Fast Searching in Chrome with Custom Search Engines

For websites that you're frequently searching, here's an easy way to speed up the process.

Setting up a custom search engine takes about a minute. Afterward, you'll be able to type a keyword into your browser bar from anywhere to trigger the search.

How to add a custom search engine to Chrome
  1. Find the search box on the webpage you care about:
  2. Right click on the box and hit "Add as Search Engine". (see the section below to troubleshoot)
  3. Fill in the form — the name doesn't really matter, but the keyword determines what you'll have to type into the browser in order to activate the search engine. Make it short and one word.
  4. Save, then open a new window.
  5. Type your keyword into the browser bar...
  6. Press space (or tab).
  7. Type something to search and press enter...
  8. It's just like you typed the query into the original search box!

You can create a custom search engine for pretty much any site that has a search page, and even some that don't. For example, I have a few set up for our company intranet and Github repository to make it trivial to look up an id or search for a commit hash, or to see recent commits by a particular person.

Once your keyword is set up, it will be available across all browser windows.

  • To edit the existing search engines, right click on the browser bar and hit "Edit search engines".
  • If you don't see "Add as Search Engine" in the menu, you can manually create a search engine by constructing a URL with %s in it, where %s is the text that you type in after the keyword (see the list of existing search engines for examples). You can also use this method for fancier searches where there is no search bar.
  • If you use Firefox, you can follow a similar process after right-clicking on the search field you care about.