DuckDuckGo introduced !bang shortcuts very early in its life as a way for users to quickly use other services from the search engine’s website. Adding !github, !ghacks or !google in front of a term would redirect the query to the site immediately.
The HTML bookmarks file bang-bookmarks brings thousands of DuckDuckGo’s !bang shortcuts to the Firefox web browser. All it takes is to import the file in Firefox to start using them.
Behind the scenes, bang-bookmarks is using keywords, which Firefox still supports but does not really advertise much. Keywords are mapped to bookmarks so that the bookmarked pages can be opened using the keyword instead of having to type part or all of the bookmarked address. Search engines in Firefox do use keywords, but bookmarks don’t by default.
Here is how this works:
- Start by downloading the latest bookmarks file from the official GitHub repository. The file is compatible with Firefox bookmarks and includes more than 10,000 entries.
- Open the Firefox web browser afterwards and select Menu > Bookmarks > Manage Bookmarks, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-O instead to open the bookmarks manager.
- Once open, select Import and Backup > Import Bookmarks from HTML.
- Select the downloaded bookmarks.html file from the local system to have Firefox import it. The process may take several minutes to complete, depending on the device that you are using.
All imported bookmarks are added to Bookmarks Menu > Bang Bookmarks. You can check them there, and remove some that you are not interested in.
Once the bookmarks file has been imported, you can start using the !bang shortcuts in Firefox. Try something like !github powertoys, !ghacks windows 11, or !ytb firefox to redirect search queries to the listed services.
Tip: open the bookmarks manager in Firefox again and select a bookmark to display its keyword. You may also use the search field to find bookmarks quickly.
Adding the bookmarks and keywords to Firefox bypasses DuckDuckGo and keeps everything local. The downside to adding thousands of bookmarks to Firefox is that you end up with a huge number that you may not need. You could add often used services to the Firefox bookmarks and add keywords for each of them to use them this way. Or, you could import the file and remove any bookmark that you don’t require, but that is certainly time consuming.
The importing added several broken bookmarks to the bookmarks of Firefox. Some keywords looked like this !u03c5u03c4, and some bookmark names like that 11ubc88uac00 Search, which suggests that either the importing ran into issues or that the base file has these issues already.
Now You: do you use keywords in your browser of choice or !bangs on DuckDuckGo?
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