How to Enable Type-to-Search in Firefox

In the latest version of Firefox you don’t need to use the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut to begin searching a page. However this feature isn’t enabled by default, so follow this groovy tip to set it up.

If pressing Ctrl+F on the keyboard requires too much effort, Firefox allows you to bypass that step. Once enabled, this Firefox feature will automatically start searching a page the moment you start typing. It won’t search if you have a text input box selected, so for the most part there is nothing to lose by enabling it. Here’s how:

Open Firefox and click the top-left orange Firefox > Options menu button.

Firefox options

In the options menu visit the Advanced tab and check the box labeled “Search for text when I start typing.” Click OK to save changes.

advanced options search for text when I type

Now when browsing a page with Firefox, you can start a page-wide search by simply typing. A search box will automatically appear at the bottom-left and matching text will be highlighted throughout the page, just as it would if you used the Ctrl+F search.

searching a page with firefox



  1. Ziggy

    May 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for highlighting this very handy feature, Austin. I now find it especially useful when reading print newspapers. Searching for key words has never been so easy.

    Do you know whether this feature is also available with Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome and, if so, how do you enable it in these browsers?

    • Austin Krause

      May 23, 2012 at 9:51 am

      Good question.

      Chrome doesn’t have this feature natively, but there is an extension for it. It’s called Type-ahead-find

      IE9 doesn’t have it at all.

      • Ziggy

        May 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm

        Thanks Austin. Will give Type-ahead-find a go…

  2. R.Alan Payne

    May 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Yes, does save a key stroke BUT

    it does not allow the ‘search term’ to be used a second time …
    the ‘search line’ does not allow for NEXT or PREVIOUS searches – or for HIGHLIGHTing ALL or for MATCHing CASE.
    It is rare that the term I’m searching for only occurs once, so I use NEXT often. Crtl+F DOES provide the four features.

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