Change your default search settings in Firefox

Firefox Firefox Last updated: 04/04/2024 31% of users voted this helpful
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The Search panel in Firefox Settings lets you customize your search options. You can add or remove search engines, change your default search engine, change address bar settings, assign or change keyword shortcuts, turn the search bar on or off and choose whether to display search suggestions first or not at all.

Note: Some of the search engines introduced here are regionally bound and may not be accessible from every location. To ensure a smooth experience, make sure the search engine you are interested in adding or using is compatible with your region.

Open the Search panel

  1. In the Menu bar at the top of the screen, click Firefox and then select Preferences or Settings, depending on your macOS version.Click the menu button Fx89menuButton and select Settings.
  2. Select Search in the left pane.

Fx115settings-SearchPanelFx121settings-SearchBarFx122settings-SearchPanel

Search bar

  • Use the address bar for search and navigation: This is the default setting. It provides a unified search and address bar.
  • Add search bar in toolbar: Select this setting if you prefer a separate search bar.

Default search engine

  • Show search terms instead of URL on default search engine results page: Select this setting to show the search term you entered, in the address bar on the results page for your default search engine. Deselect this setting to show the URL instead. This setting is hidden if you have added a separate Search bar to your toolbar.

Use the drop-down menu under Default Search Engine to choose the search engine you wish to use by default.

Fx115settings-DefaultSearchEngineDropdownFx121settings-DefaultSearchEngineDropdownFx122settings-DefaultSearchEngineDropdown

Note: Some extensions that are added to Firefox can set a new default search engine.

Fx84DefaultSearchEngineSetByAddon

You can disable or remove the extension that made the change, or you can choose another search engine from the drop-down menu, if you prefer a different default.

Search suggestions

As you type into the search bar or the address bar, your default search engine shows you suggestions based on popular searches or on your previous searches. See Search suggestions in Firefox for more information.

Fx121settings-SearchSuggestions

  • Provide search suggestions: Select or deselect this setting to turn search suggestions on or off.
    • Show search suggestions in address bar results: When search suggestions are turned on, select this setting to also include search suggestions in the results that are listed when you search from the Firefox address bar. Up to two suggestions from your Search history may also appear. These will be indicated with a clock icon instead of a magnifying glass icon.
    • Show search suggestions ahead of browsing history in address bar results: Select this setting to show search suggestions before your browsing history.
    • Show search suggestions in Private Windows: Select this setting to show search suggestions in Private Browsing windows.

Fx122settings-SearchSuggestions

  • Show search suggestions: Select this setting to turn search suggestions on or off.
    • Show search suggestions ahead of browsing history in address bar results: Select this setting to show search suggestions before your browsing history.
    • Show search suggestions in Private Windows: Select this setting to show search suggestions in Private Browsing windows.
    • Show trending search suggestions: (U.S. only) Select this setting to show trending searches in address bar results.

Address bar

As you type into the address bar, Firefox may offer suggestions such as websites from your browsing history, bookmarks and open tabs. To learn more about this feature, see Address bar autocomplete suggestions in Firefox. You can choose the types of suggestions that are displayed in your Address bar settings:

Fx123settings-AddressBar
  • Browsing history: suggests pages that you've previously visited.
  • Bookmarks: suggests pages that you've bookmarked.
  • Open tabs: suggests pages that you have open in another tab.
  • Shortcuts: suggests your most visited sites (if Shortcuts are enabled in your New Tab page settings) when you click in the address bar.
  • Search engines: suggests results that include search engines.
Note: Users in the U.S. will see an Address Bar — Firefox Suggest section instead, with additional settings. To learn more, see How to customize Firefox Suggest settings.

Search alternatives

When you start typing in the address bar or search bar, you'll see icons below the search suggestions, to search instead with other search engines, Bookmarks, Tabs or History.

Fx89SearchAlternatives

You can choose an alternative search type and use it for your search, if you don't want to use the current default.

To remove alternative search engines you don't want to be displayed in the search bar or address bar, remove the check mark next to the search engine listed in the Search panel under Search Shortcuts. This will not remove the search engines themselves.

Remove or add search engines

To remove a search engine from Firefox, restore the default search engines that come with Firefox or add a new search engine, go to the Search Shortcuts section of the Search panel.

Remove a search engine

  1. Click the search engine you want to remove, to highlight it.
  2. Click the Remove button at the bottom, to take it off your list.
    Search shortcuts - Remove engine
Note: You must use the Add-ons manager to remove any search engines installed as Firefox extensions (see Disable or remove Add-ons for details).

Restore default search engines

If you remove any of the search engines that come with Firefox by default, click Restore Default Search Engines at the bottom of the Search panel to bring them back.

Add a new search engine

  1. Click the Find more search engines link at the bottom of the Search panel.
    A Firefox Add-ons page will open, listing available search tools.
  2. Click the search engine you want to add and click Add to Firefox.

For more information about adding or removing search engines, see Add or remove a search engine in Firefox.

Search engine keywords

You can assign or change keyword shortcuts for your favorite search engines to make it easier to perform a search. For more information, see Assign shortcuts to search engines.

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