Firefox 61: add search engine in Page Actions menu

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 6, 2018
Firefox, Search

Mozilla removed the classic search bar from new Firefox installations with the release of Firefox 57 but did not touch the search bar in existing Firefox installations.

Mozilla added so-called one-off searches to the address bar which users of the browser can make use of to run searches on different search engines directly from the address bar.

Combined Firefox address bar and search bar experiments began in early 2016, and the future of Firefox's search bar was uncertain in mid 2017.

The search bar is still included in the customization menu, but it seems likely that most new Firefox users won't add it to the browser. Likely, because they would have to discover the option first to do so and would have to find the built-in address bar search lacking.

The removal of the search bar removed the option to add open search providers to Firefox. The search bar highlights open search providers when you visit pages in the Firefox browser and provides you with an option to add the search engine to the browser.

With the search bar no longer displayed, users were not informed anymore about open search providers found on a web page. While it is possible to add new search engines in the Firefox preferences, doing so is not nearly as comfortable as clicking the mouse twice to add a new search engine in the frontend of the browser.

Firefox 61: Page Action menu add search engine

add search engine to firefox

Mozilla is aware of the issue and plans to introduce a new option in the Page Actions menu to resolve it. The Page Actions menu was introduced recently in the browser. You activate it when you click or tap on the three dots in the Firefox address bar.

Starting in Firefox 61, a new Add "search engine" to One-Click Search action is available that Firefox users may use to add an open search engine to the browser.

The current version of the feature is already live in Firefox Nightly. Note that the Page Actions menu won't highlight that a new Open Search provider was found on the active page; a core difference to the search bar which highlights found search providers.

Now You: how do you search in your browser?

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Firefox 61: add search engine in Page Actions menu
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Firefox 61: add search engine in Page Actions menu
Mozilla plans to add an option to add open search compatible search engines found on the active web page to the Page Actions menu of Firefox 61.
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  1. Sheila D said on April 7, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    I have never used the Search line in any of my browsers. Instead, I delete all default search engines in a browser, then add Duck Duck Go and use the icon to access. Have no problem with the Search line gone…just means a bit more space on the top. I have this on my FF, IE, Opera, Waterfox (currently trying out), and Yandex browsers.

  2. pHROZEN gHOST said on April 7, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    I gave up on Firefox and moved over to the dark side … Google Chrome.

    Why? I got tired of the many changes the Mozilians were making. Some of them were very bad. In fact, the final straw was when they changed addons and made may of the authors of the very best ones stop updating. Tab Mix Plus and Add To Search Bar being two of the.

    On Google Chrome there is SearchBar. It is an excellent extension. Once you understand it, it is extremely p[owerful.

    1. Vakarian said on April 7, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      Exactly. That is why Chromium developers are so much better than Mozilla’s – they are faithful and loyal to their users and do not betray them.

      The very reason i also use Chrome/Chromium today.

      As i am unable to believe in developers who sh*t constantly towards their own user base and fall in their back as soon as a new trend arrives.

      That is the difference between a real leader (Chrome) and a follower (Mozilla).

      1. Vakarian said on April 7, 2018 at 6:41 pm

        Somehow i love to compare Mozilla and Google with Dr. Who and his enemies.

        Mozilla are like the enemies of the Doctor – constantly in fear and despair when he arrives. They try to exterminate Chrome like the Daleks always try (and fail)…They are like the Zygons… try to mimicry Chrome without success…

        All while the real Doctor (Google Chrome) just waves around with his Sonic screwdriver – and all his enemies are toast.

      2. Lord Lestat said on April 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        Now that is the best comparison i have heard in a long time *LOL*

        While i despise Chrome… one thing is true, Mozilla is focusing more than it is healthy for them on this annoying browser, because they want to absorb all the Chrome (simple) users.

        And that is the reason why they suck and lose constantly those day

  3. Richard Allen said on April 6, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    For those using a dark theme in FF Nightly, I’ve never been a fan of White text on a Black background. I think it’s too glaring a contrast and would prefer a dark gray background instead. I’m using some userChrome to change the background.

    If using a userChrome.css file:

    #BMB_bookmarksPopup .subviewbutton, panelview, .panel-arrowcontent { background: #2f2f2f !important;}

    or what I’m using:

    #BMB_bookmarksPopup .subviewbutton { height:1.8em !important; padding: 4px 8px !important; background: #2f2f2f !important; }
    panelview, .panel-arrowcontent { background: #2f2f2f !important; }

    Some darker shades are: #272727 > #1f1f1f

    1. Richard Allen said on April 6, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      There are some screenshots in my first post showing my background color changes to the popup menus in FF.

      Over the last few days I haven’t been seeing an option to edit my comments after they are submitted. Just saying, I realize it’s a work in progress. :)

      1. leanon said on April 10, 2018 at 12:04 pm

        How long has it been, 3,6, 10 months????… Who is responsible for this???? FIRE THEM ALREADY.

        BTW how do I get access to your forum???

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on April 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm

        Richard, I turned it off for the time being. I’m testing new options right now. Have already made some changes today that I hope resolve the “comments not showing up” issue.

  4. Trice said on April 6, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Maybe someone can explain these different search functions to me.

    In the past I added numerous different search engines to FF and created a keyword for each – so if I wanted to search Google Maps directly from my address bar I would type “maps Washington DC” and it would take me there. When I wanted to add a new search engine, I used the “Add to Search Bar” add-on ( which had a context menu option to add the search engine. This add-on no longer works with FF 57+ so I found “AddSearch” ( which appears to do the same thing for 57+. (And if I’m understanding this post correctly, after FF 61 I can remove the AddSearch add-on because this functionality will be built into the browser.)

    For this reason I was happy to remove the dedicated search bar from FF to free up the real estate. This is just the way I’ve always done it and haven’t known anything else.

    But in tinkering with FF from versions 57 to present, I also stumbled into this “Second Search” ( add-on which appeared to create a bookmark and keyword search but did not install the search engine.

    What is the difference?

    1. Richard Allen said on April 6, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      You can still use keywords to search from the URL bar. You have to right-click in a websites search field (IMDB, Urban Dictionary, AMO, whatever), then “Select Add a Keyword for this Search”, add bookmark dialog appears, name the bookmark, create a keyword, select a bookmark folder.

      The addon Second Search looks to me like it uses it’s own popup menu with a text input box to replace the Search Bar. Still have to use a keyword and/or a bookmark. I haven’t tried it so can’t say if it uses the POST or GET method. Personally, if I have to create bookmarks I would rather be able to highlight a word and do a context menu search.

      I use an addon (webext) called Context Search WebExtension “” that uses a “Searches” folder when I highlight a word or group of words to do a search. I have the search bar visible but a huge percentage of my searches are from the context menu. My “Search” folder is located at “Computer Info/Firefox/Searches”. Screenshots:

      Appreciate the heads up on the “BurningMoth AddSearch” addon. It’s working well on FF v59.0.2 but currently it’s not working in Nightly v61. I was able to use it to add the AMO (FF addons) search engine to the Search Bar. Just a little shortsighted on Mozilla’s part to not use OpenSearch for their own search engine. Not all sites use OpenSearch to add search engines, AMO is one example, so I would think it will be useful in the future.

  5. Mike said on April 6, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    The classic search bar is not removed, it is only hidden. I still use it every day on FF59 and its great. I don’t understand why Mozilla hate classic search bar. Another example of “i’ll do the same what others are doing even if this is stupid”.

    1. Anonymous said on April 6, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Does Chrome have Search Bar? Now you know why

      1. Lord Lestat said on April 9, 2018 at 12:33 pm

        Fully agreeing. The usual reason why Mozilla removes something.. It has no Chrome parity.

  6. Gerard said on April 6, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I don’t want a browser without a search bar.
    BTW, there still is the ‘Add to Search Bar’ add-on, but unfortunately it’s not compatible with Firefox Quantum. (works with Pale Moon though)

    1. John Fenderson said on April 6, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      You don’t need an addon to put the search bar back — it’s still there, you just have to turn it back on. I think this is an issue that there is no default for that will please everybody. I, for instance, have always been in the camp of not wanting a search bar, and so I’ve always had to manually remove it. The only thing that’s really changed is who has to make a manual adjustment.

      1. Anonymous said on April 7, 2018 at 5:50 am

        @John Fenderson
        If you never use it, you wouldn’t know the convenience of search bar. I think Mozilla staffs also don’t use it so they removed it.
        Search bar is really useful if you want to search the same thing using multiple sites.

        Add to Search Bar is and addon to search without the need of going to the website first, a good time saver.

      2. Zen said on April 9, 2018 at 11:44 am


        Don’t assume your needs are everyone’s, that never works like that :)

        You can search without the need to go to a website first with the address bar too by the way.

        I used to use the Search bar a lot, then I stopped. Every single thing it provides is also provided by the address bar, except for the add search engine feature – until Firefox 61. The only feature difference is that text stays with the search bar, and not with the address bar. Such a peculiarity is both useful and annoying depending on the situation, IMO.

        When Mozilla announced that the search bar would be disabled by default for new users (it was kept enabled for those users who updated from a previous version, IIRC), I observed my behaviour over a few weeks. It appeared that I barely ever used the search bar any more, since all features were accessible from the address bar.

        Now with Firefox 61, it’s just a preference in user experience.

      3. Gerard said on April 6, 2018 at 7:54 pm

        The ‘Add to Search Bar’ add-on is not for putting back the search bar.
        From the author’s website: “With Add to Search Bar you can add the search functionality of any page to the search box with no effort.”
        Right click on a search box, left click on the “Add to Search Bar…” menu item, search engine added. Works with most, but not all, websites with a search box in my experience.

  7. flash said on April 6, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    That’s a quite important change, in my opinion.

    It just goes to show the short-sightedness of some developers though. First they – by default, mind you – hide the search bar in the toolbar, then they forget to port all the features that are inaccessible through this change.

    For that reason I had manually enabled the search bar, because my daily use includes a lot of search engines, in particular those from webpages themselves.

    Finally, I haven’t tested this feature yet and only saw the screenshot in the article, but it seems that there’s still one thing missing or consciously omitted. When you’re on a webpage with a custom search engine, the icon in the search bar has a green + icon on top of it but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the page action menu.

    1. flash said on April 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Oh never mind, I missed the last paragraph in the article about that very thing.

  8. TelV said on April 6, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Martin, respectfully, please consider a list of words, FF addons etc., on a page somewhere which users can check before submitting a comment so that they don’t waste their time writing a comment which subsequently doesn’t appear because it contains something which you don’t permit. (I presume that’s the reason my previous comment wasn’t accepted.)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 6, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      Comments with links are blocked by default, and comments from new users. Comments may land in spam but I check spam regularly.

      Legitimate comments will never be blocked, but if they land in moderation or spam it may take time before they appear as I have to allow them manually.

      1. Jody Thornton said on April 6, 2018 at 5:55 pm

        Oh so links are NOT allowed at all Martin?

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on April 6, 2018 at 6:08 pm

        No, if you post a link it is held in moderation. The reason for that is simple: links that point to harmful or undesirable destinations can harm the site’s reputation or traffic. Since it is possible to post anonymously, it is the only option to prevent spam.

      3. TelV said on April 6, 2018 at 1:39 pm

        OK, understood.

    2. TelV said on April 6, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Oh, never mind…I see it now.

  9. TelV said on April 6, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Well, first and foremost I don’t use Firefox anymore and have switched to Basilisk. That said I always removed the search bar whenever I used FF and still do in Basilisk.

    To add more search engines I use this addon: It’s very simple and all you need to do is to go to any site which has a search box, right click inside it and then select “Add to search bar” which adds it to the list of search engines in the prefs menu.

    I use that in combination with another addon called Context Search: That enables the option to highlight a word or phrase on a site somewhere and then to right click and use “Search for…” from the context menu and then choose any search engine you added with the other addon I mentioned. Much more efficient I find.

    1. Melamela said on April 8, 2018 at 1:51 am

      Try Baton34’s ‘Organize Search Enignes’ fork on GitHub.

  10. Ben said on April 6, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    I use the search bar to keep small notes. Removing it would annoy me quite a bit.

    1. Zen said on April 9, 2018 at 11:34 am

      There is the Notes add-on. Soon to be a Shield experiment on Nightly and depending on results, it could either be an add-on available on AMO or a built-in Firefox feature in the end. (Like Screenshots; so a system add-on shipped with the browser, preventing bloat for the main codebase while adding a self-contained feature easy to modify)

    2. Malte said on April 6, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      People seem to have difficulty to understand the article. The search bar is going nowhere. If oyu update Firefox it will remain there and whe you do a new clean install you just have to select it in the settings. For people who prefer the single address/search bar this new feature is good because it gives you a quick and easy option to add search engines. That’s all.

      1. Melamela said on April 8, 2018 at 1:45 am

        All but you’re hiding one of the FF UI flagships, that currently is not much more the killer feature it should because over the years have not received enough attention from mozilla… so lets hide it, yoohooo!

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