How to Change Default Search Provider in MS Office 2013 Suite

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MS Office 2013 suite introduces a new feature wherein you can select a word(s) from a given document and then use a search engine to explore more of it on the internet. Now, since the product is by Microsoft, it is obvious that they would associate Bing as the default search provider. Take a look at the image below.

Outlook-Bing-Search

However, Bing is not my personal favorite. So, I started looking for a way to change it to Google. You may want to switch too, or may be quite content with the default. What’s more important is that there is no direct and simple way to change the default.

Cool Tip: Want to learn how to change the default save settings on MS Office? Worry not. We have it covered here.

You have to play with a few registry entries. And, that’s exactly what we are going to discuss about in this post.

Note: Modifying registry entries isn’t always safe and some serious problems can occur if you do things wrong. So, follow the steps very carefully. It is also a good practice to backup the registry before you start making changes.

Steps to Change Default Search Provider

The steps that you’ll follow is a one-time effort. And, the changes would reflect across all tools (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and others) of the MS Office suite.

Step 1: Open the run dialog (hit Windows Key + R), type regedit and hit Enter.

regedit-run-box

Step 2: On the Registry Editor, in the left panel, navigate to the location indicated below:-

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\General

Search-Registry-Directory

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Step 3: Click on General. Now, on the right pane, right-click on an empty space, navigate to New and click on String Value.

New-Registry-String

Step 4: Name the string as SearchProviderName. Now, right-click on this and go to Modify.

Search-Provider-Name

Step 5: Then a dialog box will come up asking for a value to the string. This field will read the name of the search provider in your tools. You can give it any name. I wanted a relevant one so I named it Google.

Search-Provider-Name-Value

Step 6: Repeat Step 3 through Step 5. This time the string should be named SearchProviderURI and its value should indicate the search URL.

Search-Provider-URI

Listed below are the URI’s for Google, Yahoo and Office.com.

Search Provider URL to be used
Google http://www.google.com/search?q=
Yahoo http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=
Office.com http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/results.aspx?&ex=2&qu=

Step 7: Close the Registry Editor and navigate to one of the applications of MS Office. MS Word, for instance. Select some words, right-click and note the difference in the search provider.

Outlook-Google-Search

Click on it too and see if the redirection is happening to the correct domain. If not, you may have missed something or done something wrong. Go through the steps again.

Conclusion

Though Bing has come a long way, it is yet to catch my fancy. I still prefer Google and want it to be my default search engine across all the tools that I use. I am sure a number of you would want that too. And for those who prefer Bing, well, no harm in knowing this trick either.

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  • drs_n0w

    It says MS Word “detected a security risk”. I said “Yes” to continue and it brings me to a blank chrome page… :(

  • Ronald Ragan

    Thank you SO much for this. It worked first time!

  • Big Ballin

    Very Nice!