How to Combine Firefox’s Search Box and Location Bar, Just Like in Chrome

firefox omnibar.jpeg

I was a long time Firefox user, but moved to Chrome when Firefox started to feel bloated. With the release of Firefox 4, I’ve gone back to using Firefox as my primary browser (although I still use Chrome quite a bit, too). When I’m using Firefox, one feature that I miss from Chrome is the Omnibar, Chrome’s combined location box and search box. Firefox’s Awesome Bar has some nice features of its own, but if space is at a premium on your machine, you can get Chrome-like Omnibar goodness with the Omnibar extension for Firefox.

The Omnibar extension was a tool that I actively hunted down, knowing that there HAD to be a Firefox extension that combined the two toolbar boxes. The extension does just that, plus a bit more. It will show you search and url suggestions as you type. You can also change search engines on the fly, using keywords. For example, typing “keepass vs. lastpass @y” (without quotes) will perform the “keepass vs. lastpass” search in Yahoo. Thanks to the Omnibar extension, I’ve been able to save some serious screen real estate on my Air, getting all the various toolbars squeezed into two rows.

How have you hacked your Firefox installation, whether to get more space or to get some other awesomeness?

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. My Fx4 installation is already very sluggish with 4 extensions (it’s a netbook), so won’t bother adding another one. The Awesome Bar is quite functional as it is; and you can use search engine keywords without this extension. You can open the Fx search engine manager and assign keywords for each one.

    • Dan – agree with you re the netbook. I run Chrome on mine.

      However, I found Firefox’s search engine keyword management a bit unwieldy to be honest after using Chrome. On a netbook I hide the search engine box and it was thus even more complicated to manage keywords etc. So I switched back to Chrome as the main browser on that machine.

    • Like Dan, I used Chrome on my network before I got my Macbook Air. Chrome just felt faster (really, that’s the only machine I’ve ever noticed a speed difference in browsers).

      Thanks for the tip on the search engine manager and keywords – I’ll have to check this out on other machines.

  2. Thanks Evan. I think I had played with this for much the same reasons you set out but hadn’t been happy with an earlier iteration of it. I’ve had another look at it now and they do seem to have perfected it. It does mess with some of the other icons in my URL bar but I can live with that. It’s still not as nice as in Google Chrome but a good-enough compromise I guess.

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