If you'd like to add faster search functionality to your browser than you could just install a toolbar or other add-on. But that'll probably consume system resources, slow down your browser, and maybe even make it more unstable.

A simpler idea is to use bookmarklets, tiny JavaScript applets that live in your browser bookmarks and consume no resources at all (apart from a tiny amount of disk space) until you use them. Here's how they work.

Let's suppose you regularly want to look up information on Microsoft's new search engine, Bing.

You would first create a favourite to hold this applet (click Favorites > Add to Favorites in IE, Bookmarks > Bookmark this Page in Firefox).

Now right-click it, and select Properties.

Change the description to something like "Search Bing".

Then replace its URL with the following JavaScript code.

javascript:q = "" + (window.getSelection ? window.getSelection() : document.getSelection ? document.getSelection() : document.selection.createRange().text); if (!q) q = prompt("Enter your search here", ""); if (q!=null) location="http://www.bing.com/search?q=" + escape(q).replace(/ /g, "+"); void 0

Save the changes and you're done.

(Alternatively, open this HTML file. It contains direct links to the bookmarklets - something we can't do here for security reasons - which you can simply drag and drop onto your favourites bar.)

Now highlight a word on this page - bookmarklets, say - and click the bookmarklet favourite to run a Bing search on that term.

Or, if you want to search Bing for some other term, then click the bookmarklet without highlighting anything. You'll be prompted for your search query and see the results right away.

Useful, right? And this is just the start. Keep reading and you'll find 40 more lightweight, quick and easy ways to speed up your web searches.

(All bookmarklets based on original work by Greg R. Notess).

General search bookmarklets

Forget the toolbars, ditch the extensions, and don't bother entering a search engine URL. If you see a term you want to search for then highlight it on the current page and click one of our bookmarklets to run a search. Or just click one and enter your search terms.

Search Google

javascript:q = "" + (window.getSelection ? window.getSelection() : document.getSelection ? document.getSelection() : document.selection.createRange().text); if (!q) q = prompt("Enter your search here", ""); if (q!=null) location="http://google.com/search?query=" + escape(q).replace(/ /g, "+")+'&num=10'; void 0

Search Yahoo

javascript:q = "" + (window.getSelection ? window.getSelection() : document.getSelection ? document.getSelection() : document.selection.createRange().text); if (!q) q = prompt("Enter your search here", ""); if (q!=null) location="http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=" + escape(q).replace(/ /g, "+"); void 0

Search Bing

javascript:q = "" + (window.getSelection ? window.getSelection() : document.getSelection ? document.getSelection() : document.selection.createRange().text); if (!q) q = prompt("Enter your search here", ""); if (q!=null) location="http://www.bing.com/search?q=" + escape(q).replace(/ /g, "+"); void 0

Search Ask

javascript:q = "" + (window.getSelection ? window.getSelection() : document.getSelection ? document.getSelection() : document.selection.createRange().text); if (!q) q = prompt("Enter your search here", ""); if (q!=null) location="http://www.ask.com/web?q=" + escape(q).replace(/ /g, "+"); void 0

Bing

QUICK BING: There are easier ways to access Bing

Repeat search bookmarklets

Sometimes you'll run a search at Google, say, and find it doesn't really deliver what you need. And so you'll laboriously enter a new search engine URL, re-type your query and hope for better results. Now there's an easier way. If a search engine fails, then just click one of our bookmarklets to repeat the same search elsewhere.

Repeat at Google

javascript:Q=[]; c=location.search.slice(1).split('&'); for (i in c) { f=c[i].split('='); if (f[0]=='q' || f[0]=='as_q' || f[0]=='p' || f[0]=='query') if (f[1]) Q.push(f[1]) } R=unescape(Q.join('; ').replace(/\+/g,' ')); location = 'http://google.com/search?query=' + escape(R);

Repeat at Yahoo

javascript:Q=[]; c=location.search.slice(1).split('&'); for (i in c) { f=c[i].split('='); if (f[0]=='q' || f[0]=='as_q' || f[0]=='p' || f[0]=='query') if (f[1]) Q.push(f[1]) } R=unescape(Q.join('; ').replace(/\+/g,' ')); location = 'http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=' + escape(R);

Repeat at Bing

javascript:Q=[]; c=location.search.slice(1).split('&'); for (i in c) { f=c[i].split('='); if (f[0]=='q' || f[0]=='as_q' || f[0]=='p' || f[0]=='query') if (f[1]) Q.push(f[1]) } R=unescape(Q.join('; ').replace(/\+/g,' ')); location = 'http://www.bing.com/search?q=' + escape(R);

Repeat at Ask

javascript:Q=[]; c=location.search.slice(1).split('&'); for (i in c) { f=c[i].split('='); if (f[0]=='q' || f[0]=='as_q' || f[0]=='p' || f[0]=='query') if (f[1]) Q.push(f[1]) } R=unescape(Q.join('; ').replace(/\+/g,' ')); location = 'http://www.ask.com/web?q=' + escape(R);

Yahoo

DO IT AGAIN: Repeat your search at a second search engine in just one click