Keyword bookmarks for quick searches
Are you familiar with the concept of a “keyword bookmark” in your browser? It’s just like a regular bookmark but you also assign a short keyword to it, which you can type into the address bar to access the bookmark. For example, you might bookmark YouTube and give it a keyword of
y in your address bar and YouTube loads. No hunting through your bookmarks folders or clicking with the mouse.
That’s only a little bit useful on its own. Where it gets interesting is that you can also provide a search term with your keyword, and that’ll get inserted into the URL. You just write a
%s into the bookmark’s URL to denote where the term should go. So, we can modify our YouTube bookmark to look like this:
It’s then possible to type something like
y seinfeld into the address bar and be taken immediately to the results page:
Keyword bookmark support has been around in Firefox and Chrome for donkey’s years, and I’ve been using these special little bookmarks so frequently and for so long that I’d feel quite impeded without them. Surprisingly few people seem to have heard of them though, and I must admit it’s tricky to make them sound super-appealing when describing them to people. Explaining how they should curate a little list of special bookmarks, manually editing all the URLs to contain the
%s marker in just the right place, just so they can save a couple of seconds on loading a search page – it just doesn’t sound that good. All I can say is, I do it, and it’s a great way of getting direct access to the sites I use most commonly. I probably make use of my keyword bookmarks more than 50 times a day and it’s just a lovely fast way of calling up the info you need.
Seeing as the tedious bit is modifying the URLs so the search terms get inserted correctly, I figured I’d share some of my favourites.
Using these in Firefox should just be a matter of dragging them to your bookmarks, then right-clicking the bookmark, going to Properties and entering a keyword of your choice. To use them in Chrome you can go to Preferences > Settings and then hit the “Manage Search Engines…” button.
- Amazon UK - Search
- Google - Search, e.g.
- Vimeo - Search videos, e.g.
v tim key
- Namecheap - Search for a domain, e.g.
- DealExtreme - Search products
- ExplainShell - Show usage of a command, e.g.
es rsync -av
- Linux Command Example - Show example usage of a command
- Lifehacker - Search articles
- DuckDuckGo - Search
- HotUKDeals - Search
- Pond5 - Search stock videos
- WolframAlpha - Search, e.g.
wa where am i
- Soundcloud - Search, e.g.
- Google - Search Google’s cached pages, e.g.
- GitHub - Search repositories, e.g.
gh gmail backup
- Wiktionary - Search for a word definition
- StackOverflow - Search
- Google Finance - Search, e.g.
- Yahoo - Search
- Twitter - Realtime search, e.g.
- IMDB - Search movies
- W3C Validator - Validate a URL
- More Words - Find words ending with the specified character, e.g.
- BBC iPlayer - Search
- Crunchbase - Search
- YouTube - Search
- AcronymFinder - Search, e.g.
- Thesaurus - Search
- Web Archive - View archive of a domain
- Urban Dictionary - Search
- Ubuntu Manpages - Search, e.g.
- Dictionary - Search
- eBay UK - Search
- Google Image - Search for the face of the name provided, e.g.
face rick astley
- Facebook - Search people
- Flickr - Search
- Google Images - Search
- Google Maps - Search
- Rotten Tomatoes - Search
- Wikipedia - Search, e.g.
- Wikiquote - Search quotes, e.g.
- Play.com - Search
- Sourceforge - Search
- Mozilla Addons - Search, e.g.
[Google Translate - Translate the provided text to English](http://translate.google.com/#auto en %s), e.g.
en como estas
- Last.fm - Search
- Coinmill - Convert Bitcoin to GBP
- Coinmill - Convert Bitcoin to USD
A few years back I also created a site called Keyword Bookmarks, where you can find more of these!