Improve Firefox's address bar search with Omnibar

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 5, 2013
Firefox, Search

The Firefox web browser offers to its users one of the most versatile search experiences available in today's browser world. The core reasons for this are the use of search in the address bar and a separate search bar, and the modifications that you can make to search to optimize it for your personal searches.

Some users prefer to only use the address bar for searches, and Firefox can be configured to hide the extra search field in a matter of seconds.

If you are only using the address bar of searches, you may have noticed that it mixes search suggestions with matching entries from the browsing history and bookmarks. It is possible to modify that, to limit what is being displayed in the suggestions window as you type.

Bookmark and history suggestions can be disabled in the Firefox options under Privacy > Location Bar. Search suggestions can be disabled in the "manage search engines" menu.

Enter Omnibar

Omnibar is the name of Google Chrome's address bar, and it is also the name of a Firefox extension. The extension was designed initially to merge Firefox's location bar and search bar into one - something that Mozilla plans to in Firefox Australis.

While it has been designed for that, it brings more to the table so that it can be of use even when Australis comes along.

After you have installed the extension you will notice that the search bar is hidden in Firefox by it, and that the current search engine is highlighted in the address bar instead.

If you are making use of search suggestions, you will receive a mixture of suggestions automatically as soon as you start typing in the browser's address bar. You may also notice that it is using a different style for the display of suggestions.

The list is not ordered, and what you may want to do at this point in time is install the Omnibar Plus extension as it will take care of that.

One interesting feature of Omnibar is the ability to run searches on multiple engines at once. The search @google,yahoo ghacks runs a search on Google and Yahoo for the term ghacks. The result pages are opened in their own tabs in the browser.

You can use the name of the search engine or keywords if you have defined those.

Omnibar Plus

Omnibar Plus makes available the following options:

  1. Auto-select the first suggestion in the list.
  2. Use a compact, animated style.
  3. Change how the suggestion list is ordered (Bookmarks, History, Search Suggestions, Everything else is the default sort order).
  4. Add the F6 keyboard shortcut to Firefox to focus the location bar.
  5. Middle-click or Ctrl-click or Alt-click opens a search engine's homepage.
  6. The location bar is automatically focused on search engine change.

Omnibar itself comes with a set of options as well. Most notable the option to limit the maximum number of suggestions shown, history results, and visible results in the browser. Here you can also un-hide the search box, and change how the search engine is listed in the location bar.

Closing Words

If you want an ordered suggestions list, a compact style for it, or like some of the other features that Omnibar and its add-on Omnibar Plus have to offer, then you may want to give them a try as they can improve how you search in the Firefox web browser.


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  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.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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