One of the nice things about Chrome is how easily it can be enhanced with powerful and useful extensions. Extensions give the Chrome browser additional “superpowers” that it doesn’t have by default, giving you the ability to add some really useful extra features to Chrome to suit the way you use your computer.
Here are some of my favourite extensions, in no particular order…
Extensity – The one extension to rule them all, Extensity is an extension manager that gives you the ability to easily enable or disable your extensions. I find myself installing far more extensions than I really need to use at any one time, so I like to turn off any that I don’t need to use right now. It’s as easy as clicking on their name. Extensity also has a “master switch” to turn them all off, which is handy for those few times when you might need to troubleshoot some rogue extension that could be causing trouble.
Text Blaze – A amazingly useful text expander that can take a few keystrokes and expand them out to a full word, phrase, sentence or more. You decide on your shortcut and it magically expands it in full whenever you type it. Great for emails, or any documents where you find yourself typing the same things over and over.
Clipboard History Pro – You know those times when you’re doing a lot of cutting and pasting, and wish you could go back and retrieve the second last, third last (or more) thing that was on your clipboard? With Clipboard History Pro you can. It remembers everything you cut (or copy) and you can easily retrieve it from the list. You can even create a favourites list of things you commonly need to paste.
Screencastify – A really handy and easy to use screen recorder for Chrome. It’s great because it integrates so well with Google Drive, and because it works directly in Chrome it is perfect for Chromebooks. The premium version is affordable and even has a built in video editor tool.
Be Awake – A simple utility that prevents your Chromebook from going to sleep. Just toggle it off or on as needed. Really basic but very useful.
OneTab – It’s too easy to accumulate lots and lots of open tabs in Chrome. OneTab can help reduce tab clutter by gathering all open tabs into a handy list, which can then be saved, shared or restored. I also like to save my open tabs at the end of a busy day so I can revisit anything important later.
The Great Suspender – Another neat tab mangement tool that puts unused tabs to sleep after a predetermined time to help save memory and system resources. As soon as you return to the tab it instantly wakes again. There are lots of these kinds of extensions in the WebStore, but this was one of the first to do this.
Full Page Screen Capture – Most operating systems have built in keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots, and most give you the option of grabbing the full screen or just a specific region. But things get trickier when I want to capture a long page that goes “below the fold” such as a long scrolling webpage. This extension solves that.
Marinara – If you use the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused on tasks, this Chrome based Pomodoro timer is very nice. It has the standard Pomodoro timings by default, but you can customise it if you want to. I like the way it keeps a full history of completed units. If you don’t know about the Pomodoro Technique, check it out.
Mote – Mote lets you add voice recordings to comments in Google Docs. It adds simple one-click recording to add a voice comment. There are other ways to do this, but Mote is by far the simplest.
Bitly – Google Docs typically have very long URLs so I find myself making them into short URLs quite. I like using bit.ly for that. This extension makes it really simple to create a bitly address (which can be fully customised) in just a few clicks.
AdBlockPlus – Because ads can be really annoying! However, many websites also rely on ads for revenue so I whitelist a lot of sites where the ads are not too intrusive, but it’s good to be able to block the really annoying ones. Also blocks ads on Facebook and YouTube too.
Emoji Keyboard – Sometimes you want to add an emoji to your text and this extension makes it really easy. Just search, choose and paste. Super fun and easy!
QR Code Generator – A really quick and simple no-frills way to generate a QR code from the current webpage as a PNG file. Just click and save to your Chromebook
Share to Classroom – If you are a Google Classroom user you should definitely have this one installed on all school machines. You can push webpages to all classroom computers in just a couple of clicks, and turn any webpage into an assignment, question or material, simply and immediately.
Speedtest – Because sometimes I just need to know how fast the network is.
That’s just a few of my favourites but there are, literally, thousands to choose from. As you can see, many of the ones I like are focused on improving productivity and efficiency, but take some time to browse or search through the Chrome Webstore and you are sure to find extensions ideally suited to the way you work or to meet your specific needs.
What extensions do you llike? Let me know in the comments!
Do you want me to write a part 2 list?
What’s in your Extension list? Part 1 by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.