Setting up bookmarks that lets you search a website using keyboard shortcuts can be a great time saver. (In an earlier post, I showed how you can create custom search engine on Chrome). Sadly though, custom search engines on Chrome are not synced to the cloud. And even if it was, it is not possible to get access to them on another browser such as Firefox or on a public computer. For this reason, Dan Hersam has created Shortmarks.
Shortmarks (Shortcut Bookmarks) is a free online service that lets you use a single set of keyword bookmarks or custom search engines from any browser on any computer, without installing any extension.
All you need to start using it is a Google account. Once registered, you are presented with a default set of bookmarks. You can customize them or add your own keyword bookmark by clicking on the ‘Edit Bookmarks’ button seen on the lower-right corner of the page. You can also click on any of the keywords to bring up the edit screen.
To use Shortmarks, set it as your browser’s default search engine. Then when you do a query from your address bar, it will automatically take you to the default search engine. Or if it detects a keyword, you are taken to that particular website.
To get a better idea on how this service works check out the this screencast:
Set Shortmarks as your Default Search Engine
On Chrome, go to chrome://settings/searchEngines. Find ‘Shortmarks’ in the long list of search engines and click on “Make default”. For others, find your web browser on this page and follow the instructions.
Create a New Search Engine on Shortmarks
There are two ways to add a new custom search engine for any website on Shortmarks:
On the Edit page, type in the keyword to initiate a search on the site you want, enter its name and URL in respective boxes. The process to add a search URL is similar to what you may already be used to on Chrome and Firefox. Simply do an arbitrary search on the site you wish to add, copy the search URL into the Search link box and replace the keyword you used with a
%s. Click on “Save” button to save your changes.
Using a Bookmarklet:
This should be the preferred way to create a custom search bookmark. Go to the Help page on Shortmarks and drag the bookmarklet to your browser. Now browse to the site you wish to add and do a search for “SHORTMARKS” – all capitals. On the result page, just click on the bookmarklet. It will automatically grab the website’s name, URL and search URL. All that is left for you to enter is the keyword.
Import Your Existing Custom Search Engines to Shortmarks
If you are already using keyword shortcuts or custom search engines in your browser, follow the instructions on this page to import them into Shortmarks.