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February 25, 2007

Tips for Google Toolbar

Google Toolbar is one of the most criticized software created by Google (competing with Google Desktop), mostly because of the privacy issues generated by some advanced features. But Google Toolbar is also pretty useful. Most of these tips work with the latest version of Google Toolbar for IE and Firefox.

1. I'm Feeling Lucky. Type your query in the search box and press Shift+Enter if you want to bypass the search results page and to go directly to the top result.

2. A new window for my search results. To open the search results in a new window, press Alt+Enter after you type your query. You can combine this with the previous tip: Alt+Shift+Enter will open the top result in a new window. Depending on your settings, the page could open in a new tab instead of a new window.

3. Focus on search. If you want to go to the search box without using the mouse, type Alt+G (G is from Google).

4. A better find-in-page. Most browsers have pretty poor options to find some words in a page. Firefox and Opera have inline search, but that's not pretty helpful if you want to find some words in a page, but you don't want perfect matches. Enable in Google Toolbar:

Settings > Options > Highlight search terms AND Find and highlight words on a page (Firefox) or
Settings > Options > Tools > Find bar (Internet Explorer)

Now when you visit a page, type what you what to find in the search box, and click on the yellow crayon from the toolbar. To activate this feature in Internet Explorer, click on the arrow next to the Find button. The words found in the page will be highlighted in different colors, so it's easy to discover the interesting sections at a glance. To move to the next instance of a word, click on that word in your toolbar. To disable the highlighting, click on the crayon icon again.

5. Translation. Do you visit a German page that offers some interesting details about the latest Google Desktop vulnerability, but you don't know German. Just right-click anywhere in the page and select:
Page Info > Translate Page Into English
This should work for most languages available at Google Translate and Google automatically detects the language of the page.

6. Fixing typos. Maybe Firefox shows you the words that are misspelled, but Google can automatically fix the misspellings in a magical way.
Settings > Options > Tools > Spell check
Next time you type something in a text area, right-click on the arrow next to "Check" on the toolbar and select "Autofix". The green words are fixed by Google, while for the red words Google couldn't find a fix. You can click on the colored words to choose another suggestion.

7. Privacy alert. Google Toolbar pings Google's servers automatically to check for updates. If you don't want to send Google additional information, disable this features:
* Google-account related services: Bookmarks, Send to, Docs & Spreadsheets, Gmail button
* PageRank (option when you install the toolbar; to show you the PageRank of each page you visit, Google Toolbar needs to send it to Google)
* Send usage statistics to Google (disabled by default)
Google says in the privacy policy that, except for the Google-account features, no other information is connected to your Google account, even though they store it in their logs.

8. Customize the toolbar. In Firefox, you can customize the toolbar to occupy less space.
Settings > Options > Layouts
A good idea is to select "Replace Firefox search box and hide Toolbar". How to restore Google Toolbar icons? Right-click on the toolbar, click Customize and drag the icons to Firefox's toolbar. This way you can occupy a single row for the toolbars. But what about other search engines? See the next tip.

Here's an example of custom layout:

9. Add any search engine. You just have to right-click on any search box, and select "Generate Custom Search". Any search engine can be added to Google Toolbar. Click on the arrow next to search box and select one before or after you type a query.

10. Built-in calculator. Type "87/9", "12 kilometers in miles", or "e^2" and Google shows the answer directly under the search box. (This option is available in the regular search box included in Firefox 2, as well).

11. Change the search engine.

For Internet Explorer: If the search box has focus, press the down arrow and type the first letters from the search engine name (for example, type "im" to get to Image Search). Then press enter and don't forget that the change is persistent.

For Firefox: Type Alt+down arrow and type the first letter of the search engine until your favorite search engine is selected. You can also type Ctrl+down or Ctrl+up to change the search engine to the next/previous one from the list.


  1. Great set of tips! Thanks. However Alt+G didn't work for me. I use FireFox and it just went to Go menu.

  2. Worked for me. Maybe it's because I've disabled the "Go" button?

  3. Google toolbar has always been the worst product by Google for me... I just can't see any use for it

  4. No mention of autofill? My favorite feature.

  5. bookmarks. I now have my bookmarks wherever I go.. except in Firefox. Why doesn't it work in Firefox - can we get someone on this?

  6. Good tips. these tips solved many problem. I learnt more shortcuts of google tool bar.

  7. sometimes the options are greyed out (not available) -why?

  8. Do you mean you can't enable/disable some settings? Maybe you have the enterprise version where you can create a policy that disables some of the features.

  9. why can't I delete a few icons on google toolbar to make room for others I really want?.

  10. You can remove the custom buttons. Go to Settings > Options > Buttons tab, and uncheck the buttons you want to hide. If you want to remove them forever, use them Remove button for every custom button you want to remove.

  11. Is it possible to set Gmail button so that it always opens in a new tab ( Something like target="_blank")?

  12. with many thanks to Ionut alex - simple answer to how to delete "icons" from the Google Toolbar - obvious if you know it is there!

  13. Peter

    Google Toolbar>Settings>Options>Search Box Settings>Check the box for "Open search results in new tab"

    This opens the Gmail button in a new tab in Firefox 2.0+

  14. @D_I:
    Great that works for me! :)

  15. I have just deleted Google Toolbar because it has been caching/indexing all of my old searches AND EMAILS and I am not the only one who uses this computer in this household. Searching on a yahoo email address I use pulled up dozens and dozens od emails I had sent from that account long ago--that was been deleted! Anyone in this house could have gotten access to them. BTW, I routinely clear my browser cache after use, but that does not clear Google's cache, nor can I find how to do so. This is an outrageous invasion of privacy for anyone who shares a computer with roommates, etc.

  16. I think you confuse a lot of things: Google Toolbar, your emails, your browser's cache, the autocomplete feature from your browser. Google has nothing to do with a simple feature included in any browser: autocomplete.

    << In web browsers, autocomplete is done in the address bar (using items from the browser's history) and in text boxes on frequently used pages, such as a search engine's search box. >>

    This is unrelated to the cache that stores the recently visited web pages. To delete the autocomplete data from Internet Explorer 6:

    1. Choose Tools > Internet Options.
    2. Select the Content tab.
    3. In the Personal Information section, select AutoComplete.
    4. Click Clear Forms.
    5. Click OK.

    For other browsers, use a search engine to search for:
    [delete autocomplete], followed by your browser's name.

  17. can someone please tell me how to lose the stupid mario game button which actually leads to a couple of stupid ads?Its Driving me insane x-(

  18. @suchee:

    When you have a question about a Google product, go to their help centers and do a search.

    In this case, searching for [delete button] at Google Toolbar's center shows a useful result.

  19. Is there a way to save all the search engines added to the toolbar??
    Any help will be greatly appreciated.. Thanks!

  20. Searching the official forum doesn't always get results. So far, I can't find any way to make links from "gadgets" on the toolbar open in new tabs. For example, I have the Lifehacker button on my toolbar. When I click the button I get a dropdown list of current posts on the Lifehacker site. If I click any of those posts, Google Toolbar 3 opens the link in my current tab.

  21. "Translate page into English" is greyed out on every page I visit. I am using Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit with Firefox 3.0.5.

  22. lonut alex, you are a genius! I'm an old lady who can't sit in a rocking chair for very long! I added all of these google gadgets that all had the same icon and wanted to delete them. After 2 hours of screwing around I came across your answer on how to perform this task. I have been so frustrated trying to "get with it" that I was about ready to get on "without it"! thanks for helping an old lady !

  23. I am in the same boat as Anonymous (of December 24, 2008). I guess Google has decided some of us have enough information and doesn’t want us to translate!

  24. @Anonymous and Jack

    To enable google translate option when it's greyed out you have to enable word translator in the options:

    Google toolbar->Options... ->Tools->Tranlate (tick this on)

    Regards DotnetShadow

  25. In Firefox, I use "customize" to move the "Send to" and "Form Fill" buttons to the space between the URL and search bar. Every time I restart the browser the "Send to" button reverts to its position in the Google toolbar even those the "Form Fill" button stays put. Any ideas?