Search bars aren’t where you go looking for features; how they work depends on the way they’ve been designed. Some might let you search a particular category but for the most part, they’re simple and straight forward; just type or copy-&-paste text, and hit enter. It sounds simple but if you compare it to the URL bar, you will notice that there is one difference: URL bars have a ‘Paste and go’ option. While this option is present for the address bar of all leading browsers these days, it isn’t extended to search bars, except in Opera. Websites can’t add it themselves either, and neither of the other leading browsers seem to think it’s needed. For users who frequently copy and paste text to search (and I do that quite often), it’s hard to understand why the feature isn’t there. Fortunately, there’s an add-on for Firefox users that can help: Paste and Go Hotkey. It’s pretty basic and gets the job done without any bells and whistles; whatever you’ve copied to your clipboard can be pasted into a search bar and searched in one go with the Ctrl+B shortcut.
Paste and Go Hotkey combines two keyboard operations into one; Ctrl+V and the Enter key are both executed one after the other with Ctrl+B. The shortcut can’t be edited, but it’s very fittingly set since Ctrl+B is pretty easy to execute after Ctrl+C. The shortcut is normally reserved for making text bold, but search bars are not text editors and the add-on will not interfere with that shortcut when you’re using one in your browser.
We had earlier covered a somewhat similar add-on called Paste and Search that added a ‘Paste and Search’ option to the right-click context menu of the search box instead, which is convenient if you’re selecting, copying and pasting text using your mouse and don’t want to switch to your keyboard just to hit ‘Enter’. Later on, Mozilla added that functionality to the browser itself as a default feature, so this tweak was no longer necessary and got removed from the Firefox add-ons page. Paste and Go Hotkey can be considered a compliment to that feature, as it saves keyboard junkies a keystroke just the way the context menu entry saves mouse users that same keystroke.