Using keyword searches
- This article applies to Firefox and Mozilla Suite.
In Firefox and Mozilla Suite you can specify keywords for bookmarks by filling in the “Keyword” field in the bookmark’s Properties. When you type the keyword into the Location Bar and hit [Enter], the keyword will be replaced with the bookmarked URL. For example, bookmarking http://google.com/, giving it a keyword of “g”, and typing “g” into the Location Bar will take you to Google.
What makes keywords very powerful is that if you add a “%s” at some place in your bookmark’s URL, it will be replaced by the words you type in after the keyword. (These are sometimes called “Quicksearches”.) For example, if we were to modify the bookmark mentioned above so that it pointed to “http://google.com/?q=%s”, we can type “g mozilla” into the Location Bar to arrive at “http://google.com/search?q=mozilla”.
By default, Mozilla Firefox comes with several bookmarks with keywords defined. They’re located in the “Quick Searches” folder in the default bookmarks.
|Bookmark Name||Keyword||Bookmark URL|
|Stock Symbol Quicksearch||quote||http://www.google.com/search?q=stocks:%s|
Firefox no longer supplies a set of default keyword shortcuts, though many people may have started with the above. You can easily add your own keyword shortcuts, such as one to search the MozillaZine Knowledge Base. You need not limit yourself to letters alone, which might be mistaken for search words. Also a keyword of "g:" would be a lot faster to type than the suggestion above of "google".
|Bookmark Name||Keyword||Bookmark URL|
Creating bookmarks with keywords
In Mozilla Firefox, you can simply right-click in a search field on a web page and choose “Add a Keyword for this Search.” This will pop up a dialog for you to add a bookmark name and keyword.
You can also create it manually:
- Do a search on the site you want to add a quicksearch to.
- Bookmark the page you are brought to (the results page).
- Open the Properties dialog for your new bookmark.
- In your bookmark’s URL (the Location field), find and replace what you searched for with %s (If it does not appear, you cannot use a quicksearch here)
- Add a keyword
Difference between (small s) %s and (Capital S) %S
- (small s): %s will have additional substitution replacements: # by %23, % by %25, / by %2F, and @ by %40.
- (Capital S): %S will not have substitutions and allow use of C++ in a Google search, allow use of @ in an email substitution, allow use of a fragment-id in a url substitution index.html#example2, and use of a directory as in code/example2.txt.
Note: Mozilla Suite users can use the “Bookmarks → File Bookmark...” feature and edit bookmark’s properties at the moment of its creation.
Note: Firefox users with Add Bookmark Here ² extension, or the older Open Book extension, can create a bookmark and add keyword property at the same time. An alternative is Keyword addition for Add/Change Bookmark (Fx3) | userstyles.org as a style used with the Stylish extension that can be customized.
Specifying a non-UTF-8 encoding in the query
By default, %s-replaced query terms are sent to the server in UTF-8 encoding. Some servers, however, use other encoding in their query string, especially in the non-Western environment to result in misinterpreted or garbled query. The mozcharset= parameter has been introduced to work around this problem in Bug 258223.
For example, Korean computer jargon dictionary uses EUC-KR encoding. Normal keyword search such as,
produces incorrect result when supplied with non-ASCII query term 파일. By appending mozcharset=charset parameter, as in
users are directed to the correct result page.
Caveat: mozcharset=charset parameter should be appended at the end of the query string with the preceding &.
- List of keyword searches
- Multiple parameter keyword searches
- Location Bar Search
- Tweaking the keyword search to open another page when no search terms specified
- Search multiple engines with a single keyword search
- How Cool are Custom Keywords? by Asa Dotzler.
- CustomKeywords (Leaky Tap Wiki) with other links, as well
- Firefox Keyword Shortcuts by David McRitchie, includes usage tips
- Firefox smart keywords explained by John Bokma, includes screenshots
- Quicksearches -- Samples and Instructions by Chris Poverk, creator of the related SmartSearch extension
- Quicksilver provides access to Mozilla suite/Firefox keyword searches globally (from within any application)--for Mac OS X
- Smart keywords (Mozilla Support)
- [keywordManager] extension to manage bookmark keywords