Enable Multi-Column Google Searches with a User Script

Are you wanting to improve the search results view at Google and make better use of the webpage space? With a little user script magic you can make those search results look and fit better in your favorite browser.

Note: This user script may conflict with the AutoPager extension if you have it installed in your favorite browser.

Before

Here is the standard single column view of search results at Google. Not too bad but the available space could certainly be better utilized.

Note: For the purposes of our example we are using Google Chrome but this user script can be easily added to other browsers.

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After

If you have never installed a user script in Chrome before it is just as simple as the regular extensions at the official Google website. Here you can see the details for the user script we are installing. Notice that you can view the source code if desired. To add the user script to Chrome click on “Install”.

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Once you start the install process you will see an intermediary message asking if you wish to continue in the lower left corner of your browser. Click “Continue” to move to the next step in the install process.

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From this point on the install process is practically identical to the official extensions. You can see the final confirmation window here…click “Install” to finish adding the user script to Chrome.

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As with regular extensions you will see a post-install message in the upper right corner.

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So, what does a user script look like in the “Extensions Page”? You can see the user script entry here…outside of an icon it looks rather identical to a normal extension.

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After refreshing the search page shown above we now have two columns of search results (default setting). This looks much much better than a single column view and there is little to no page scrolling required now.

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To switch to a three column view simply use the keyboard shortcut “Alt + 3”. To return to a single column view use “Alt + 1” and for the default two column view use “Alt + 2”. Three keyboard shortcuts for three different views…definitely a good thing.

Note: On our test system we needed to use the number keys at the top of our keyboard to switch views…this is most likely the result of unique settings on our test system.

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Conclusion

If you are wanting a better viewing experience when conducting searches at Google then this user script will make a very nice addition to your favorite browser.

For those using Firefox you can add user scripts with the Greasemonkey & Stylish extensions. Using Opera Browser? See our how-to for adding user scripts to Opera here.

Links

Install the Multi-Column View of Google Search Results User Script

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .