Add custom searches to Internet Explorer’s address bar to save your time

Recently we posted a detailed tutorial on how you can add custom keywords in Google Chrome to perform searches from its address bar faster. Today, we should like to show you how to do the same for Internet Explorer. IE does not come with any options in its UI to configure these searches, but we will try to make it simple. Using the custom searches feature, you can save a lot of time and speed up your daily search-related tasks for Internet Explorer.

Searching from the address bar is possible in Internet Explorer since IE6. Even if the separate search box was added for IE7 and IE8 to improve the search provider usability, address bar search has always been there.

However, as I mentioned above, Internet Explorer has no GUI to define these custom searches, so we have to use Registry Editor.

  1. Open Registry Editor (Tip: see our detailed tutorial about Registry Editor).
  2. Navigate to the following key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl

    Tip: You can access any desired Registry key with one click.

  3. Create here a new key. The name you give to this key should be the alias that you wish to use in the address bar. You can define your own aliases. For example, suppose you want to use g for Google, then you should name the key 'g'. For Wikipedia, you could use 'w'. For Bing, you could use 'b' and so on. In this example we will use 'img' as the alias for Google Images. So in this case, we named the new key as img.
  4. Set the default value of the newly created key (e.g. 'img' in our case) to the search url. For the Google Images search, set it to the following value:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=%s&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en

    The %s portion of the URL will be replaced with your search query or search term.

  5. At the same key, now you must create string values according to the list below, "name"="value" respectively:

    " "="+"
    "%"="%25"
    "#"="%23"
    "?"="%3F"
    "&"="%26"
    "+"="%2B"
    "="="%3D"

  6. That's it. You should get something like this:
    Internet Explorer Custom Search
  7. Now in IE's address bar, type img <some search term>. It will perform the search with Google Images instantly:
    custom search example
    custom search results

That's it! Here is a registry file template for you to add new searches easily:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\ENTER SEARCH ALIAS]
@="ENTER SEARCH URL with %s"
" "="+"
"%"="%25"
"#"="%23"
"?"="%3F"
 "&"="%26"
 "+"="%2B"
"="="%3D"

As a bonus, I would like to offer you a set of custom searches we created, which can be useful for you. It contains 12 useful shortcuts and services.

You can download those searches and the template above as a registry file from here:

Download registry files

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