Fastest Search - an Addon helping Firefox beat Google Chrome Instant and does much more!
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How to move the icon of Fastest Search to the Firefox toolbar?

I don't like xxxx feature, how do I turn it off?

  • Turn off the Instant:
    • To turn if off completely, just left click on FastestSearch icon, check the 'Disable all Instant features' option.
    • Or use the Ctrl-Alt-I keyboard shortcut to toggle it.
    • Note: If you want to disable the Suggestions instead, see below
    • If you only want to disable Instant in LocationBar, left click on FastestSearch icon on addon, choose 'Instant Settings', uncheck the 'Instant URL Bar' option.
    • To disable Instant for ';g keyword' syntax in both LocationBar and SearchBar for all engines, choose 'Instant Settings', then choose 'No Engines' radio button (choose 'All Engines' would enable it for all engines).
    • To disable Instant for a particular engine, in 'Manage Search Engines', click 'Edit' for the engine and uncheck the checkbox at bottom for 'Instant Preview' (if 'No Engines' or 'All Engines' are chosen like described above, this setting will be ignored)
  • Turn off the Suggestions:
    • Left click on FastestSearch icon, check the 'Do not show suggestions' option. Or use the Ctrl-Alt-S keyboard shortcut to toggle it.
  • Turn off the Smart Searchbox:
    • Left click on FastestSearch icon, check the 'Do not show the Smart Searchbox' option to completely turn it off. But I would recommend you choose the following way:
    • Left click on FastestSearch icon, enter '0' into 'Hide Smart Searchbox after __ seconds'. Smart Searchbox won't show up by default either.
    • The 2nd way you can still use 'Shift' key to bring the Smart Searchbox up when needed. Use 'Ctrl' key to hide it again.
  • Turn off the Autocopy/Middle click paste:
    • Left click on FastestSearch icon, uncheck the 'Autocopy on selection' and 'Middleclick pastes' options.
  • Turn off the right click drag-n-drop:
    • For dnd on links, left click on FastestSearch icon, click on 'Misc. Settings' on top, check the 'No drag-n-drop links' option.
    • For dnd on images, left click on FastestSearch icon, click on 'Image Save Settings' on top, uncheck the 'Save image on drag-n-drop' option.
    • For turning off both, left click on FastestSearch icon, check the 'No drag-n-drop at all' option.
  • Turn off Fastest Shopping Assistant:
    • First of all I hope you reconsider. It's useful at least from time to time. It also helps me to develop the addon further.
    • Now if you insist, just left click on FastestSearch icon, uncheck the "Enable Shopping Assistant" in the Options panel. That's it.
  • Turn off shortcut search (like 'g test' searches for "test" on Google) on certain or all engines:
    • First place note that this is different than turning off Instant or turning of Suggestions.
    • Second, the only way to turn off shortcut search for engine(s) is to remove the engine(s).
    • To do that, left click on FastestSearch icon, click on 'Search Engines' on top, check the engine(s) you want to delete, then go to bottom of the panel and click the 'Removed the Checked Engines' button.
  • Turn off other features:
    • Left click on FastestSearch icon, click on 'Misc. Settings' on top, check/uncheck as appropriate.
    • There shouldn't be anything else that is on by default. If you want further customizations like location/size of a panel etc., just check all the options panel and get familiarized with what's available.

Sometimes in URL Bar the text I typed in stayed there, how do it make the page's URL show up instead?

  • Click inside the URL Bar, press 'Esc' key.

In FS3.31 search tabs open on left now. How do I make it open on right instead, like previously?

  • In FS3.32+, left click on FastestSearch icon, click on 'Misc. Settings' on top, uncheck the 'Open SSB/search result tabs on left'.

How do I create a new search engine Category?

  • When you add/edit an engine, simply add/edit the Category textbox to the desired category name. Right now FS does not allow adding a category without an engine. You add/change category in search engine's settings.
  • For example, "Google" engine has the category "General" by default. If you change its category to "Whatever", now you have a new category named "Whatever".

Are search engine and category names case-sensitive?

  • Yes.

Why can't you put in Options for Fastest Search in the Addon Manager like other addons?

  1. FS was created using Addon SDK, which didn't support the Options like XUL-based addons initially.
  2. When Addon SDK finally supports the Options in Addon Manager in experimental mode and only in one tab, FS already grew to so many options that one tab won't fit all options.
  3. More importantly, FS's current Options panels have the blue '?' mark that gives context-sensitive help for nearly every option, it's nicer this way.
  4. Given how much prefs and docs there are for all FS options, it's unlikely I will ever use the Options in Addon Manager because it'd take way too much time to convert with minimal gain (I do admit that switching among tabs/panels is easier with the Addon Manager Options).

How do I search for multiple terms in the text on current tab (or all tabs) at once?

  • Whether you're search current tab or all tabs, if you use '|' between terms, FS will search for both terms. So if you enter 'old|used|sale', FS will find any text that matches either 'old' or 'used' or 'sale'.
  • This feature by default works for both regex and non-regex search. In FS3.32+, you can disable this feature for non-regex search by going to the 'Text Search Settings' and uncheck "Use '|' as ..." option.

How do I find only find the numbers on the current page that is bigger than 3 but smaller than 25?

  • Press Ctrl-Shift-F (or Ctrl-F) to open the Search Panel. Check the 'Regex' checkbox, enter a pattern for numbers like '[0-9.]+'. Now press and hold Ctrl and Alt keys while pressing Enter key or clicking on the "Search" button. This activates the feature and shows you detailed instructions.
  • This is a very advanced feature. You're supposed to know both regular expression and javascript to be able to utilize it and do such post-match processing!

What are the useful modifier combinations with the Search Panel?

  • Press and hold Shift while pressing Enter key or clicking on the "Search" button will toggle the "text search opens a summary list" setting in "Text Search Settings", i.e., when that checkbox is checked, Shift key will force no show of the Match List Panel. If that checkbox is unchecked, Shift key will force showing the Match List Panel.
  • If 'All tabs' option is checked, then press and hold Alt key while pressing Enter key or clicking on the "Search" button will open the tab title/URL search restriction options. You can then restrict to search only the tabs whose title/URL match certain pattern you enter, etc.
  • If 'regex' option is checked, then press and hold both the Ctrl and Alt keys while pressing Enter key or clicking on the "Search" button will open the post match processing options. This is a very advanced feature and please follow the instructions.

What regex syntax is supported in regular expression search?

  • Any regex syntax supported by Javascript is supported with the following exceptions:
    1. Any ' ', '\t', '\n' and so on is replaced with \s+ (reason is clear for HTML files).
    2. '.' is changed to [\s\S] by FS to ensure searching across lines (because lines are hard to tell in HTML, see more below).
    3. '^' or '$' only match the start and end of the entire document, not at start/end of a line. If you know the file/text you're searching is plain text or inside <pre> tag, you can use '([\n\r]|^)expr' or 'expr([\n\r]|$)' to replace the '^' and '$' (note: this is to search plain text only, not real HTML file which has the issue I explain below)
    4. The above exceptions are all due to the fact that in HTML, it is extremely hard to tell where a line break is in the text. Is it <br> or <p>? Or text wrapping in a <td>, <div>? Or the usual [\n\r] (which html renderer treats as a space)? It's because of this problem that FS did not attempt to decide where a newline is. I encourage you to use the workaround above + Xpath (press Ctrl-Alt-T) to restrict search and/or the post-match processing (since v3.36, see a couple questions above) to get what you want.

What's the order of the engines in the Smart Searchbox?

  • The first engine you enter in 'Smart Searchbox Engines' box in Options is right next to the textbox.
  • The other engines you entered follow the first engine one by one in left->right, top->bottom order. You can preview the order since Fastest Search v3.0 (note: preview requires that the current tab in browser contains a real webpage like, not sth. like 'about:newtab'. Exceptions are that 'about:blank' and 'about:home' work too because they contain real DOM)

Why doesn't the Smart Searchbox show up when I select text in a textbox/email compose mode, etc.?

  • It's because I believe (from my own experience) that when one selects text in a text input/textarea/other editable areas on page, most likely one is editing it (like cutting, deleting, replacing, moving the text). In such case, popping up the SSB will get plenty of users to complain about it. So it's disabled by default.
  • In cases where you do want SSB to show up when selecting text in editable textbox/areas, press down 'Alt-Shift' while you select, and SSB will show up (note that this feature is for FS v3.0 and above. Older FS doesn't have this feature).

How to add an engine I like?

  • See this demo video.
  • Right click inside the textbox that you type your query in on the engine page and choose 'Create Fastest Search'.
  • IF you don't see 'Create Fastest Search', no worries, type 'TESTKEY' in the query textbox and search for it. Once result page is fully displayed, click on 'Fastest Search' icon, then select 'Add Engine for Current Page'.
  • Please note that you should always test the engine using the Test query textbox in the Add/Edit Engine panel. If the test didn't work, then change query method from 'GET' to 'POST'. It should work.

How to enable Find-As-You-Type text search feature?

  • Click on Fastest Search icon, then click "Text Search Settings" on top, then check the 'Find-as-you-type on page?' checkbox.
  • In FS3.32+, you can press '/' in a non-editable area on a webpage to activate FAYT feature (just like you can do the same to activate Firefox's own FAYT feature).

Why Find-As-You-Type tells me 'key too short' when I typed just one letter?

  • For performance reason, Fastest Search is shipped with minimum keyword length set to 2 for FAYT feature.
  • To have FAYT work on keywords with just 1 letter (like 'a') - it would find many many useless matches on page for sure - but if you insist, click on Fastest Search icon, then click "Text Search Settings" on top, then change the 'Minimum keyword length for FAYT' from 2 to 1.

How do I restrict search to only the links or lists on the webpage?

  • Press 'Ctrl-Alt-T' to popup an option where you can restrict text search to links only, lists in tables only, divs of a certain CSS class only... Just follow the example at the popup or learn to use XPath to restrict it!
  • Note that the popup also tells you that the XPath accepted is a little modified!

Suddenly some features in Fastest Search seems to stop working, why?

  • In FS version 3.0 where auto-refresh is enabled by default in the Options, this problem should not persist any more (users who had this issue before confirmed that). If you see it happening, email me - but first make sure you're using the latest Firefox + latest FS version.
  • In the meantime, if problem still persists (very very unlikely, no one reported that for FS 3.0 with auto-refresh checkbox checked), go to addon manager, disable/reenable, uninstall then reinstall Fastest Search and/or restart Firefox, problem should go away.

I'm using Palemoon equivalent to FF19.0.2, and FS v3.0 doesn't work, what to do?

  • FS 3.0 is packed with Addon SDK 1.14, which seems to create compatibility issue with Palemoon. One way is to wait for Palemoon to release an update that's compatible with Addon SDK 1.14.
  • In the meantime, you can download FS 3.0 packed with older Addon SDK 1.13.2, which works in Palemoon.

When I typed in urlbar, I never saw Instant loading of my history/bookmark result, why?

  • You may have turned Firefox's option about history/bookmark off. Just go to Firefox Option/Preference->Privacy tab->Location Bar (at bottom) and choose "History and Bookmarks".
  • See this demo video for where the option is.

Why occassionally I see the division showing count of matches on page has yellow background and gray font?

  • For very long web pages, Fastest Search caches the text of the page for searching again to make find-as-you-type faster.
  • To remind you that the cached text of page was used in searching instead of current text, Fastest Search shows yellow background for the count of matches instead.
  • If you want the cached text NOT used, press 'Ctrl-Shift-F' to open Search Panel, type in keyword, then press the 'Search' key to search. This will force refresh the cached text for the page.

How to remove the Fastest Search scrollbar and special selection color on a web page after text search?

  • Press 'Esc' key. Or refresh the page.

How come the content messes up in "Search Engines" panel when I scroll it?

  • This is a Firefox bug in FF26 that happens on Windows only (and with Hardware Acceleration enabled). FF27 fixed it.
  • So to get around this issue, you can choose any of the methods below:
    • Turn off Hardware Acceleration and restart Firefox
    • Wait at least a few seconds before you scroll again to have contents show up
    • Use FF27beta or above, where FF fixed the bug.
    • Use Linux or Mac, which both worked fine even with Hardware Acceleration enabled.

How come I see a blank panel instead of a panel with options when I click on the Fastest Search icon?

  • So far only two users had seen this on their computers only. Turns out that they had to disable the Hardware Acceleration in their Firefox, which apparently caused some display problems on their computer.
  • If you see the same issue on your computer, just go to Firefox Options->Advanced->General->Use Hardware Acceleration when available, turn it off. Then restart Firefox. The display of options should work now.

When adding a search engine to Fastest Search, I tried to paste in a URL for an icon I like as the favicon, but it never got displayed/saved?

  • Turns out that NoScript (or possibly similar Javascript-restriction addons) disabled my favicon-saving script in the Add Engine panel. There's no way to solve it other than temporarily disabling NoScript (or allow all website) to allow it to work, then enable NoScript again.

Why the highlight of current matches on Match Distribution Bar not matching Firefox's scrollbar exactly?

  • Simple: Firefox's scrollbar has 2 arrows that took up space on the scrollbar while Fastest Search's Match Distribution Bar does not have. The difference in the actual bar length leads to the visual difference.

How can I use Find-As-You-Type but still open a Summary/Match List quickly?

  • After finishing your FAYT, press Shift-Enter to open the Summary List/Match List panel.

How to get driving directions from my home to the address I selected on webpage?

  • Important note: This feature only works on Google Maps engine, and this engine must have a category named 'Maps'.
  • See this demo video.
  • Left click on FastestSearch icon on addon, choose 'Map Locations', enter a shortcut, then a comma, then your home address (like 'h,123 my home road, my hometown, NY').
  • Now select an address on page. The popup box should display Google Map icon and shortcut 'gm'. If not, type 'gm' to get Google Map engine.
  • Type ';' now, then 'h' and press 'return' key. You get the direction from home to selected address with only 3 keystrokes!
  • If instead of 'h', you typed '2h' and press 'return' key. You get the direction from selected address to home with only one extra keystroke!

How to get my local weather (new in v1.45)?

  • See this demo video.
  • Left click on FastestSearch icon on addon, choose 'Search Engines', click 'Edit' for AccuWeather or Weather engines.
  • In the "URL" box, change 08540 to whatever zip code you're at.
  • Now type ';aw' or ';wt' and press 'return' in your LocationBar, SearchBar, FindBar, any textbox, and you'll get your local weather!

Is there known issue(s) for Fastest Search?

  • F3/F2 sometimes do not scroll the page to the correct next/previous match - this is a tough one somewhat re-introduced in v3.0. I'd be working on it.
  • FF25+ made a code change that causes FS to not be able to prevent some sites from interfering with the FAYT feature (FF24 or lower worked perfectly but not FF25+). Unfortunately this is out of my hand. I filed bug report, hopefully it works some time.

Fastest Search text search seemed slow on very long pages, why?

  • There are multiple reasons, e.g., due to support of regular expression/whole word, I have to write brand new search code in Javascript while other addons take advantage of Firefox's own natively coded find() function (which doesn't support regex/whole-word, and no match location info either). And, if your search finds tens of thousands of matches, the Match Distribution Bar can be time consuming to create. This could happen on very long pages AND you use a very short keyword (like 1 character when FAYT is enabled).
  • To alleviate the problem, set the maximum match number to 1000 (default) or less. Disable FAYT on page or in Search Panel would help for very long pages too.

Does Fastest Search work for non-English users?

  • For almost all the important features, yes, it does work and works very well! In fact, it allows you to choose which engine to use for Instant search (good thing if your country's major engine is not Google's), better than Google Chrome Instant!
  • For some minor feature(s), it might not work ideally. For example, currently selecting non-English text would cause the popup engine to be of 'Translation' category by default, but this might not be ideal for non-English users. Power users could use 'Text Recognition Rules' to customize this behavior.

Do you have a detailed how to?

  • Please watch the demo videos, especially this one
  • I wrote most things down on this page and the help page