17 September 2008

Searching the Awesome Bar [Quick Tip]

[Firefox only]

Today's Quick Tip is more of a "did you know?" than an instruction per se, but it is about as useful as it gets!

Reading something online, then promptly failing to bookmark it, then instantly needing it again is a common online malady. Did you know you can use your address bar (which is the field at the top of your browser where you usually type in the URL for sites) as a search field for your browser's history? Did you know this allows you to refind what you have already found? Others call this searchable address bar in Firefox "the awesome bar", and this may be deserved... let me give some examples of how it works:

Let's say I recently was reading about copyright research online and wanted to revisit some of the sites I ran across. I can find what sites I read by typing "copyright" into the address bar. Notice that the bar searches as I type:

Note that the search only includes the page titles of the pages you have visited, and not their content.

You can also search using multiple words. This works in pretty much the same way as the single-term search, it just adds a level of refinement to the search. I can enter my search term, in this case "family tree", and scroll through the results to find what I was looking for:

This multiple word search omits other results, such as results that would appear if I only used the word "tree" as below:

Of course, you may find this feature annoying, useless, a compromising of your privacy, or all three. If so, you may just be interested in how to turn off the search feature for good!

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