Another Cool Firefox Search Tool

In my Firefox series last week, I overlooked one of the browser’s most powerful search functions: An “always on” find as you type feature.

Firefox supports the standard Windows find on a page feature, opening a search form when you type CTRL-F. As I noted, this feature improves on Windows find, opening as a search form on the bottom of the browser rather than as a popup window that obscures the page.

Astute reader Reg Aubry chided me over neglecting to mention an even more powerful find on a page feature—but I admit I wasn’t aware of it until Reg pointed it out. He writes:

“While what you wrote is absolutely true, I feel it completely obscures the TRULY cool thing that Firefox does with find. After all, there’s nothing really neat or new about the implementation you described—the find feature on practically every Microsoft application works pretty much the same way, right down to the CTRL+F keyboard shortcut.

“What Firefox does that is maybe one of the top three usability advantages of the product is the Find As You Type feature. Why waste time with CTRL+F when you can just begin typing your search string and the characters automatically are highlighted on the page?

“For example, you could search for each instance of Firefox [on a page” simply by typing “Firefox.” As you enter each letter in the string, the word highlights on the page. To find the next instance, simply press the F3 key, repeating to find the next instance, and the next, etc. You don’t need to “turn on” the find feature, and then leave it up or shut it off with the red X, because it is ALWAYS available!”

The find as you type feature is enabled through the options menu. To turn it on, select Tools> Options > Advanced > Accessibility and tick the “Use Find As You Type” radio button. When you want to cancel a search string or start over, just press the ESC key.

There’s also a good discussion of other useful Firefox extensions going on in the Search Engine Watch forums.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Yahoo Hires Founder
Media Post Nov 15 2004 2:30PM GMT
Yahoo adds anti-spam tool, ups email storage
ZDNet UK Nov 15 2004 2:19PM GMT
Blinkx fills Smart Folders with search results
InfoWorld Nov 15 2004 1:27PM GMT
Can Amazon Unplug Google?
Business 2.0 prem Nov 15 2004 12:35PM GMT
Google finds its way onto cellphones
Boston Globe Nov 15 2004 9:59AM GMT
Sources Added to, Advanced Search Too!
Search Engine Watch Nov 15 2004 4:51AM GMT
Will Google Ban Trade in Trademarks?
Searchblog Nov 14 2004 4:51PM GMT
Desktop search engines threaten SSL VPN security
Network World Fusion Nov 14 2004 4:21PM GMT
Search wars – which is the best?
BBC Magazine Nov 14 2004 3:39PM GMT
Google Refunds Click Fraud Costs
Search Engine Round Table Nov 14 2004 5:19AM GMT
Google Makes Deal with Another Yellow Pages Provider
Search Engine Watch Nov 13 2004 4:32PM GMT
Microsoft Takes On Google, Yahoo – Softly
NewsFactor Network Nov 13 2004 1:35AM GMT
Google Desktop Security Warning Issued
Enterprise IT Planet Nov 13 2004 1:14AM GMT
Searching For Words
Forbes Nov 12 2004 8:33PM GMT

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