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(Guide/Review) Open a URL from the clipboard with a hotkey using the Paste and Go Key extension for Firefox

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Open a URL from the clipboard with a hotkey using the Paste and Go Key extension for Firefox


The Paste and Go option has been available in Firefox for over a decade. It is a very useful feature which I use it frequently, and I'm sure some of you do as well.




Is there a way to make this more convenient? There is, with the help of an extension called Paste and Go Key.


The name is a dead giveaway on how it works. The add-on relies on a keyboard shortcut. Once installed, all you have to do is copy a link to the clipboard and hit the combo Ctrl + Shift + V. And the add-on will open the link, this saves you the manual effort of moving the mouse to the awesome bar and accessing the browser's right-click menu option. I like it, because it provides a more efficient way to open links, especially when pasting them from a different program. What happens when the clipboard doesn't contain a URL (or a partial URL), nothing. It just won't work.


Now, there are a few things that you may want to tweak. By default, Paste and Go Key opens the link in the current tab. This can be an issue, if you want to retain the page you're on. The add-on lets you change this, so you can choose to open the links in a new tab in the foreground, or the background.


Don't like the default shortcut? Using the same keys for something else? You may change the hotkey from the settings, it allows you to choose a combination of up to 3 keys, and you can include two of the following: Control, Alt, Shift, along with any other key of your choice.


Paste and Go Key can be used for a different function, to perform an online search. This option is disabled by default, when enabled, instead of loading the URL, it will look up the queried term, in this instance, the contents of the clipboard. The extension uses Google's search engine, but you can switch to a different search provider of your choice.


You'll need to paste the search URL in the box on the add-on's Settings page. The default one is https://www.google.com/search?q=%s. Let's say you want to switch it to use DuckDuckGo, it should be https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s.




You may have noticed that Paste and Go Key placed an icon on the toolbar. Well, if it's a keyboard-based extension, what good is that button for? Copy a link to the clipboard, and click on that button, and it will load the page. It's basically a mouse-friendly shortcut which is functionally identical to the hotkey. That's pretty cool, and it works with the search option too.


I couldn't find the source code of Paste and Go Key.


Does the add-on work when you have multiple URLs in the clipboard? Unfortunately no, but there is a similar extension called Multiple Paste and Go Button that does the job. It even uses the same shortcut. This is the add-on that I had been using before I came across Paste and Go Key. While the former has not been updated in many months, the latter offers a few additional options which makes it worth using, plus you can customize the hotkey.


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