Thursday, May 3, 2012

Using "%s" Bookmark Shortcuts in Firefox

I sit at a computer from 7:30 AM to 5 PM. Seems like I have an awful lot of time to get stuff done, right?

Despite this, I'm always looking for ways to make my job faster and more efficient so I can spend more time as an amateur cartogrophile with Google Earth. Sometimes I just can't stand to spend all that time spelling out the entire word "thesaurus" to go to Thesaurus.com.

As a writer, I need an endless supply of synonyms to keep me from losing my mind. But man, I hate that word! And I hate having to visit the home page first to do a synonym query! If only there was some way to skip directly to the results, straight from the browser's address bar, without having to type out "thesaurus" yet again!

As it turns out, there's a simple way to do this with Firefox. If you're not using Firefox, then good for you—unless you're using Internet Explorer, in which case, please use Firefox.

Whenever you do a search query on Thesaurus.com, or Google, or Amazon, Youtube, Wikipedia, or just about any other site, you're redirected to a URL that includes your search keywords. For example, if I search Thesaurus.com for "yay," I'll be redirected to this URL:

http://thesaurus.com/browse/yay?s=t

I can bookmark this resulting URL, using the variable "%s" in place of "yay", and apply the keyword "the" in the Bookmarks folder to spawn this bookmark. Now, I can go to the browser's address bar and simply type "the yay" to get the same result. Way faster!

Here's how it works:


In the Bookmarks library, you can supply a keyword for each bookmark. These keywords can be typed into the address bar to take you directly to that bookmark. Anything typed into the address bar after the keyword will be inserted into the bookmarked URL wherever %s is.

Here's how to do it:


Go to a website and do a search. Bookmark the resulting URL by going to Bookmarks > Bookmark This Page.

 Now go to Bookmarks > Show all Bookmarks and click "Recently Bookmarked" to see the page you just bookmarked at the top of the window. Select it, and click the down arrow in the bottom left corner to expand more options.


In Location, replace the part of the URL that refers to your search terms with "%s".

In Keyword, include whatever you want.

You're done! Now you can type your keyword and your search terms in the address bar to run a quick search on the webpage you bookmarked.

There are tons of ways this can be used:


  • Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%s
  • The Weather Channel: http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/%s
  • YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%s
  • Songmeanings (Artists): http://www.songmeanings.net/query/?q=%s&type=artists
  • Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=%s
  • eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=%s
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/search/%s
  • Google Image Search: https://www.google.com/search?q=%s&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&authuser=0&ei=F6mZT6LZEoK69QTb0-D8BQ&biw=1348&bih=801&sei=G6mZT_jEOILo9ATr0rHvBQ
  • Craigslist (Atlanta): http://atlanta.craigslist.org/search/?areaID=14&subAreaID=&query=%s&catAbb=sss

Hey, don't ever say I haven't saved you 8 seconds of your life.

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