Add New Search Engines To Safari with Glims

The Safari web browser allows users to choose between Google, Yahoo and Bing, but offers no other search engine options.  If you want to use Dogpile as your Safari search engine (or Ask or DuckDuckGo or something else entirely), then you’re out of luck, as Safari (unlike Firefox) doesn’t allow you to switch to any search engine but one of its approved three.

However, a fantastic utility called Glims exists, which allows Safari users on a Mac, to add any search engine they want. It also provides a list of nearly 40 search engines to choose from (plus the ability to create your own).  Here’s how to install Glims and then create a new search engine.

Installing Glims

To install Glims, head over to MacHangout, the home of Glims and download the zipped disk image.

Download Glims Installer

After the download has installed, you’ll have a new zip file on your desktop or in your Downloads folder.  After you’ve found it, you’ll need to first unzip it.

Unzip Glims Disk Image

Once it is unzipped, mount the disk image.

Mount Glims Disk Image

A new window will appear, showing the Glims.mpkg  installer.  Double click it to start the installation process.

Open Glims Installer

Go through the installation process, clicking through to accept the Glims license (among other things) and eventually you’ll find your self on the installer screen.  Click to install.

Glims Installer Screen 1

After a bit, the installation will finish, and you’ll receive this confirmation screen.

Glims Installer Screen 2

Using Glims To Manage Your Search Engines

Now that Glims is installed, open Safari and click the icon located to the far left of the search box.  Notice anything different?  Before, you only had the three choices listed.  Now you have many more.

Glims Search Box

Now, let’s get down to managing your search engines, as well as show the steps necessary to create a new one.  If you want to use a search engine that Glims provides, all you need to do is click to get the list of engines, then select another one.

The search box icon will change, and from then on you’re using your new selection.  Simple!  This change is remembered between starts, so if all you wanted was to use a search engine Glims includes in its list by default but that Safari ignored, then congratulations, you’re done!  If, however, you want to create your own search engine, the steps are pretty easy.

First, go to your search engine.  DuckDuckGo is the one used in this illustration, but any search engine will do. When your search engine has loaded, perform a search for any word (“synapse” is the word we chose).

DuckDuckGo Search

On the results screen, look at the URL.  This shows us (and Glims), the pattern your search engine uses to perform a search query, and allows Glims to create a new search box entry that uses your search engine.

DuckDuckGo URL Pattern

Now that you’ve taken note of the URL pattern your search engine uses, it’s time to create the new search box entry.  To get to the Glims preferences, click on the Safari menu, then the Preferences option, and when the preferences pane opens, you’ll see a new Glims tab on the far right.  Click it, and the Glims preferences will appear.

Glims Preferences 1

Choose the Search Engines List option in the left sidebar.  This will show the list of search engines Glims includes by default.  To add your new engine, click Add.

Create Glims Search Engine

When the dialog first appears, you’ll see an empty Name field.  Type in the name of your search engine, just as we’ve typed DuckDuckGo.  Now navigate to the Query URL field.  Shown by default is the Google search query format.  Substitute the URL we copied earlier, substituting #query# in place of the word you searched for.

If you want, you can record a keyboard shortcut to go to your search engine instantly, or a keyword, which will trigger a search from the URL bar.  In our example, “duck” was chosen as the keyword.  So typing the following in the URL bar would trigger a DuckDuckGo search for the phrase: Help Desk Geek.

duck Help Desk Geek

And that’s really all there is to adding a new search box entry to Safari on Mac OS X.  Glims is more than just a simple search box tool, however.  Notice the preference pane has dozens more options, including the ability to modify tab behavior, the look of your bookmarks bar, full screen behavior and more.  It’s a powerful tool, and one well worth getting to know.  But it’s also one of the best tools available (if not the best), for managing custom search engines for Safari.

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Comments [5]

  1. dan says:

    THANK you! Perfect wee tutorial.

  2. urly grace says:

    Thanks for the easy instructions.

  3. Matt says:

    As of Safari 6, there is an “omnibar” instead of separate address and search fields. The benefit of this is you can use a Safari extension to add custom search engines without having to install Glims (which is a bit of a hack).

    Extension here:
    https://github.com/mcs07/AnySearch-safari-extension

  4. rocketmouse says:

    Thank you so much! Not finding a decent substitute for Camino (I’ve had it with that browser and its inability to respond to a quit command) I decided to break down and use Safari. To my disgust there were only three search engines available, none of which I want to use. Having now added DuckDuckGo to the list (thank you, again) I may just try some of the other ones provided.

  5. pablo mars says:

    Brill tutorial – Thx

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