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How does OpenSearch (browser tab-to-search) work?

HelpSite-powered knowledge base (KB) sites automatically support OpenSearch, a specification that web browsers implement to make it easier to search specific websites directly from the web browser address bar. This allows you to run a search on your site without visiting your site first each time. It allows you to type your KB search query in your web browser's address bar rather than on your KB site's search box.

How tab-to-search works

In short, you simply start typing the URL of your KB, press Tab, type your search query, and press Enter to be taken directly to your KB's search results for that query.

This works automatically in Safari so we'll use that for our screenshots here. For Chrome or Firefox, there is some one-time setup required (see below).

Follow along for step-by-step instructions. We'll use our own KB ( as an example here but this will work for your HelpSite-powered site too!

1. First off, this assumes you've already visited your KB site at least once, e.g. for our example first visit 

2. Then, anytime you want to search your KB just start typing your site URL until your browser autocompletes, e.g. here I'm just typing "help." but you may need to type a couple more letters:

3. Then press Tab, this tells your browser you want to search that specific site:

4. Now start typing your search query. Here I'll search for "permissions":

5. Now press Enter or return and you'll be taken directly to the search results page on your KB:


The tab-to-search behavior shown above works automatically on Safari on macOS for any HelpSite powered KB.

Firefox (one-time setup)

Firefox has similar functionality as Safari (shown above) however it requires some quick setup first. 

First visit your site. Then, click into the address box on that page, look for an icon to add your KB as a search engine.

Then, from any page, click that icon or start typing your KB's URL and press Tab and then you can search your KB from there:

Chrome (one-time setup)

To get "tab-to-search" working in Chrome, it requires some quick setup first. 

Assuming you've visited your site already, go to Chrome Settings > Search engine > Manage search engines and site search. Alternatively you can paste the following into your browser: "chrome://settings/searchEngines" to access the correct settings page.

From there, you'll find your KB listed as an Inactive shortcut and click Activate:

After that, tab-to-search functionality will work, similar to the steps for Safari described at the top. You just start typing your site URL and press Tab:

Type your search query:

And press Enter, and you'll be taken to your search results page: