Few Quick Searches For Firefox And IE

Probably you have heard about Quick Searches in the Firefox browser.

For those who haven’t, quick searches let you use mnemonics followed by text in the address bar. The mnemonics are connected to a search engine. So, for example, by typing “g xyleme” in the address bar you will launch a google search on the word “xyleme”. The beauty of Quick Searches is that you are free to define new mnemonics for the searches you often use.

I want to point to few useful quick searches that I use, but before that let me tell for those who don’t know how to add a Quick Search.


Go to Bookmarks menu, then in the Quick Searches sub menu. There you have a list of already defined quick searches. To add a new one, click anywhere in that list (on any already defined quick search), and then choose “Add Bookmark…” option. A dialog will open asking for the details.


Users of Internet Explorer 5 (and higher) also have this possibility. However, to be able to add quick searches, you need first to download and install Web Accessories for Internet Explorer (you might need to restart IE5 after you do it, before proceeding). After that, in IE Links toolbar you will see an application called Quick Search.exe . So, once you have done this you can add quick searches to IE.

To add a new quick search, click on the mentioned Quick Search.exe in Links toobar (or in the Favorites->Links menu), and choose to run it. A dialog will open asking for editing the quick searches. Click on the New… button and you will get a dialog asking for details about new quick search. In the Search combo box choose “Custom URL” option. BTW, the list of the quick searches that goes with Quick Search.exe seems to be outdated, so you can delete all of those, so they not clutter your list.

Both in Firefox and IE, after you get to the dialog for adding a new quick search, there are two basic things you need to specify:

  1. A Mnemonic. That is a letter or word that you will use for this search. For example Firefox already has the mnemonic “g” for google search and “wp” for wikipedia search. So if you go to the address bar (F6 or Ctrl+L) and write “wp Hegel” you will get the wikipedia article on Hegel. For Firefox this is this goes into “Keyword” field in the dialog. For IE, this goes into “Shortcut” field in the dialog.
  2. The URL of the search, with %s standing for the word for which you search. For Firefox, this goes into the “Location” field in the dialog. For IE, this goes into the “URL” field in the dialog.

So, here are some Quick Searches that I find useful (the mnemonics are just ones I use, you are free to choose others). Also I have put example links so you can see what will you get if you type that example.

• Stanford Philosophy Encyclopedia (or some other site) (“st belief“)
For searching of sites you can use google site search. For example I don’t like SEP search very much, so I use google site search instead:


So, when I want to search SEP for “belief”, I just press Ctrl+L (or F6) and write “st belief”.

If you want to create quick search for some other site you can change the “plato.stanford.edu” to the address of that other site (without http part).

Internet Movie Database (“imdb Children of Men“)

Amazon (“am Gestalt Kohler“)
(for IE, seems that instead “%3D” you need “%%3D” in the URL)

Google Define (“d encephalomalacia“)
(again for IE, instead of “%3A”, you need “%%3A” in the URL)
BTW, Google define is nice way to search for short explanation of some word. It gives a bunch of links where the word is defined and short exempts from them.

Google Translate (“de Lebenswelt” ??)
(Again in IE, instead of “%7C”, you need “%%7C”)
After you add this quick search, you can for example go to the address bar with F6 (or ctrl+L), and write there “de Lebenswelt”, and check what it means in English.
BTW, to specify the direction of translation, and custom languages in the “de%7Cen” part of the URL, just change the bold parts with the required languages. For example, English to German would be “en%7Cde“, Spanish to French “es%7Cfr“, and so on. (Again for IE, you need two percentage signs). Also “pt” is for Portuguese, “it” for Italian, “ru” for Russian.