How to customize the search engines you use in Firefox

Learn how to customize search engines in Firefox so you can choose the one you want quickly. You can add, delete, and organize them.

You can use the search engine you prefer in your web browser. And you can normally set the default which you want to use every time. But Firefox does offer a feature to quickly switch between your favorite engines and sites with search shortcuts.

You can simply type a search term in the search bar (address) and choose the search engine from a drop-down list. The advantage of this feature, besides the convenience, is that you can select which search engines and sites appear and in what order.

Here’s how to customize those search engines you use in Firefox.

Access search settings in Firefox

You have several ways to access search settings in Firefox.

Open settings from the search bar

On Windows and Mac, open a tab and click the button magnifying glass in the search bar. At the bottom of the drop-down list, you’ll see the search engines and sites you’ve set up. On the right, click on the equipment icon for direct access to search parameters.

Change search settings in Firefox

Open settings from the menu

You can also access your search settings from the menu.

  1. Click it Menu button at the top right of the toolbar.
  2. In Windows, choose Options and on Mac, choose Preferences.
  3. Click on To look for on the left side and you are where you need to be.

Search Parameters

Customize search engines in Firefox

Once you’re in the search settings, scroll down to Search shortcuts. This is where you can add, hide, remove, and rearrange the engines and sites that appear in the search bar drop-down list.

Those in the list also determine the options available for the default search engine in Firefox which can be set higher on the same screen.

Add search engines

As you will notice, you can have sites like Amazon and Wikipedia in addition to search engines like Google and Bing. It is very convenient to choose a specific search location. So if you want to add one, click on Find more search engines.

Find more search engines

This brings you to Firefox browser add-ons page with a list of search tools. Select one to view its details and click Add to Firefox if you want to include it.

Once the add-on is installed, the search engine or site will appear in this list. Note that not all of the add-ons you see are available as search engines or websites in this list.

Hide search engines

If there is a search engine that you don’t use as often as others, you don’t need to delete it. You can simply hide or show engines and sites using the check marks.

Hide and show search engines

Delete search engines

You may decide that you have too many options in your search engine listing, or you have one that you simply don’t use at all. Select a search engine from the list and click on the button To delete button. Note that you will not be asked to confirm this action.

Delete a search engine

Reorganize search engines

You can determine the order of the search shortcuts. This is handy if you want to organize them in a particular way in the search bar drop-down list. Simply select an engine or site, drag it anywhere in the list, and release.

Reorganize search engines

Find your way in Firefox

The next time you want to search for a device on Amazon, an object on Wikipedia, or just a general term on Google, remember these search shortcuts. Then customize the search engines in Firefox exactly the way you want so that you can search however you want.

For other ways to make Firefox work for you, see How to customize the home page and how to sync Firefox on your devices.


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Rosemary S. Bishop