This is mainly written for Opera which is very similar in Chrome, but completely different in Firefox. Most browsers allow you to search directly from the web address bar these days and they also give you the ability to change what search engine you want to use. Here’s how…
Type the following in the URL or Address bar, and hit Enter. This takes you directly to the Search Engine options in Opera:
or go the Opera menu > Settings > Search Engines > Manage search engines.
You’ll see a list of the currently installed search engines.
In Opera, you don’t have any options except for marking one as your default. Just click on the three stacked dots on the right-hand side of any listing and then click on Make default. Note: The default one means you don’t have to use the keyword symbol to search.
The keyword symbol is the letter you type before a search. So, if you wanted to use Yahoo! but you have another search engine set up as default, just type the letter y and then the Yahoo search engine will be used. Here are the other search engines that are set up by default in Opera.
- g = Google
- y = Yahoo
- d = DuckDuckGo
- z = Amazon
- b = Bing
- w = Wikipedia
Opera has the option to add a search engine. Just reading an article that Startpage beat DuckDuckGo in the privacy department. So let’s add Startpage to Opera. Click on the Add button towards the bottom in the section labeled Other search engines.
In the Search engine field type Startpage.com, In the Keyword field, type s (or letter(s) of your choice and it is case sensitive). And in the URL with %s in place of the query, enter https://www.startpage.com/do/search?query=%s&cat=web&language=english
Then click on Add.
The downside with Opera is that this added search engine cannot be set as the default. You only have the option to remove or edit it.
Type the following in the URL or address bar and hit enter: chrome://settings/searchEngines
Chrome is very similar with only a few exceptions.
The Chrome settings display the web address as keywords but you can still use letters. Chrome also allows you to remove default engines from the list (except Google search, of course) and it also allows you to set an added page as the default search engine.
Type in the following in the address bar and hit enter: about:preferences#search
Under the Default Search Engine option in the drop-down menu, choose your poison.
To add a new search engine you have to scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the Find more search engines (in blue letters). Then you basically got to add the search engine as an add-on. Click on the one you want to add, then look for the blue Find more search engines link and confirm any prompts.
You can also click on a search engine to Remove it or Restore Default Search Engines. This removes the icons on the search from the address bar.
Firefox doesn’t seem to support keywords even when it’s displayed in the list of search engines. I couldn’t find any options to edit any information. If you want to search with a different engine, in the search bar, type the term you’re searching for and a menu will drop down, go to the Search for term with section and just click on one of the symbols there to choose a search engine.
I didn’t cover Microsoft Edge because the current version on my computer has the option to change default searches but only Bing is listed (surprised?) and with no option to add any others. That might change with the chromium version of Edge.