Custom search providers in Internet Explorer 7

If you are like me, you’ll find yourself googling around a lot. Everybody knows that Google often provides better search results than the specific websites own search engines.

One of the websites that is the target of my searches very often, is the Microsoft Support website (the place were you find all knowledge base articles). In stead of going over there and entering my keywords, I’ll just do this in Google:

Google search query

Noticed the “site:” keyword? This little gimmick tells Google to only search it’s index for content on the support.microsoft.com website.

More of these tricks can be found on the “Advanced Search” page. Just select an option, and you’ll see the shortcut appearing at the top of the page:

Search by file type

Filetype keyword

This shortcut only searches in documents with the PDF extension. There are a lot more shortcuts. There is even a website dedicated to get you up to speed with Google.

Now if you use the same shortcut over and over again, there is another neat trick: integrate it into your Internet Explorer 7 search providers!

This is how it works:

  1. Go to your favorite search engine and perform a query with the word “TEST” (in capital letters!) and all options you want to set:
    Filter by Site
  2. When you get the search results, copy the URL to the clipboard:
    Filter by Site - URL view
  3. In IE7, click the arrow besides the search box and select “Find More Providers…”
    Find More Providers
  4. Paste the copied URL to the “Create Your Own” box on the right and give your provider a name:
    Create Your Own
  5. When you click the Install button, you’ll be presented with this dialog box:
    Add Search Provider
  6. After you click “Add Provider” you’re done! Choose your provider (if you did not make it your default), enter your search term and enjoy!
    Available Search Providers
    Microsoft Support custom search provider
    Using your custom search provider
    Search results based on custom search provider