Microsoft Word’s context menu has a menu item that most people have probably seen but don’t use — the ability to search for a selection using Bing. You can make this feature even more useful by changing it to search via Google instead.

We’re not saying that Bing is a bad search engine or telling you which search engine to choose. If you really like Bing better than Google, that’s perfectly fine, but you should ask yourself why on earth you are reading this article in that case.

Changing the Default Search Provider in Microsoft Word

Like most awesome tweaks in Windows, this one requires a registry hack, so pull out the registry editor with the usual steps: WIN + R type regedit, and hit enter. Once you’ve got that open, browse down to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\General

And once you are there, right-click anywhere on the right-hand side and choose New -> String Value.

You’ll want to add two keys with the following values:

  • SearchProviderName – Google
  • SearchProviderURI – http://www.google.com/search?q=

When you are done, the resulting window should look something like this:

And you’ll immediately see the change when you right-click on some text inside of a Word document.

Using the option will immediately search Google for the selected text.

Lowell Heddings Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
Read Full Bio »