How-To Search field

Published on March 21st, 2024 | by Sandy Writtenhouse

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How to Change the Default Search Engine in Your Web Browser

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If you have a preferred search engine, whether Google, Bing, or another option, you can set it as the default in your web browser. This allows you to simply type in the address or search bar and automatically use that search engine.

We’ll show you how to change the default search engine in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, and Safari. So, you’ll be covered no matter which browser you use. Additionally, we’ll explain how you can pick a different search engine on the fly.

Change the Search Engine in Chrome

By setting your default search engine in Chrome, you’ll be able to use your favorite automatically. However, you can also manage your search engine list and use another for a certain search if you like.

Open Chrome and follow these steps to access the settings:

  1. Select the Customize and control Google Chrome icon (three dots) on the top right of the browser window and pick Settings.
Settings in the Chrome three dot menu
  1. On the Settings screen, choose Search engine on the left.
  2. Use the Search engine drop-down box to select the one you want to use.
Default search engine in Chrome

Manage Search Engines in Chrome

You can manage your list of search engines in Chrome, view the assigned shortcuts, and also set the default.

  1. In the Search engine section, select Manage search engines and site search
Manage search engines option in Chrome
  1. You’ll see your list below Search engines with the shortcut for each. You can then take one of the following actions:
    • Add: Click Add, enter the details, and hit Add to save it.
    • Edit: Click the Edit icon (pencil), make your changes, and hit Save.
    • Delete:  Click the three dots to the right of an engine, select Delete, and confirm by clicking Delete
    • Set the default: Click the three dots to the right of an engine and select Make default.
Search engine actions in Chrome
  1. If you want to use the shortcuts in the address bar, you can select the Keyboard shortcut that goes along with it directly above. Mark either the Space or Tab or Tab option.
Keyboard shortcut for search engines in Chrome

Use a Different Search Engine in Chrome

To use a search engine other than the default while you’re browsing, enter the Shortcut followed by the Keyboard shortcut you chose above.

For example, if you choose Tab for the keyboard shortcut and want to use Bing, you’d enter Bing.com + Tab in the address bar.

Bing search in Chrome

Change the Search Engine in Firefox

Setting the default search engine in Firefox is just as easy as in Chrome. Plus, you can pick a different one when you’re looking for something specific.

Open Firefox and follow the below steps to open the settings:

  1. Select the Open application menu icon (three lines) on the top right of the window and pick Settings.
Settings in the three line menu in Firefox
  1. On the Settings screen, choose Search on the left.
  2. Use the Default Search Engine drop-down box to select the one you want to use.
Default search engine in Firefox

Manage Search Engines in Firefox

You can manage your list of search engines in Firefox and view the assigned keywords (shortcuts).

In the Search section, scroll down to Search Shortcuts. You’ll see your list of search engines with the keyword, or shortcut, for each.

  • Add: Click Find more search engines to view the Search Tools on the Firefox Add-Ons page.
  • Remove: Select a search engine and click Remove. Note that you won’t be asked to confirm.
Search engine actions in Firefox

Use a Different Search Engine in Firefox

To use a different search engine while you’re browsing, click inside the address (search) bar and choose the search engine at the bottom of the drop-down menu or enter the Keyword.

Search engines in Firefox

Change the Search Engine in Edge

Like Chrome and Firefox, setting your favorite search engine as the default is simple in Microsoft Edge. Also like the others, you can change the search engine for a particular search.

Open Edge and do the following to access the settings:

  1. Select the Settings icon (gear) in the bottom right corner of the window and pick Go to all Sidebar settings.
Go to all sidebar settings in Edge
  1. On the Settings screen, choose Privacy, search, and services on the left.
  2. To the right, scroll down to the Services section and select Address bar and search near the bottom.
  3. Use the Search engine used in the address bar. drop-down box to choose the one you want.
Default search engine in Edge

Manage Search Engines in Edge

You can manage your list of search engines in Edge and also set the default from your list.

In the Address bar and search section, select Manage search engines.

Manage search engines in Edge

You’ll see your list below Address bar search engines with the shortcut for each. You can then take one of the following actions:

  • Add: Click Add, enter the details, and hit Add to save it.
  • Edit: Click the three dots to the right of an engine, select Edit, make your changes, and hit Save.
  • Remove: Click the three dots to the right of an engine and select Remove. Note that you won’t be asked to confirm.
  • Set the default: Click the three dots to the right of an engine and select Make default.
Search engine actions in Edge

Use a Different Search Engine in Edge

To use a search engine other than the default while you’re browsing, enter the Shortcut in the address bar.

Google search in Edge

Change the Search Engine in Opera

Is Opera your preferred web browser? You can set the default search engine and use a shortcut to pick a different one anytime.

Open Opera and follow these steps to view the settings:

  1. Select the Easy setup icon (three lines) on the top right.
  2. Scroll down the pop-up window and pick Go to full browser settings.
Go to full browser settings in Opera
  1. On the Settings screen, choose Privacy & security on the left.
  2. Scroll down to the Search engine section.
  3. Use the Search engine used in the address bar drop-down box to select the one you want to use. 
Default search engine in Opera

Manage Search Engines in Opera

To view the shortcuts for your search engines, select Manage search engines and site search in the Search engine section.

Manage search engines in Opera

While you can’t edit or remove a search engine, you can make one the default on this screen. Click the three dots to the right of the engine and pick Make default.

Search engine actions in Opera

If you want to use the shortcuts in the address bar, you can select the Keyboard shortcut that goes along with it directly above. Mark either the Space or Tab or Tab option.

Keyboard shortcut for search engines in Opera

Use a Different Search Engine in Opera

To use a different search engine while you’re browsing, enter the Shortcut followed by the Keyboard shortcut you chose above.

For example, if you choose Tab for the keyboard shortcut and want to use Yahoo, you’d enter y + Tab in the address bar.

Yahoo search in Opera

Change the Search Engine in Safari

For Mac users, you can set your default search engine in Safari but also easily choose a different one if needed.

Open Safari and follow these steps to view the settings:

  1. Select Safari > Settings in the menu bar.
  2. Go to the Search tab.
  3. Use the Search engine drop-down box to choose the one you want to use. 
  4. Optionally, check the box beneath to also use that search engine when you use Private Browsing.
Default search engine in Safari

Use a Different Search Engine in Safari

To use a different search engine when you’re browsing, click the search icon (magnifying glass) in the address bar and select the search engine from the drop-down list.

Search engines in Safari

Choosing a default search engine for the web browser you use most often doesn’t mean you can’t pick a different one any time you like. It simply makes it easier to use that search engine automatically.

For more, look at how to set the default web browser on your Windows computer or Mac.

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About the Author

has a BS in Information Technology and worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She then decided to follow her dream and now writes about technology full-time.



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