Press Tab To Search: Tab Shortcut In Chrome Browser Address Bar

Intuitive, yet under the radar

I finally dug into what appeared to be a magical shortcut in my Chrome address bar.  If you are using the Google Chrome browser, you will want to know about this!  I had the darndest time finding out about what exactly this was.  Google certainly hasn’t been forthcoming in advertising this tab shortcut in Chrome feature.

Automatic search from address bar

You probably figured out that, if you have enabled Google as your default search engine, you can directly type your search terms directly in the address bar.  But, there’s a whole other world of shortcuts available, specifically around search.  For any site that has its own search box, you can program Chrome to go directly to that search in one click.  Below you will find out what this feature is and how to set it up.

“Press tab to search” directly in your Chrome address bar

If you type out, you can then hit tab and the search term and the search results will pop up immediately below.  However, you can also go directly into many other sites.  Here is what happens when, for example, you have Linkedin set up.  You type in “,” hit the tab button and then type in the name of the person you are looking to research in Linkedin.  Below is the message you will see appear on the right hand side of the Chrome address bar:

Press tab to search

Magic in your Chrome Address Bar

Personalizable search feature from the address bar

I was able to set up the same system for other sites with a search function; even for this very blog.  Same idea: I can now type in “”, hit tab then enter the term I wish to find in my blog. Here is how to set up other search engines on Chrome:

  • Go to the Chrome Wrench (settings)
  • Preferences (you can hit ⌘+,)
  • Under Basics – Search, go to “Manage Search Engines.”

You will come across a page that will look like this:

Google Chrome Search Engine Address Bar Preferences

The magic zone

At the bottom of this section, you will find a space where you can personalize and input the other sites you would like to reach directly from the address bar:

Bottom of Google Chrome Search Engine Preferences

The personalizable search engine

In this manner, you can enter your own list of searchable sites.  N.B.: you need to make sure that URL in the third box (“URL with %s…”) leads directly to the query box on the target site.  For themyndset, this means putting in the following code:

Tada.  What do you think?  Were you aware of this?

  • denizsi

    Thank you for this piece. Somehow, I lost this functionality for just one website (Google Images) when I reinstalled Chrome and I’ve been fruitlessly trying to enable it again. It finally works again now. Always surprised when a solution is so simple.

    • Minter Dial

      Ah the mysteries and pleasures of the web!

  • Obsbi

    yes but how do you find the url that leads directly to the query box on the target site? (let say in google translate)

    • Minter Dial

      I’m not exactly sure of the way it works for each site, but I have discovered that if the site has a search bar on it, then you just need to add the term “?s=%s” or “?q=%s” to the end of the URL. For example, for my site, you would use “” What I did to figure it out: I put a query into the search bar on the site that I want to have as a “search”, then I check the syntax in the result and deduct the ending necessary. Not exactly clear guidance I’m sure… but hope this helps.