Jack Wallen shows you how to make it such that a Bitwarden vault entry can be used for AutoFill via the web browser extension for a simplified workflow.
Bitwarden is one of the most powerful, flexible and user-friendly password managers on the market. This take on the tool includes more features than you might ever use, but those features don’t make Bitwarden a challenge for any user of any skill level.
SEE: Password breach: Why pop culture and passwords don’t mix (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
One feature that I regularly use with Bitwarden is AutoFill. What this does is make it such that you can go to a site that requires username and password login credentials, click the Bitwarden web browser extension icon, enter your Master Password and then click the revealed entry to have Bitwarden automatically fill in both the username and password.
By doing this, you don’t have to worry about typing out either your username or password. Of course, it’s more than just easing the burden of physically straining your digits. By not typing your password, you add yet another layer of security to your logins. That’s a win-win.
What you’ll need to create an AutoFill vault entry
The only things you’ll need to make this work are a valid Bitwarden account, the web browser extension and credentials to be added for the new vault entry.
That’s it. Let’s get to work.
How to create an AutoFill entry
The big confusion for AutoFill entries comes by way of the mobile application. If you use Bitwarden on both mobile and desktop devices, you’ll find one bit of information mucks up the works: The Uniform Resource Identifier, which is an address that is used similar to a URL.
For example, if you save an entry to your Bitwarden vault from the Android app, you’ll find the URL looks something like this:
Guess what? That URI is for an Android app and not a website. That’s where the confusion occurs and why an entry created from a mobile device will not work as AutoFill in the web browser extension.
The reason for this is that the browser extension will be looking for a standard URL for a site. So, if you go to example.com in your web browser, but the entry in Bitwarden is for
androidapp://com.example.mobile, the browser extension will not see a matching entry to AutoFill.
You might think editing the URI is the way to go. If you do that, however, your mobile app won’t recognize the entry.
Confused? Let me unravel this.
When using Bitwarden on both mobile and desktop clients, the secret is to create an entry for both the mobile app and the website. For the mobile app, your best bet is to let Bitwarden create the entry for you — otherwise, you’ll have to figure out what the URI should be.
For the desktop entry, you create the entry in Bitwarden, making sure to add the URL for the site as the URI. So, in keeping with our example, we used https://example.com as the URI and made sure to add both the username and password for the entry. Save that entry.
How to use the web browser extension for AutoFill
To use the AutoFill feature, point your browser to the site you want to log in to and then click the Bitwarden extension icon in the browser toolbar. After successfully entering your master password, you should see the entry pop-up for the site (Figure A).
The reason why the AutoFill entry is available is that the URI in the entry matches the URL of the site. If you click that entry in the Bitwarden extension pop-up, Bitwarden will AutoFill both the username and password for you.
And that, my security-minded friends, is all there is to making use of the very handy AutoFill feature in Bitwarden. Once you’ve successfully integrated this into your daily routine, you’ll start to understand one of the many reasons why password managers have become a necessity in this modern era.
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