Nick DeNardis

User experience, code, higher education, analytics and accessibility.

Saving Keystrokes with Firefox and Keywords

As a university web worker we constantly are typing in the same pattern of URL for every site. This becomes time consuming and routinely gets misspelled forcing a rapid delete key actions. I also wondered in the back of my mind about a shortcut to typing in URL’s much like IM word shortcuts but never looked too far into it.

Yesterday thanks to a Lifehacker article I realized the URL shortcuts were built into firefox all along! I generally use de.icio.us or ma.gnolia for my bookmarks so frankly I have never opened the firefox bookmark manager. Maybe back in firefox 0.2 but it has ben a while.

Creating shortcuts are easy with Firefox keywords, first create a new bookmark.

Name can be anything.

Location is the base URL for your commonly typed site but instead of having a static URL we are going to replace the changeable part with %s. So, http://admissions.wayne.edu/ becomes http://%s.wayne.edu/.

Keyword is what will distinguish this link from the others, you want to keep it short but still memorable, we will use it in the next step.

Then simply go to the Address Bar and type in “w admissions”

Hit the Enter Key or Go button and…

Magic! You just saved yourself ~3 seconds. Over time though in a day you might save 2 minutes which adds up to about 14 minutes per week and and 728 minutes per year, or 12 hours!

That is a day and a half of work, for any web worker this feature is almost a requirement. For some reason it has fallen through the cracks for me and a few of my colleagues. I hope it helps you.