Firefox Keyword Searches - gHacks Tech News

Firefox Keyword Searches

Roman was asking me if there was a way to add keyword searches to Firefox in a similar manner that Opera allowed him to do.

So-called keyword or alias searches allow you to run custom searches in the browser by typing the keyword followed by the search term. Each keyword is associated with a search engine so that you can run as many custom searches as you want in the browser without having to change the search provider.A default keyword search in Firefox is "w keyword", e.g. "w firefox" to search Wikipedia for the search term firefox. Those keyword searches are entered in the Firefox address bar just like any other search or address.
Firefox ships with several default keyword searches included. There is "w" for Wikipedia, "g" for Google, "y" for Yahoo, "b" for Bing, "e" for eBay, and "t" for Twitter.t's not complicated to add your own keyword searches to Firefox, all you need to do is add a search results page to the Firefox Bookmarks and edit this bookmark afterwards.

You need to replace the search term with %s and add a keyword to the search. Lets take my website search as an example. Type in a firefox as the search term and press search. The url of the result should appear like this: Bookmark that page and go to Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks afterwards.

Right-click the newly created bookmark and select Properties from the menu. Now replace firefox with %s so that you get as the new location of the bookmark.

add keyword

Now enter a keyword for the search, for example "g" without the "" obviously. You can now search my website by simply entering "g search term" in the Firefox address bar.

This only works with websites and search boxes that have the search term in the url of the results.

Update: You need to click on Firefox > Bookmarks in newer versions of the browser to open the bookmarks manager. From here you continue just like described above.

search keywords firefox

Firefox ships with several search engines and their keywords. You can add search engines to Firefox easily and assign keywords to them as well, so that you do not have to use the bookmarks for that all the time.

Firefox Keyword Searches
Article Name
Firefox Keyword Searches
The guide explains what keyword searches are, and how you can add custom ones to the Firefox web browser.

  • We need your help

    Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

    We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.

    If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:


    1. ismaelj said on March 29, 2008 at 1:56 am

      There’s a better and easier way to do this: just right click on the search box of the site and select “Add a keyword to this search”, a pop up dialog will ask you for a name (“Ghacks”, p.e) and a keyword (“g”, p.e). You’re done!

    2. monkey13 said on March 29, 2008 at 6:20 am

      Why do we have to make it more complicated ?
      Just right click on the search field, choose Add a keyword for this search then follow the instruction.
      Official guide is here:

    3. Spin said on March 31, 2008 at 7:39 pm

      Doesn’t seem to work for Lifehacker. What am I doing wrong?

    4. Martin said on March 31, 2008 at 7:44 pm

      Spin I tried it with the Lifehacker search and it worked fine. Can you paste the strings you have in the bookmark ?

    5. prefekt said on June 10, 2008 at 5:02 pm

      Does this work with all versions of FF?

      I’ve steadfastily abstained from upgrading to anything beyond v1.x, as i’m used to using alt+s as a ‘send’ command. That was fine & dandy in v1.x, however any subsequent versions (>= 2.0) have used alt+s to bring up the history menu.

      Or, is there anyway to bypass that?

    6. David McRitchie said on June 18, 2009 at 7:02 pm

      For prefekt, ability to use keyword shortcuts is in all versions of Firefox. The ability for firefox to create a keyword from a search form was added in Firefox 3, but has been available via an extension long before. For a lot more information on keyword shortcuts see

      Ctrl+H is the actual shortcut for History, no need to use Alt+S to refer through the menu. (Thunderbird is not part of Firefox.) Suggest you look at a table of keyboard shortcuts for Firefox.

      Firefox 2 is no longer supported (except possibly for critical security updates), would suggest you upgrade to the current version of Firefox. and for Thunderbird
      Though if you are on 1.x better check the machine requirements

      for Martin, keywords are a lot more powerful in Firefox than in Opera. In Firefox they are stored in bookmarks and can be used as Opera uses a keyword (alias), or as Opera uses a search shortcut (stored elsewhere), and they can be combined with both and with JavaScript. All browsers use JavaScript but with Firefox you can include a substitution as well, as far as I know Opera doesn’t have that ability, unless you have the script query you for the lookup. In fact they are a lot more powerful than the Mozilla support article describes. (see reference to kws.htm above)

    Leave a Reply