Modify Firefox’s Context Menu Search Behavior with Context Search

By default, the Firefox web browser is pretty configurable. You can change its look and feel with themes, how it behaves, how to navigate it with keyboard shortcuts and more. You can even change the search engine used by the search box. (image 1) This is fantastic as – no matter how good Google’s search engine is, or how many people use it – there are those who want more flexibility, and the ability to change search engines provides that.

Speaking of search, Firefox also offers the ability to search from inside a web page, without using the search box. Simply highlight a word on the website you’re browsing, right-click, then search for that word using Google. (image 2) The only drawback with this is that – unlike the search box – you aren’t able to change the search engine used in the contextual menu. Google is the only option.

Unless you use Context Search, a brilliant Firefox extension that adds a number of options. You can find Context Search at this page. Simply click the large green button to begin the installation process, and when it finishes (you’ll need to allow the installation), restart your browser. When the browser comes back, you’ll notice that the search option within the contextual menu looks a bit different. (image 3)

Now, instead of only having Google as an option, you get a submenu of different search engines:


Context Search has no configuration options of its own, so you can use it to re-order the search engines as they appear in the submenu. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t change their order. Return to the search box and click the icon to view the list of available search engines, then click the bottom option (Manage Search Engines). A new window will appear (image 4) and from this interface, we can place the search engines in a new order.

As you can see, we’ve placed Yahoo on top, then Bing, and then Google (which used to be on top). We could also add new search engines to the interface, and when we’re finished here, the Context Search extension uses those settings, so you’ll find that Yahoo and Bing are now on top in this interface as well. (image 5)

All in all, Context Search is a pretty fantastic extension. It’s simple, which is always a plus, so it’s easy to use. It fits in seamlessly with the Firefox interface (you wouldn’t even know it wasn’t a default part of Firefox), and because that’s the case, it doesn’t stick out at all. It adds a nice bit of functionality (that to be honest would be nice if it was there already), and it makes Firefox more useful. What could be better?

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