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Complete Guide to Keyword Shortcuts to Search Sites in Google Chrome

Want to make your browsing more efficient in Chrome?  Here’s how you can use keyword shortcuts to quickly find info on any site you want.

As you might expect for a browser built by Google, Chrome makes it very easy to search sites and create unique search keywords.  If you’ve used Chrome for a while, you many have noticed that Chrome offers to let you search the site by pressing Tab.  You often don’t even have to enter the full address; just start typing the name, and you’ll notice the search message pop up on the right.

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If you press Tab on your keyboard, the site’s name will turn into a label on the left and you’ll be able to enter a search in the address bar.  If you instead want to do a search for this topic on your default search engine, click the down arrow or select the other search entry on the drop-down list.

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Manage Existing Keyword Shortcuts

If you’d like to change what sites Chrome automatically lets you search or add another site and keyword to the list, right-click the address bar and select Edit search engines.

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Alternately, open the Options dialog and click Manage beside the Default Search option.

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This will open the list of your search engines.  The Default search options are ones that were included with Chrome and are available from the Default Search Engines list on the Options dialog.  The Other search engines are ones that Chrome has automatically added when you did a search on a website in Chrome.  You can remove any of the listings, edit it, or make it the default search.

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Here we made our HowtoGeek.com search a default option.  Now, notice that it is listed under the Default search options.

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It’s also now listed in the drop-down menu to select the default search engine on the Options dialog.

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Edit Search Keywords

You can also edit existing search keywords as mentioned above.  If you’d like to change Facebook search to come up when you enter Friends in your address bar, you can do that.

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Now, notice that when we enter the word friends in the address bar, Chrome offers to let us search Facebook.com by pressing the Tab key.

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Keywords have to be unique, but don’t be worried about using the same keyword for two sites.  If you try to reuse an existing keyword, the check box on the right of the dialog will turn into a yellow exclamation point showing that your keyword must be unique.  Just enter a new one, and it’ll work fine.

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Use your imagination; you could make your keyword for HowtoGeek.com search tech tips or something else easy to remember so you can always find our tutorials to help you out on your computer.

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Add New Keyword Search Shortcut in Chrome

Would you like to add your favorite website’s search to Google Chrome?  Here’s how you can make a brand new search engine keyword.  For this example, we’ll add Techinch.com search to Chrome, but you could add any other site’s search the same way.

First, browse to the site you want to add, and do a search on the site.

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This should automatically make Chrome create a search keyword for this site; if it doesn’t, you can still add it manually.  Look in the address bar and notice where your search query is listed in the address.

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Replace your search term with %s as we did in this screenshot.  Now copy the total address so we can use it to create a new search keyword.

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Open the Search Engines dialog as above, and click Add.

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In the dialog box, enter the site’s address in the Name box, and a keyword for it in the Keyword box as above.  Now paste the address you copied with %s instead of your search query into the URL box.  Click Ok when you’re finished.

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You’ll see your new search engine option listed in your Other Search Engines list as before, and can edit or make it default as before.

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This is an especially great way to add search engines that don’t seem to get picked up by default, such as specialty searches.  Here we’ve added Google Images search with the keyword pictures, using the steps in this tutorial.

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Visit a Favorite Site With a Keyword

You can also use this to add a way to visit a favorite site quickly with a keyword.  In this case, enter the site’s normal address in the URL field.

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Now, when you enter your keyword in the address field, it will open that site as the default option.  For example, we can open Facebook.com by simply typing in friends.  You could make this even simpler, and only enter a single character as the keyword for a super quick way to access your favorite sites.

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Conclusion

Chrome makes it much easier to add search engines than other browsers, as it automatically adds new search sites as you perform searches on various sites across the web.  Unlike Firefox, IE, and other browsers, you don’t usually need to add new search engines manually.  But, if you do need to add a site that Chrome doesn’t seem to pick up automatically, it’s quick and easy to do that.  Plus, the Keyword-powered search makes it quicker than ever to start searching the site you want.

Do you have a favorite site you added to Chrome’s search?  Let us know in the comments!

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 08/4/10

Comments (5)

  1. 216

    Wow thanks to this article I just discovered that I already have atleast 20 search sites added into my chrome Search engine list. Thanks!

    And I’ve always liked the “Search, then hit Tab to search a specific site” feature

  2. MorFinBaZ

    The exact same feature is available on Firefox since ages

  3. Jonathan Duck

    To make one that will search the site you are currently on use the follow for the URL
    javascript:Qr=”%s”;if(Qr)location.href=’http://www.google.com/search?&q=site:’+encodeURIComponent(window.location.hostname)+’+’+escape(Qr)

  4. Aled

    If you press tab when!?

  5. Cisco

    I use an extension called “Search Center” for Chrome. It’s a bit more useful and easier.

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