How-To

How to Customize the Search Engines You Use in Firefox

You can use whichever search engine you prefer in your web browser. And you can normally set the default you want to use each time. But Firefox offers a feature for quickly switching between your favorite engines and sites with Search Shortcuts.

You can simply type a search term into the search (address) bar and pick the search engine from a drop-down box. The nice thing about this feature, aside from the convenience, is that you can select which search engines and sites display and in what order.

Here’s how to customize these search engines you use in Firefox.

Access the Search Settings in Firefox

You have a couple of ways to access the search settings in Firefox.

Open the Settings From the Search Bar

On either Windows and Mac, open a tab and click the magnifying glass in the Search Bar. At the bottom of the drop-down box, you’ll see the search engines and sites you have set up. To the right, click the gear icon to head right to the search settings.

Change the Search Settings in Firefox

Open the Settings From the Menu

You can also get to your search settings from the menu.

  1. Click the Menu button on the top right of the toolbar.
  2. On Windows, pick Options and on Mac, pick Preferences.
  3. Click Search on the left side and you’re right where you need to be.

Search Settings

Customize the Search Engines in Firefox

Once you’re in the search settings, scroll down to Search Shortcuts. This is where you can add, hide, remove, and rearrange the engines and sites that appear in the Search Bar drop-down box.

Those in the list also determine the options available for the default search engine in Firefox which can be set further above on the same screen.

Add Search Engines

As you’ll notice, you can have sites like Amazon and Wikipedia in addition to search engines like Google and Bing. This is super handy for picking a specific search spot. So if you want to add one, click Find more search engines.

Find More Search Engines

This takes you to the Firefox Browser Add-Ons page with a list of search tools. Select one to view its details and click Add to Firefox if you want to include it.

Once the add-on is installed, the search engine or site will appear in that list. Note that not all add-ons you see are available as search engines or websites in this list.

Hide Search Engines

If there’s a certain search engine that you don’t use as often as others, you don’t have to remove it. You can simply hide or show engines and sites using the checkmarks.

Hide and Show Search Engines

Remove Search Engines

You may decide that there you have too many options in your search engine list or have one that you simply don’t use at all anymore. Select a search engine in the list and click the Remove button. Note that you will not be asked to confirm this action.

Remove a Search Engine

Rearrange Search Engines

You can determine the order for the Search Shortcuts. This is convenient if you want to arrange them a particular way in the drop-down for the Search Bar. Just select an engine or site, drag it where you want it in the list, and release.

Rearrange Search Engines

Search Your Way in Firefox

The next time you want to search for an appliance on Amazon, object on Wikipedia, or just a general term in Google, remember those Search Shortcuts. Then customize the search engines in Firefox exactly as you want them so that you can search your way.

For additional ways to make Firefox work for you, look at how to personalize the home page and how to sync Firefox across your devices.

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