Firefox Quick Search Bar, Easier Search Engine Access

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 8, 2011
Updated • Dec 17, 2015
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Firefox's search bar offers direct access to one search engine and pulldown access to all configured search engines.

One search engine is always selected as the default search engine and used for searches unless another is selected manually by the user first.

Users who often switch between search engines may like the new Firefox add-on Quick Search Bar which replaces the standard layout of the search bar.

Quick Search Bar

The add-on replaces the search bar with icons of supported search engines. A click on a search engine icon turns the display into the standard search form which means that the number of clicks to perform a search remains the same.

The keyboard shortcut Ctrl-E activates the first search engine in the list which means that it works exactly the same as before as well.

firefox quick search bar

Only some of the available search engines may be displayed directly. This depends solely on the width of the search box in the Firefox interface. The remaining search engines are shown with a click on the drop down icon on the right side of the search element.

A middle-click opens the select search engine in a new tab. This behavior can be changed in the program preferences.

A right-click on the search bar opens a context menu with options to manage the installed search engines and to access the add-on's preferences.

The Manage Search Engines List can be used to add or remove search engines. The available search engines can be sorted easily and the change is shown directly after the window is closed. New search engines can be dragged and dropped on to the search bar as well.

quick search bar

The add-on preferences are extensive and offer several interesting options. It is for instance possible to enable mouse wheel scrolling of search engines, select another default search engine for the search keyboard shortcut and to change backgrounds and dividers.

A slight problem is the inability to change the search engine icon which only becomes apparent if two search engines from the same company are displayed (for instance Google Search and Google Encrypted Search).

Quick Search Bar is a handy add-on that helps Firefox users saves clicks when searching with different search engines. The extension is only compatible with all recent versions of the Firefox web browser and the new search interface of Firefox that Mozilla launched in Firefox 34.

The main benefit of using Quick Search Bar over Firefox's native search feature is that you can select different search engines faster without losing access to the default search option in the process.

Update: The add-on has been pulled by its author and is no longer available. Mozilla built-in similar one-click options in recent versions of the Firefox web browser.

software image
Author Rating
4.5 based on 3 votes
Software Name
Quick Search Bar

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. andrew said on July 1, 2016 at 10:01 am

    How about old versions of Firefox?
    I use FF17.0.1. Can I download your add-on somewhere?

  2. peterfaj said on March 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I disagree with you lot. I think it is an amazing add-on that not only looks fantastic, it is also very efficient and useful.
    Since I started using it, my life has not been the same. I have gained a promotion, my wife stopped cheating on me and I can get it up; With the power of hundreds of search engines I could find a solution for my webmail server. I finally got it up after months of downtime.

  3. Jen said on February 13, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Yeah, I will be glad if there is a way to quickly remove quick search bar. Why add those default addons?

  4. Gabe said on February 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I always try to cut down my firefox on the space the menu uses.

    so the addon omnibar is more my choice. This is….useless, at least for me.

    1. Gupta said on February 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      I decided to find a good search bar replacement a few months ago and considered Omnibar too. I ended up going for SmartSearch instead – similar location bar functionality but with context menu searches too.

  5. BKV said on February 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I’m not sure if I want that. It looks weird. Don’t ask me to explain why.
    Sigh, I’ll just keep on using until ALL the plug-ins I use work on FFx4-FFx7.

  6. Dougle said on February 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

    For those looking for an extensive range of easily installable search engines, take a look at

    Personally, I find the default engines that ship with firefox pretty useless, so I always delete them all and add what I want from the above location.

    When adding a new engine, it’s placed in a folder called searchplugins, in your firefox profile, so it’s easy to transfer to a new profile. This folder should not be confused with the default searchplugins folder, found in the firefox application folder.

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