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Roman Veselý
Roman Veselý

Posted on • Originally published at

Useful search engine shortcuts for browsers

Most of the modern web browsers today contain functionality to set multiple search engines that can reduce your day-to-day time spent on finding the best results. Some time ago I tweeted about adding GitHub to the browser's search engines list. My list has grown in size since then and I think you may find it useful.

My default browser is Vivaldi, but you can find the same setting in all of the following: Firefox, Chrome, Opera or Brave. I currently don't have access to IE/Edge and haven't found it in Safari; sometimes it's really old-fashioned in comparison with others...

This is how the usage of a custom search engine looks like in the wild:

Search with custom search engine

Where to look for? Use the following addresses:

You have to add engine name, keyword or nickname which is the shortcut you use in the address bar and search URL containing %s which is a placeholder for the phrase you are looking for. So in the case of Stack Overflow, the settings are as follows:

  • name: Stack Overflow
  • nickname/keyword: so
  • URL:

It's a bit different in Firefox where you add custom engines as add-ons, so you have to search them up in their add-ons portal. You can set a custom keyword afterward.

My current settings

name keyword url
DuckDuckGo d
Wikipedia w
Google g
GitHub gh
Can I use... c
npm npm
Stack Overflow so
YouTube yt
MDN mdn
PHP php

List of search engines


Let's say I want to know more about npm console options.

In a hurry, I type npm cli options in the address bar and get "0 packages found" as a result. Huh? That's because I set npm keyword to search in the npm package database. To overcome this behavior I need to use g npm cli options to tell the browser to use Google as a search engine.

That's definitely not the end of the world, but it can be confusing sometimes. It may be solved by choosing different keywords, it's up to your preferences!

Do you have any other interesting use cases?

Top comments (2)

mark_nicol profile image
Mark Nicol

This is a really great tip.

Trying it out I discovered that Google seems to automatically add a bunch of different search engines including some useful ones (for instance for me Jira is pretty handy) it sets the site keyword by default to the URL of the site being searched.

So I've now been able to add very quick issue searching for my projects by modifying the keyword from the URL of the JIRA instances stored under 'Other search engines' on chrome://settings/searchEngine to something memorable.

rmnvsl profile image
Roman Veselý

Thanks for a great idea about adding JIRA to search engines! Could be helpful not only for devs but for scrum masters and product owners as well.