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Quick Tip: Speed up and maximise your web search results

05 October 2010, Nick Peers

Most of what we do on the web involves searching for information, whether it’s through a web site’s own search bar or using one of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing. Web browsers have evolved to make searching the web that much quicker and easier,

It’s easy to stick with the status quo when it comes to web searching, but if you find yourself frequently using multiple engines it can be a little frustrating having to switch between them. In this quick tip we’ll show you how to quickly access your search engines of choice using the tools provided by Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox.

1. Use your favourite engine
Set up the search bar in IE8 or Firefox to point to your favourite search engine and enter your search terms from there; IE9 and Google Chrome users can simply type their search terms into the Address Bar itself (IE9 users will first need to select Turn on search suggestions from the drop-down menu that appears when you start typing).

2. Create search engine shortcuts
All three major browsers enable you to create shortcut keys to your favourite search engine, but they work in different ways. In Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox, click the down arrow button in the search bar to start; IE9 users should start typing some search terms, then click the Add button that appears.

3. Set up Firefox
Either browse to your chosen site and see if an option to add it appears when you click on the down arrow button in your search bar, or choose Manage Search Engines and click Get more search engines to see if your favourites are available from the 550-plus on offer.

4. Configure Internet Explorer
In IE8, choose Find More Providers and either pick from the list or click Create your own Search Provider and follow the instructions given. Once done, switch between search providers by clicking the arrow key to the right of the search box and selecting your provider from the list.

Things are a lot quicker in IE9: first, you’ll be taken to a page listing various search providers: click Add to Internet Explorer to add one to your selection, ticking Make this my default search provider if you want it to be the default choice when typing your search terms.

Once done, as you type your search terms you’ll see your installed engines appear as a series of icons beneath the search suggestions – just click one to view the suggested search terms from that engine.

5. Add engines to Google Chrome
Browse to the search engine in question, enter “dummy” as your search term and click Search. Copy and paste the address from your browser into Notepad. Locate the term “dummy” in the URL and replace it with %s. Click the Spanner icon in Chrome and choose Options, scroll down and click Manage next to Default search. Click Add to set up your shortcut using the URL you’ve created.

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