How to Manage Search Engines and Use One-Click Search in Firefox

Not only has Mozilla replaced Google with Yahoo! as Firefox's default search engine, they also revamped the way its Search Bar functions. Formerly a typical search box, which also contained a drop-down menu that allowed you to change the default engine on-the-fly, the new UI offers several new features -- highlighted by One-click Search.

This tutorial is intended for LinuxMac, or Windows users who are running the Firefox browser.

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Open Your Firefox Browser

firefox search bar
(Image © Scott Orgera).

No longer do you have to change the default search engine to utilize a different option. With One-click Search, Firefox allows you to submit your keyword(s) to one of a number of engines from within the Search Bar itself. Also included in this new-look interface are ten recommended search keyword sets based on what you have typed in the Search Bar. These recommendations originate from two sources, your past search history as well as suggestions provided by the default search engine.

This tutorial describes these new features, showing you how to modify their settings and utilize them to achieve the best possible searches.

First, open your Firefox browser.

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Recommended Search Keywords

search suggestions
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial was last updated on January 29, 2015, and is intended for desktop/laptop users (Linux, Mac, or Windows) running the Firefox browser.

As you begin to type in Firefox's Search Bar, ten recommended sets of keywords are automatically presented directly below the edit field. These recommendations dynamically change as you type, in an attempt to best match what you are looking for.

In the example above, we have entered the word ​yankees in the Search Bar -- producing ten suggestions. To submit any of these suggestions to our default search engine, in this case, Yahoo!, all we need to do is click on the respective choice.

The ten suggestions shown are derived from previous searches that you've made along with recommendations from the search engine itself. Those terms that were obtained from your search history are accompanied by an icon, as is the case in the first two in this example. Suggestions not accompanied by an icon are provided by your default search engine. These can be disabled via Firefox's Search options, discussed later in this tutorial.

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One-Click Search

one click search
(Image © Scott Orgera).

The shining star of Firefox's retooled Search Bar is One-click Search, highlighted in the screenshot above. In older versions of the browser, you'd need to change your default search engine before submitting your keyword(s) to an option other than the current one. With One-click you have the ability to choose from several popular providers such as Bing and DuckDuckGo, as well as to search other well-known sites like Amazon and eBay. Simply enter your search terms and click on the desired icon.

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Change Search Settings

change search settings
(Image © Scott Orgera).

As mentioned at the outset of this article, several of the settings associated with Firefox's Search Bar and its One-click Search feature can be modified. To begin, click on the Change Search Settings link -- circled in the example above.

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Default Search Engine

default search engine
(Image © Scott Orgera).

Firefox's Search options dialog should now be displayed. The top section, labeled Default Search Engine, contains two options. The first, a drop-down menu circled in the example above, allows you to change the browser's default search engine. To set a new default, click on the menu and choose from the available providers.

Directly below this menu is an option labeled Provide search suggestions, accompanied by a checkbox and enabled by default. When active, this setting instructs Firefox to show recommended search terms presented by your default search engine as you type -- described in Step 2 of this tutorial. To disable this feature, remove the check mark by clicking on it once.

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Modify One-Click Search Engines

modify search engine
(Image © Scott Orgera).

We've already showed you how to use the One-click Search feature, now let's see how to decide which alternate engines are available. In the One-click search engines section of Firefox's Search options, highlighted in the screenshot above, is a list of all options currently installed -- each accompanied by a checkbox. When checked, that search engine will be available via One-click. When unchecked, it will be disabled.

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Add More Search Engines

add more search engines
(Image © Scott Orgera).

Although Firefox comes with a representative group of search providers pre-installed, it also allows you to install and activate more options. To do so, first click on the Add more search engines... link -- found toward the bottom of the Search options dialog. Mozilla's add-ons page should now be visible in a new tab, listing additional search engines available for installation.

To install a search provider, click on the green Add to Firefox button found to the right of its name. In the example above, we have chosen to install YouTube search. After initiating the install process, the ​Add Search Engine dialog will appear. Click on the Add button. Your new search engine should now be available.