If you wanted to be a Chrome Omnibox power user to be able to save plenty of keystrokes and your precious time, then all you need is a few extensions and a bit of knowledge on how to tweak the settings.
The Chrome Omnibox is useful for more than just searching on Google or visiting a link quickly. Omni means “universal,” and the Omnibox can be used for just about everything on the internet, whether it be searching a website, sending a tweet, or setting a timer.
The latest version of Chrome has made it a point to improve the search suggestions of the Omnibox.
Editing the Omnibox search
If you didn’t know, Omnibox will let you set custom keywords to search within the websites that you visit the most.
Simply right-click the Omnibox and select the Edit search engines, located within the context menu. In the window that appears, the first column is the name of the site that you use, the second is the keyword, and the third column is the search string for it.
You can click and edit any field in it. At the bottom of other search engines list you will see an empty row that will allow you to add custom search engines that you may want.
For example, try searching Dictionary.com. You can add these details in to the three columns like this:
Add new Search Engine: Dictionary.com
Then to be able to look up the meaning simply type “dic” and then hit Space or Tab inside of the Omnibox to enter the Dictionary.com console. Type your word, then hit Enter to search dictionary.com.
The Omnibox by default will show you 5 search results, but you are able to expand the number of the search results by simply tweaking the command line within the launcher. In Windows, right-click on the Chrome shortcut icon and then select Properties. Within the target field, simply change the command line switch to -omnibox-popup-count=10? to the end of the command. Change the number at the end to your preferred number of suggestions that you want Chrome to show you.
Search Gmail or Google Drive
If you happen to use Google Drive or Gmail, then you are certainly in luck. You won’t have to visit these sites and wait for them to load up to search for something. As long as Chrome is connected to your Google account, then you are able to do it from the Omnibox.
Right-click on the Omnibox and go to edit search engines option. Add these into the three columns.
Add new search Engine: Gmail
Add new search Engine: Google Drive
Now, in order to search from your Omnibox in Gmail, simply type “gml” and hit Tab or Space followed by your keywords and just replace “gml” with “gdr” for Google Drive.
This is a big time saver if you use Google Drive or Gmail.
Handy shortcuts for searches and links
Pixsy is the most useful extension for Chrome available today. It super charges your browsing like Gnome-Do or QuickSilver does for Linux or Mac.
Install the extension, then type “px” and hit Tab or Space to get into the Pixsy console. The cool thing about Pixsy is that it has over 800 of the most popular portals like the Onion, Amazon, HowStuffWorks, YouTube and many more. So, simply type “yt” in Pixsy and it will take you to YouTube.
You are even able to search within the sites as well with a simple space between the keyword and site name. For example: “yt Alice Cooper.”
The site will have a full list of the commands like R for real time search in Google, quicklinks, and even syntax that you are able to use to become a power user in Pixsy. Once you get used to it, you will be using the web faster than anyone you know.
Send emails from the Omnibox
Sending emails from the Omnibox can save you a lot of time, but it will use your default mail client that is installed on your computer. Even when you try to change the client, it will still use the default client.
It is convenient that a few lines within the Omnibox can be your whole email. Once you have activated the Send from Omnibox console by hitting the period, followed by Tab or Space, simply type the person’s email, since it can’t access your address book, the subject and the body of the email. Hit Enter and your default client will appear and ready with all the content to send the email.
Set reminders and alarms
To set an alarm or a reminder, you will need to install a small extension called Omnibox Timer. After that, just enter the Omnibox Timer console typing “tm” followed by Tab. The default measurement unit is in minutes, so typing “15 begin stretching” will give you a notification after 15 minutes saying “begin stretching.”
You are able to set the timer in minutes, seconds and even hours with various syntaxes. “S” for seconds, “H” for hours and “M” for minutes. For example, you can set reminders such as in “2h call mom” or “30m check noodles.”
Find lyrics for the song that is playing
If you happen to be listening to Grooveshark, Last.FM, Google Play Music, or YouTube, just hit the blue musical note icon in the Omnibox. A new pane will appear that is integrated with the site showing you the song lyrics that come from LyricsWiki.
Another way to find lyrics for a song you want is to use Lyrics for Google Chrome extension. Simply type lyrics in the Omnibox followed by Tab or space and then type the name of the song or just a few words that you remember.
Tweet from Omnibox
First, install this little extension called ChromniTweet. Then enter its console typing in “tw” followed by Tab or Space and begin typing out your tweet. The first entry in the dropdown menu you will see will be your characters count. When you are done, simply hit Enter to publish. It hasn’t been simpler to post a tweet.
There are some limitations though. ChromniTweet won’t have access to your Twitter data, so typing # or @ won’t have any auto-complete information. It also doesn’t shorten your links, so that eats up your character count, plus you can’t upload images directly.
Still, it is pretty useful for those quick tweets without having to load Twitter in another tab.
Better bookmarks search
The Holmes extension will allow you to search your bookmarks using the Omnibox. Install it and activate the console typing “*”, then hit Tab or Space. Begin typing for the dropdown list to appear with your results in real time.
There are other extensions that will search bookmarks through the Omnibox, but Holmes is the best.
Switch tabs efficiently
If you have too many tabs open and are unable to see the headers, then OmniTab extension will help you to manage the mess. Access the OmniTab console (type “o”, then hit Tab or Space), then begin typing the title of a tab that you have open and pick the right result from the dropdown list.
This is very useful as Chrome isn’t able to add multi-line tabs.
Google “Site:” Search for the site you are on
There are some websites that have really bad built-in search engines like Reddit, so you would rather use Google to look through them. In that case, simply add a new extension called Omnibox Site Search. Activate its console using “site” keyword and hitting Space or Tab. Then type your keywords and hit Enter to look it up with Google search. It is quick and easy.
Of course, it isn’t a comprehensive list of all the great extensions that are out there to make you an Omnibox power user. But with a few we described above, you will be able to manage your browser and time spending on trivial tasks more efficiently. If you have any other tips and tricks on using Omnibox, share them in comments below.