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Categorize adds a site-home button and enhanced keywords to the Firefox address bar. It also adds the <Shift+Enter> and <Ctrl+Enter> shortcuts to the address bar that open new tabs and tabsets.

Apart from the site-home button, the rest of the functionality is optional and is disabled by default. To change the defaults, open the Categorize Options panel via the Firefox Tools Menu, click on the Address Bar tab, and toggle the Enable Address Bar Enhancements check box.

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Tools Menu Categorize options menu item
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Address Bar Options

Currently, Categorize does not store bookmarks in the Firefox bookmark database and bookmarks are not searchable via the address bar. However, this functionality is planned for a future release.

Site Home Button

The site-home button allows easy browsing of a website’s directory structure. This button appears at the right end of the address bar (it is not always visible). Left clicking this button opens the home address of the website in a new tab. Middle clicking the button opens the parent directory of the current web page in a separate tab.

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Site-home button

A context menu can be displayed by right/context clicking the icon. The context menu shows additional choices for browsing the website. It marks the current page in the website directory hierarchy with a red pin. Additionally, it marks the pages that will be opened via left/middle clicking the site-home button with appropriate icons.

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The site-home context menu

The site-home button does not appear if the current web page is the home address of the website.

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Site-home button hidden

Keywords

Note
This feature is only available if you have enabled the Enable Address Bar Enhancements option in the Address Bar tab of Categorize Options Panel.

Keywords are short easily remembered names for website addresses. Keywords abbreviate long website addresses such as the address of Google’s website to names of your choosing. For instance, you can define a keyword g to stand for the address of Google’s website, and type it in the address bar to quickly navigate to Google. You can also use the same keyword to search Google without visiting Google’s website.

Firefox comes built-in with keywords but Firefox keywords have many short-comings. Categorize keywords not only address those short-comings but they offer enhanced functionality. Categorize keywords can help you search efficiently, repeat searches quickly, open multiple tabs at once, and search multiple search engines effortlessly.

Keywords are used via the Firefox address bar. To use a keyword type the keyword name and an optional search phrase in the address bar and press <Enter>.

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The address bar

For convenience, Categorize comes with predefined keywords for many popular websites and search-engines. The predefined keyword for Google is g. Now try the keyword for Google! Type g at the address bar, and press <Shift+Enter>. (The names separated by the + sign between the angle brackets denote keyboard keys that are to be pressed simultaneously.) A new tab should appear. Next try a search using Google via the g keyword. Type g olympics 2016 host city and press <Shift+Enter> at the address bar. Another new tab with search results from Google should appear.

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address bar with a search
Tip
The <Shift> key in the <Shift+Enter> key combination used above is optional. It indicates to Firefox that Firefox should perform the action of the keyword in a new tab. The <Shift> key should be omitted if you want to reuse a tab.

The convenience of keywords lies in their ability to combine multiple steps. The keyword g as used above combines the five-step sequence of opening a new tab, visiting Google, waiting for Google to load, entering a search, and waiting for Google to return search results into a more streamlined two-step sequence of entering the search directly in the address bar and waiting for results. The actual savings are not the sixty percent implied by elimination of three steps in the afore-mentioned five-step sequence but are in practice more like 90 percent. In fact, the savings are so significant that they tend to change the way people search.

Tip
Use <Ctrl+L> to quickly focus the address bar. Having to focus and clear the address bar is the only downside of using keywords and the <Ctrl+L> key combination helps. To get used to this key combination, practice it with the suggested keyword use exercises in this document.

Keyword and search autocompletion

Note
This feature is only available if you have enabled the Categorize Address Bar auto-completion from the Address Bar Options Panel.

Categorize offers enhanced autocompletion for the address bar. The autocompletion works as you type in the address bar. It offers to autocomplete any keywords that match the text you type. Even more conveniently, it offers to complete search phrases that you may have typed previously.

To see how keyword autocompletion works, type g in the address bar, and wait for the autocomplete popup to appear with autocomplete results. The results should list all the keywords starting with g. Additionally, notice the color of the address bar text. It should be green. Green color indicates that the first word of the typed text in the address bar is a keyword.

The search autocomplete function of Categorize is even more useful. It allows effortless repetition of searches with different search engines, reminds you of searches you have conducted already, and also allows you to quickly add/remove words to a search in order to narrow/broaden a search.

To see how search autocompletion works, type g science fiction<Shift+Enter> to conduct a search with Google. Now type am and follow it with a space, but do not press <Enter>. The keyword am is an alias for Amazon.com and the space after the am indicates to Firefox that you want a list of recent searches you conducted.

An autocomplete popup should now appear with science fiction as the top result. Press <Tab> (the Tab key on the keyboard) to select the top result from the popup and press <Shift+Enter> to open a new tab with the search results.

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autocomplete popup

The search autocomplete function can do more than just recall recent searches. By consulting your search history, it can also offer suggestions for search phrases you might be typing. This feature alone can save a lot of typing as old searches often get repeated over time, or have to be repeated with different search engines.

(At this point some people may be worrying about their searches being logged; however, there is no reason to be alarmed. The search history feature of Categorize is extremely customizable. Categorize can be configured to save searches only for the current browser session, and keywords can be individually configured to disallow saving of search phrases. Most importantly, the user’s search data is saved locally on the user’s computer only.)

Group keywords

Note
This feature is only available if you have enabled the Enable Address Bar Enhancements option in the Address Bar tab of Categorize Options Panel.

Categorize supports two types of keywords: bookmark keywords and group keywords. Bookmark keywords are associated with a single bookmark and allow visiting the bookmarked website or searching via a search service associated with the bookmark.

Group keywords can do more. Group keywords are associated with a group of bookmarks. A group of bookmarks can contain any number of bookmarks. On use a group keyword opens a new tab for each bookmark contained in its associated group. It then performs the action associated with each bookmark in the appropriate tab.

This behavior allows group keywords to open multiple websites all at once. This behavior additionally allows group keywords to conduct simultaneous searches on multiple websites. Categorize comes predefined with several group keywords. For a group keyword demonstration, type news <Shift+Enter> at the address bar.

Group keywords can very quickly lead to tab clutter. To avoid the tab clutter, tabs opened by group keywords are collected together and managed using tabsets. A tabset is a collection of tabs. The previous use of the news keyword should have created a new tabset.

Group keywords can be used for searching as well. For a search demonstration, type news renewable energy <Shift+Enter> at the address bar. A new tabset with the search results should appear.

Two other useful group keywords are ? and ??. Try these keywords! Use autocompletion to quickly repeat the olympics 2016 host city search with these keywords to see what they do.

Effective searching with keywords

Categorize comes with a large number of predefined keywords, but only a few of the predefined keywords are intended for frequent search use. Most searches can be adequately answered using a keyword that refers searches to a popular search engine, and in fact, having a favorite keyword for searching is a very sensible pattern of keyword use. Keywords besides the favorite keyword make sense mostly for domain specific searches. They also come in handy when the favorite keyword fails to produce good search results on a search query.

A domain specific search concerns some small information domain for which specialized search engines exist. Examples of domain specific searches include searches for photos/images, food recipes, shopping, bookmarks, programming code, flight bookings, etc. Categorize comes with many keywords that are intended for such searches. For instance, the keyword gi does image searches on Google Images, fl is for photo searches on Flickr, am consults Amazon’s product database, de searches bookmarks on Delicious, and gc sifts through open source code via Google’s domain specific code search engine.

Domain specific search engines are important as they often outperform a general purpose search engine in the particular information domain they specialize in. A general purpose search engine tends to do poorly on domain specific searches as the user’s information needs are not clearly communicated to the search engine. By going with a domain specific search engine a person provides additional cues about his/her information needs. Someone searching for flashlight on Amazon is almost certainly looking for products to buy and prices to compare; however, the same search on Google can be for any number of different reasons.

To see a comparison between Google and Amazon, type g flashlight <Shift+Enter> and am flashlight <Shift+Enter> at the address bar. (Tip: use autocomplete to save typing on the repeated query.) This should open two new tabs with search results from Google and Amazon for the search flashlight. In the results, Google is likely to link to Wikipedia entries as well as to flashlight manufacturer websites, but Amazon’s returns are going to be exclusively about products that can be bought. Amazon’s results make a lot more sense to someone who wants to buy a Flashlight or wants to learn about the popular Flashlight brands available in the market.

Some domain specific search engines can be used in creative ways. For example, Yahoo’s Delicious bookmarking service can be used to find popular online articles from a magazine (works for websites too). To try this for New Yorker Magazine, type de new yorker <Shift+Enter> at the address bar and go through the additional search result pages after the first page. The same search on Google tends to return next to useless results. The Delicious bookmarking service is good for finding tutorials and recipes as well.

Categorize also provides several group keywords for domain specific searches. By convention such keywords typically have a question mark appended at the end. The keywords i?, f?, and c? are three examples of domain specific group keywords. They do image, food recipe, and code searches respectively.

Group keywords may seem compelling for search as they accomplish a lot with very little typing; however, they are best used sparingly. The problem with group keywords is that the multiple tabs they open all have to be looked at and disposed off. This tends to become a massive chore if the search is not important enough to warrant such an expense.

Tip
Use the Firefox shortcut <Ctrl+W> to close tabs. Practice this key combination a few times to get comfortable with it.

Group keywords are great for opening multiple websites though. They can quickly open your favorite news sites, sports sites, blogs, etc., and isolate them in separate tabsets so that they do not interfere with your work.

How to create new keywords?

Categorize allows easy creation of new keywords. Creating a bookmark keyword is a simple matter of navigating to the target web page of the keyword, bookmarking the page, and entering a keyword in the Bookmark Panel.

As a keyword creation exercise, do the following:

  1. Navigate to http://www.techuser.net or whatever you want to create a keyword for

  2. Click the star icon at the end of the address bar twice so that the bookmark panel pops up

  3. Click the small brick icon towards the bottom left of the Bookmark panel to unhide infrequently used fields

  4. Navigate to the textbox with the Keyword label

  5. Type tu as the name of the keyword

  6. Save the bookmark by clicking Done in the bookmark panel

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Bookmark panel with infrequently used fields showing
Tip
You can bookmark a page and simultaneously open the bookmark panel by pressing <Ctrl+D>. This key combination is very handy so practice it a few times.

The website you just created a keyword for is my personal website. The keyword you just created can also be used to search the bookmarked website. Try tu lego mindstorms <Shift+Enter> to see how the search works.

It may seem that the keyword tu is arbitrarily named, but this is not so. The keyword tu respects a naming convention for bookmark keywords. The naming convention is the following:

  1. Use a single mnemonic letter as the keyword for frequently used keywords

  2. Use an acronym of the keyword’s target website name as the keyword

  3. Use the first two letters of the bookmark name if the target website name is just one-word

The name tu is an acronym for TechUser and follows from the second rule above. Categorize uses this naming convention consistently. For instance, the predefined keyword for Google is g, for Delicious it is de, for Flickr it is fl, for Google Images the keyword is gi, and for SlashDot the keyword is sd. This naming convention is inappropriate at times, but generally try to follow it as it helps the recall of keyword names.

Keywords defined in the above manner use a third-party search engine to perform search. This works fine for most websites as they resort to third-party search to service website searches anyway, but for dedicated search engines such as Google the above approach is inappropriate.

The procedure for handling dedicated search engines is not complicated either, and in fact is simpler. To create a second keyword for Google that does not record searches in search history, do the following:

  1. Navigate to http://www.google.com

  2. Right-click the Google search input text box

  3. Select Add a keyword for this Search context menu item

  4. Type g! in the Keyword textbox (which should be visible)

  5. Click on the keyboard icon at the end of the Keyword textbox so that it shows a keyboard with a cross (this disables search history for the keyword)

  6. Save the bookmark by clicking Done

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Add search for Google
Note
The above keyword does not follow the naming convention suggested above. You may want to add a new rule, suffix a ! to keywords that do not record searches in search history, to the above naming convention.

Categorize uses the Search field (typically hidden) in the bookmark panel to store a search query template for the search service associated with a bookmark. When performing a search such as g strategy board games, Categorize replaces any %s markers in the query template with the search phrase (strategy board games in this particular case) to generate a web address. The Search field is optional, and when it is unspecified Categorize uses a third-party search engine to perform a site search for the bookmark. You can look at the definitions of the predefined keywords to get a sense of how this works.

Defining group keywords is no harder than defining simple keywords. To create a new group keyword that opens all your favorite sports websites, do the following:

  1. Open a sidebar using the sidebar toggle buttons at the two ends of the bookmarks toolbar

  2. Open the sidebar selection menu at the top-left corner of the sidebar and choose the Groups item from the menu.

  3. Click the new group icon at the bottom of the sidebar

  4. Change the group title to Sports by using the title text box at the bottom of the sidebar

  5. Enter sports as the keyword name in the keyword text box at the bottom of the sidebar

  6. Save the new group definition

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The groups sidebar

The newly created group keyword is not usable yet. To make it usable you need to add your favorite sports websites to the Sports group. Try the following:

  1. Bookmark your favorite sports websites

  2. Open a second sidebar

  3. Select Bookmarks from sidebar selection menu if the Bookmarks sidebar is not loaded

  4. Drag and drop desired bookmarks to the Sports group

Categorize uses a naming convention for group keywords as well. The rules are as follows:

  1. Use a mnemonic letter and the ? prefix to name group keywords intended for search

  2. Use a single word to name all other group keywords

Site-specific keywords

Site-specific keywords are a very handy feature of Categorize. Site-specific keywords offer website specific navigation and search functionality. They are builtin and don’t need to be defined prior to use. The simplest and most useful site-specific keyword is /. When entered without a search query in the address bar / keyword navigates to the homepage of the currently displaying web page. For instance, if the currently displaying web page is http://www.techuser.net/images/minesweeper/mine-corner1.gif, typing / <Enter> in the address bar will navigate to http://www.techuser.net/. Of course, you can type / <Shift+Enter> in the address bar to open the website in a new tab.

Another site-specific keyword is //. Its action is similar to /; however, it navigates to the web page that is one level down from the homepage. For instance, // will navigate to http://www.techuser.net/images/ in the case of the above example. Additional keywords having the same pattern such as ///, //// are also defined. These keywords are not very useful but they work similarly.

Yet another useful site-specific keyword to know is \. It works like / but in reverse. Typing \ navigates one level up from the currently displaying web page. In the case of the running example, \ will navigate to http://www.techuser.net/images/minesweeper/ from http://www.techuser.net/images/minesweeper/mine-corner1.gif. The keywords \\, \\\, … are also site-specific keywords. \\ navigates two levels up, \\\ navigates three levels up and so on.

In addition to the above keywords, there are two site-specific group keywords as well. They are: \* and /\*. These group keywords open all the parent pages leading to/from the current web page in a separate tabset.

Site specific keywords are not only good for navigation but can also be used for site-specific searching. For instance, typing / popular at the address bar will search for web pages containing the word popular on the currently showing website.

All Categorize keywords can be used for search and the other site-specific keywords are no exception. The search functionality they offer is not all that different from the functionality offered by the / keyword. However, they can sometimes be used to limit searches to a very specific area of a website. For instance in the case of our running example, // popular can be used to search for pages containing popular under http://www.techuser.net/images/, whereas / popular searches everything under http://www.techuser.net/.

The Keywords Sidebar

Categorize comes with a sidebar for managing keywords. The keywords sidebar lists all available keywords and allows removal of keywords that are no longer useful.

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