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In Firefox, pressing ⌘ cmd K used to open a search page. But as of recent updates, it only focuses the URL bar.

I have the search bar hidden... so this sort of makes sense. However when I want to search for something with periods in it, Firefox treats it as a URL. For example: document.getElementById().

Is there a way to restore the old ⌘ cmd K functionality of opening a true search field?

  • Thank you everyone for trying to help. It looks like a bug with firefox. I went to file the bug at bugzilla, and saw this is a regression from 3 years ago. bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=950014 – Jules Apr 7 '17 at 3:03
  • @patrix, I found Phong's answer to be the best and most appropriate. It restored CMD+K to a dedicated search. The only con is it requires at least the firefox menu item to be visible. – Jules Apr 7 '17 at 13:48
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When searching from the URL bar, I prepend a space before search terms containing a .. This forces Firefox not to treat the first two words as a domain name. This has worked since even before Firefox 1.0.

In your case though, make sure you have the Search Bar in Firefox’s drawer/“hamburger” menu. Pressing ⌘ cmd K focuses that search bar for me, without needing to drag it onto the application’s main toolbar.

Search Menu

If the Search Bar is missing, open that same menu, and click Customize. Drag the Search Bar from the collection of Additional Tools and Features onto your “hamburger” menu.

Customize Menu

If the Search Bar isn’t available from there, you may need to Restore Defaults.

  • That does work, and it's the closest I can get to the original functionality. However for me that menu is opening on top of the browser window, making it not useful, it's off screen. – Jules Apr 7 '17 at 3:00
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    I moved the menu button around, restarted firefix, and now it seems to work OK. Thank you @Phong! – Jules Apr 7 '17 at 3:09
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This seems to work, in that it allows you to search in the URL bar for things that Firefox interprets as URLs.

  1. Hit Command+K
  2. Enter document.getElementById()
  3. Hit the TAB key (or the down key) once to change selection from http://document.getElementById() - Visit to document.getElementById() - Search with Google
  4. Hit ENTER
  • That's fine for CMD+L but I want the dedicated search field back for CMD+K. – Jules Apr 6 '17 at 21:09
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    I'm confused. You want the dedicated search field back, but only when you hit CMD+K? – Alistair McMillan Apr 6 '17 at 21:12
  • Yes. Command+K used to show the firefox start page. It showed the search field in the middle with the cursor already focused. – Jules Apr 6 '17 at 22:57
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The reason you can't make the commandK keyboard shortcut take you to the dedicated search field is because it's not there. So, it now comes to a decision between learning how to use the URL field to conduct the search you want, or getting the dedicated search bar back?

Here are your two options:

  1. Leave it as is and when you conduct a search for something that has periods in it, just use quotation marks. So, instead os searching for document.getElementById(), you search for "document.getElementById()" instead.
  2. Restore the default toolbar by going to View > Toolbars > Customize... and in the window that appears, select the Restore Defaults option at bottom-right. This will make the dedicated search field present and allow the commandK keyboard shortcut to work as you want.
  • Thank you for the contribution. However this is not what I was looking for. In a recent previous version of FF the search field did not have to be visible for Command+K to run a dedicated search. – Jules Apr 6 '17 at 22:58
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    In that case, can you clarify how it did work? For example, you have FF open at some website and decide to press Command+K, what happens? Did a dedicated search field appear in the toolbar? Did a popup window appear? Something else? It's not clear to me how it worked if the dedicated search wasn't in your toolbar to begin with. – Monomeeth Apr 6 '17 at 23:04
  • Aah, I'v just seen your comment to Alistair's answer. So Command+K used to just open the FF start page. Hmm... – Monomeeth Apr 6 '17 at 23:57

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