How To Use Google Chrome Custom Search Engines To Boost Productivity


The Google Chrome web browser is by far the most used app on nearly every device I own. This is mostly because functions that were traditionally provided by standalone desktop applications are now made available as integrated online services that can be accessed from anywhere. So, the browser has become more than just a way of viewing websites, it’s how I access my email, calendar, to do lists, phone system, helpdesk, CRM and accounting software just to name a few!

TLDR? Skip to the video on YouTube:

With so much time spent working in a tool, it is important to understand how to use it to complete tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. Google Chrome is an easy to use tool that is full of time saving features. In this tech tip, we demonstrate how to use the omnibox and custom search engines in Google Chrome to streamline repetitive tasks and boost your productivity.

The omnibox is the area located at the top of the Google Chrome browser where you can enter a website address. It is like the address bar in other browsers but in addition to entering website addresses such as, you can enter search terms just as you would on a search engine like “technojudo how to video”.

Google Chrome Omnibox

The power of the omnibox is extended with a feature called custom search engines. The custom search engine feature allows you to search other websites directly from the omnibox address bar. As an example, instead of opening Gmail, then clicking the search field and then typing your search, you can type a keyword like “gm” for gmail and your search all in one step! (See example below) This feature is immensely useful and allows you to conveniently search a countless number of services such as your email, calendar, Dropbox, Google Drive files and shopping sites like Amazon.

Google Chrome Custom Search Example

To create a custom search engine in Google Chrome, you need to do two things: 1. find the search engine URL and 2. locate where to put the search string within the search engine URL. Let’s say we wanted to create a custom search engine for We’d perform the following steps:

Note: Step-by-step YouTube Video Tutorial also available here:

Find Search Engine URL
1. Browse to the website you’d like to search (e.g.

Browse To Amazon

2. Click in the search box on the website and type a search that will be easy to recognize such as NNN and press enter. This is our search string.

Search On Amazon

3.  Click in the omnibox, make sure the entire web address is highlighted and copy the address (right click and select copy or use the keyboard combination Ctrl+C to copy). This is our search engine URL.

Copy On Amazon

Locate Where To Insert Search String (%s)
4. Right-click in the omnibox > Click Edit search engines… > Click Add

Google Chrome Edit Search Engines

Click Add

Google Chrome Add Search Engine Button

5. In the Add search engine window:
a. Type a name for the custom search engine under “Search engine”. In this example we will use Amazon.
b. Type a keyword to use to perform this search.
TIP: Use a short keyword such as “amz” to reduce typing.
This keyword lets Google Chrome know that you want to perform a search with this particular custom search engine. To use it you would simply
c. Paste in the address you copied in step 3 under the field with the label “URL with %s in place of query”.
For example:

Google Chrome Add Search Engine Window

d. Replace your search string from step 2 with %s
Our final URL should look like

Google Chrome Replace Search String

e. Click the add button.

6. Use your new custom search engine by clicking in the omnibox, type the keyword such as amz and hit the Space bar or Tab key and then type your search terms such as battleworn tshirt and press the Enter key.

7. Congratulations! You’ve just created your first custom search engine.

About Paul Luckett

Paul Luckett is the founder of, a resource dedicated to helping people get more done with less effort. The time he saves by leveraging technology is invested toward becoming a better husband, father and entrepreneur. Paul enjoys creating new things. You can read about his latest project here.

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