use that keyword to open the url.

If you use gH for Ghacks for instance it would open my site if you would type in gH into the address bar. Pretty nice for sites that you do visit a lot as it can speed up the process for you; ideal if you clear the browsing history regularly or want to access specific pages (as Firefox may display site results in the list of suggestions).

Last but not least you can add wildcards to urls as well. If you edit a bookmark you see that it asks for a location and a keyword. The location is normally the url of the website and the keyword the shortcut key. A wildcard would be added to the location to further customize a search or visit a special part of a website.

The wildcard symbol is "%s" which means that a valid location would be for instance If g would be assigned as the keyword you are able to access Google websites such as adsense ( or video ( by entering g video in the address bar of the browser.

To sum it up:

  1. You can use keywords to search on different search engines in Firefox directly from the browser's address bar.
  2. Keywords enable you to load websites that you map to them right from the address bar without having to enter the full address.
  3. Wildcards are supported so that you can easily access subdomains or directories on websites.


Firefox's keyword feature is a mighty tool that can improve web search and how you access websites significantly. While it may take a minute or two to setup, and some time to get accustomed to the new options, it is well worth it in the end.

Use Keywords to search faster in Firefox
Article Name
Use Keywords to search faster in Firefox
Firefox supports so called keyword searches which speed up the search process when you want to run searches using a search engine that is not the default.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.