December 1, 2015

Stupid Firefox Tricks, Part I - page 2

Simple Bookmarklets: The Power of the Command Line in your Browser

  • October 9, 2008
  • By Akkana Peck

The next step is to give it a keyword -- a unique name for that bookmark. Firefox unfortunately doesn't let you set keywords in the Bookmark this page dialog, though extensions like Openbook can give you a smarter bookmarking dialog. Save the bookmark then call up Bookmarks->Organize Bookmarks. Find the bookmark you just set, and click on the More button. Pick a nice short keyword that's easy to type, like "yahoo".

Setting a keyword gives the bookmark a useful property: if you type that keyword in the URLbar and hit return, Firefox will go straight to that bookmark. If you're a commandline user, that's already a win -- it's easier for some of us to remember a word like "yahoo" than to navigate a bunch of hierarchical bookmarks menus.

Now comes the important part. Replace the term you searched for, banana, with %s in the Location field (figure 1). Go ahead and dismiss the dialog -- you're done with it.

The magic "%s" tells Firefox, "Replace me with a string supplied by the user." You'll supply it by typing it in the URLbar. Try it now. Go to the URLbar -- Control-L is a handy shortcut that takes you there and highlights whatever's there so you can replace it, but doesn't overwrite your X selection in case you want to paste. Type yahoo bookmarklets and hit return. Firefox should take you straight to the Yahoo's search results page for "bookmarklets": Neat! It even works for multiple search terms and quoted strings.

You can use the Keywords trick to set up bookmarklets for all sorts of different searches, like Google Images at, Google Maps at, and Wikipedia at Getting the Wikipedia search URL is a little tricky, since their search redirects you to a wiki page, not a search results page. Sometimes you have to poke through View->Page Source, or ask around to see if anyone else has already figured out a query.

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