ss_blog_claim=73b1cd073bba6e6518705e046b696b7d Own FireFox Search Plugins & Other Tips

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Own FireFox Search Plugins & Other Tips

Play with Serach PluginsI love the search plugins option in FireFox for one simple reason: you can store all your search engines in one place and quickly access any of them any time. They save space and time.

What’s more, the search plugins option can be configured in multiple ways and few people are really aware of how much fun they can have with this functionality.

Here are some tips and tricks to show how you can play with your FireFox search plugins.

Add a search engine to your search plugins

Normally you won’t have any problems with that. Just navigate to the site, click on your search plugins icon and the tool will invite you to add the site to the list:

Search Plugins

You will be able to use the search engine after selecting it from the list. You will also be able to search any word on a page: select any word and right-click - you’ll be offered to search for it using the currently active search engine:

Search Plugins

In case you are not offered to add a site to your search plugins:

In this case, you can either search for it using a search plugins directory or create a search plugin yourself.

I have already described how to create a search plugin for any site:

Create a search plugin

In essence, the steps are as follows:

  • Search the site;

  • Copy the search URL string;

  • Substitute the search term you used for {searchTerms};

  • Complete the fields as shown above and you are done!

Now, what if the site you need doesn’t have the search platform of its own?

In this case, Google search is your best friend. I am sure you know you can search any site with Google (and Yahoo!). Just type [ search term] in Google or Yahoo and you will see the list of pages for your search term. Just copy the search URL, change search term for {searchTerms} and follow the guide above.

Now, the beauty of Google search is in its advanced search. With it you can create a search plugin for almost all your needs:

  • Search multiple sites with one click - create a search plugin for the following Google search: [ OR OR]. You can add as many sites as you want and you will see search results from all of them (or any of them if not all of them contain the search term you put);

  • Search for most recent entries - use Google advanced date search (that adds as_qdr= to the search results URL);

  • Search for words in a title / URL - create a search plugin using the following search pattern [ inurl:term] / [ intitle:term];

  • Search for specified file types - add filetype: to your search (examples of extensions you can use:pdf, html, doc, xls, ppt, etc).

What cool FireFox plugins have already been created for me?

Here are just a few search plugins I am using:

  • Peers to see search results before even searching.

  • Google without Wikipedia - to get rid of wiki results in Google SERPs (in case you are tired of seeing wiki results all over the search results pages).

  • TinyURL - to quickly and easily create short URLs (if you are at Twitter a lot).

  • Google unpersonalized search - to turn off personalized search in Google (in case you want to compare your personalized search results with what others see).

How do you use the search plugins functionality? What are your favorite ones? Please share!


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