Make Firefox Search For Terms With Periods In The Location Bar - gHacks Tech News

Make Firefox Search For Terms With Periods In The Location Bar

When a user types a search term in the Firefox location bar (address bar, awesome bar) it is determined if the entered term is an actual web address or a search term. If it is a search term a search using the default search engine is performed. If it is a web address the web address is loaded directly.

There is one additional aspect to this that need further explanation. How Firefox distinguishes addresses from search terms. When is what you enter seen as a web address, and when is it seen as a search?

Firefox assumes that all phrases that make use of at least one period are web addresses and will try to load them even if they do not make sense at all, for instance if they do not use a valid domain extension.

This can be quite frustrating if you want to look up a file name in a search engine for example, as you will get a not found error when you enter it directly.

You can test that yourself by entering svchost.exe in the address bar and hit enter afterwards. Firefox will try to load the website svchost.exe even though the .exe domain extension does not exist.

There is no Firefox setting or add-on that can restrict extensions to known domain extensions but there is another way to directly search for terms with periods in Firefox using the location bar.

firefox search

All that needs to be done is to place a "?" before the search term. While a search for svchost.exe results in a page not found error in Firefox, a search for ?svchost.exe performs the search using the default search engine so that results are displayed right away in the browser.

Please note that this works regardless of search engine that you have selected in the browser. Check out our full guide to Firefox's address bar for additional tips and information.

Summary
Run searches with periods in Firefox's address bar
Article Name
Run searches with periods in Firefox's address bar
Description
Explains how you can run a search from Firefox's address bar even if the search includes a period.
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    Comments

    1. Webmaster of Web Talk said on September 19, 2008 at 6:01 pm
      Reply

      That’s a real tip! I will give it a try!…done… i just tried it and some words with the ? before it give me wikipedia results…nice!

    2. USBman said on September 19, 2008 at 6:34 pm
      Reply

      Good find!

      Another nice option is to use Cybernetnews‘ wonderful CyberSearch addon (also see here).

      Among other features, it adds the ability to conduct Google searches and show the results directly within the AwesomeBar! In my opinion, this takes the AwesomeBar to the next level – a terrific addon worth taking a look at!

    3. Martin said on September 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm
      Reply

      Webmaster that’s because those have authority listings. Whenever you enter a keyword in the location bar with a site having an authority listing for the site is loaded automatically, otherwise the search results are displayed.

      USBMan I agree. A great Firefox add-on.

    4. Rob said on September 20, 2008 at 4:28 am
      Reply

      Firefox’s quick keyword search is also a solution to this. I have mine setup so typing “g svchost.exe” in the address bar searches google for svchost.exe, “w svchost.exe” searches wikipedia, etc. See http://lifehacker.com/software/geek-to-live/geek-to-live-fifteen-firefox-quick-searches-129658.php for more.

    5. Gavin said on September 20, 2008 at 2:36 pm
      Reply

      An excellent alternative to this, actually, is adding a keyword to a search box…like say, google or wikipedia’s. There’s a right-click menu option that pops up when you click in search boxes that does this, named something like “add keyword to this item” or whatnot. I use, for instance, g for google…so if I want to search for something in google, I hit ctrl+L, and type something like “g whatever” and i get my search! Yay! ^^.

    6. Peter said on September 22, 2008 at 3:01 am
      Reply

      Won’t putting it in quotes work too?

    7. Noitidart said on March 31, 2016 at 8:47 pm
      Reply

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