Search sites directly with Firefox

You probably use a search engine to navigate the Internet. However, you might not know that Firefox’s1 “add keyword” feature allows you to directly search any website with an input field.

As for why you’d want to do this:

  1. Searching directly is more private since you’re cutting out the middleman (your default search engine).
  2. It saves time.

Let’s take Wiktionary as an example, a multilingual dictionary.

Navigate to Wiktionary and right click Wiktionary’s input field. A menu should pop up.

In a Firefox window displaying Wiktionary, the cursor is highlighting
the "Add a Keyword for this Search" option in a

Click the “Add a Keyword for this Search…” option. Firefox should now present you with a dialog box asking for the name of the bookmark, the folder to save the bookmark in, and a keyword (I chose wkt).

A dialog box that asks for the name of the bookmark, the folder to
save it in, and the

If you were following along, you can now type in wkt (or whatever you chose as a keyword) into Firefox’s search bar followed by a word and find its definition. If you don’t have any ideas, figure out what the difference between somnambulism and funambulism is, and why the two probably wouldn’t go well together.

You can search the ArchWiki, Wikipedia, or whatever you want in this fashion. In addition, keywords work with ordinary bookmarks too (for instance, awl is mapped to the “List of applications” ArchWiki entry on my computer). The main difference with regular bookmarks is that you don’t type anything except the keyword since you’re no longer performing a query.

I prefer the bookmark method over adding a site as a search engine for two reasons:

  1. Firefox doesn’t present the “Add Search Engine” option as consistently as you’d expect.
  2. Using keywords minimizes mouse usage, which translates to searching faster.

  1. Anything based on Firefox, such as Tor Browser, can also make use of this feature (assuming the fork is sufficiently up to date).