How to add any Search Engine to the Firefox Search Bar

This step by step guide will show you how to add any search engine to the Firefox Search bar.

Using a fantastic Firefox add-on, Search Engines Helper, you can add any search box to your Firefox search bar. It’s an open source add-on and you can find the source code here on GitHub if you’d like.

  1. Start by installing the Search Engines Helper Firefox add-on.
  2. installing a Firefox add-on

  3. Click the newly added Search Engines Helper icon (a magnifying glass, see screenshot below) that’s now in your Firefox menu bar. Then select the Add a new search engine option.
  4. a new icon in the Firefox toolbar

  5. Now you’ll need to add 3 things – a search URL, a name for your search engine, and the location of an icon/logo to use. The easiest way to determine the search address is to run a search on the site you want to add. In my case I used the search engine found here on simplehelp.net. I ran a search for the word “Firefox” which resulted with the URL of: https://www.simplehelp.net/?s=firefox

    I copied that URL into the Search URL field in the Search Engines Helper configuration window, but replaced the word “firefox” with a %s variable. If I wanted to add a Google Canada search to my Firefox Search box, I’d use the URL https://www.google.ca/search?q=%s

    Enter a name for your search engine in the Search name field. Finally, add the URL to a logo or icon to be displayed with that search. One way to find a URL to use is to take a look at the HTML source of the web page and quickly scan for the words logo or icon – then copy the URL into the Icon URL field. When you’re all done, click the Add search engine button.

  6. add a custom search engine to Firefox

  7. At this point a new tab will open up. Click the “3 dots” Page actions button (see screenshot below) found at the end of the URL bar in Firefox. From the menu that appears select Add search engine
  8. the Page actions menu for Firefox

  9. Now when you enter a phrase in your Firefox search box a new icon will appear – the search engine you just added. If you select that icon, Firefox will run a search using that custom search engine instead of the default.
  10. the Firefox search bar with a newly added search engine

  11. If you open the Firefox Preferences and select the Search section, you can make your newly added search engine the default one that Firefox uses.
  12. set a default search engine in Firefox

  13. In that same Search Preferences section you can move your newly added search engine up or down in the ordered list.
  14. more Firefox Search Preferences

  15. Other than the simplehelp.net search (hint hint), two other helpful search engines to add are Gmail and Google Calendar. That way you can search your mail or calendar events without having to have a Gmail or Calendar window open (though you do need to be signed into each service).
  16. If you want to add more search engines to Firefox, just repeat steps 2-4. That’s it!

While you’re here, check out some of our other Firefox tips and tricks.


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