Using Keywords in Firefox for fast navigation and instant search access
Just to share a small tip which over time has saved me lots (really, lots of lots) of time.
It is possible in Firefox to define a bookmark as a shortcut which can be entered in the URL bar of the browser. So for example if you often visit a certain webpage with a long or complicated URL, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation you most certainly add it as a browser bookmark at some point. Maybe you even put that bookmark on your favourites bar so that you only have to travel a short distance with your mouse to open the page.
A browser bookmark already saves a lot of time but there is still some more potential to speed it up and this is where URL shortcuts enter the stage. To be honest it's not only the shortcut alone but a combination of a keyboard shortcut and URL shortcut. But first things first.
To define a bookmark to be available as URL shortcut you have to enter the Firefox bookmark manager. Then navigate to the bookmark and click it. Its properties are now shown in the lower part of the window. To define an URL shortcut for it click on "More" and a line "Keyword" should appear. Whatever word you enter here is later an alias for this URL in the browser. For example you could enter "st" in the bookmark for the Star Trek URL above. From now if you just enter "st" in the browsers URL bar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation is loaded.
This is fast but still not much faster than clicking a bookmark. To make it really faster you have to activate and enter the URL bar by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL-L. CTRL-L and entering "st" should now really be faster than moving the mouse if you're just a bit experienced with touch typing on a computers keyboard.
But wait, there's more!
If you have defined a keyword for a bookmark it is possible to supply parameters to this bookmark. This work by using "%s" at the portion of the URL which should be replaced by anything which you write after the URL shortcut into the URL bar.
For example if you dislike the CTRL-K keyboard shortcut to jump to Firefox' search box you could decide that you want https://www.google.com as the keyword "g". Edit this bookmark again and change the bookmarks URL to be "https://www.google.com/search?q=%s". Now you can also add the search queries to the URL shortcut/keyword on the URL bar. Entering "g star trek" should provide lots of joy to the average trekkie :)
At work my favourite URL shortcuts are defined as following:
- ora -> http://%s.ora-code.com for quick access to explainations of Oracle error messages. Eg. entering "ora ORA-01455" leads to a good explaination of the cause of this error.
- leo -> http://dict.leo.org/ende?search=%s translates german or english words into the respective other language.
- wiki -> https://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/%s is a shortcut to the Wikipedia article. Most words are already directly available on wikipedia so this works 90% of the time for me.
Many webpages offer a search functionality and if you want to make this accessible in a very quick way just look how the search results page URL is composed and replace the portion of the search term whith %s for your bookmark.
Simple, fast, unbelievable effective.