Friday, September 29, 2006

IE 'command line' searches

dwarning: this trick requires a change to the registry. if you're not familiar with backing up the registry, do not try this!

here are some registry entries that make it easy to search common sources from the Internet Explorer (IE) address bar. it's so fast - no mouse required - that I thought I'd share it.

once you have this running, just type the shortcut and your search word into the 'Address' bar at the top of IE and you're searching. I've added a bunch (e.g. to the list), but you can add your own - as long as the site's seach has the right URL format. for example, to look up a word, I simply type "d word" into the IE address bar and I'm taken to the search results for "word."

1. save these registry entries in a new text file with the .reg extension

--- cut this line out - begin ---
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\g]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\q]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\mscom]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\msdn]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\d]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\fr]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\en]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\cd]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\a]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\bt]
---- cut this line out --- end ----------

2. double-click your .reg file - you'll get a prompt asking if you're sure then a message saying that changes were made

3. your virus scanner may ask you to approve the changes to the registry

Public Examples:

g 'terms' - Google search
d 'word' -
q 'symbol' - stock quote
ms 'terms' - search
msdn 'terms' - developer network
en 'french word' - translate to English
fr 'english word' - translate to French
j 'term' - look up in Jargon Dictionary
bt 'term' - search torrents on

when I was at MS, I also used to use these Microsoft Internal Examples:

m - MSW search
o - http://office search
p - mysite on http://office

if you don’t like the abbreviations they’re easy to change — just change the key shortcut for the entry.

remember, if you have IE open, ALT+D is the keyboard shortcut to get to the address bar.

note: don't send your version to people as a .reg file. virus scanners will not like it. you can change the extension to .txt.

update: as deighvan commented, "TweakUI (a free microsoft 'powertoy') does this easily." (thanks for the comment BTW) I'm a fan of TweakUI, and the Power Toys in general (especially Command Prompt Anywhere), but it's not needed if all you want is a few searches.

- the TweakUI Power Toy setting IE searches


Keith said...

You have en in your list twice friend

Stephen Cawood said...

yes indeed.

Anonymous said...

TweakUI (a free microsoft 'powertoy') does this easily, as well as a few other tweaks. It's the first thing I install on a fresh copy of XP.