Google Chrome is the world’s most used browser with its clean interface, syncing capabilities and so many useful extensions. It’s not hard to understand why it’s so popular. In this tutorial, I will show you 10 Chrome extensions that you can’t live without. You could try living without these but why would you want to.
First up is the Wayback Machine. This extension shows you what a website used to look like in the past even if that site no longer exists. As an example, open youtube.com and when you select the Wayback Machine icon you have the choice to save that page, view a recent version of that page. First version option will let you view the oldest archive page of that website along with buttons to gather more information about that site and social media sharing options. Select first version option to see what YouTube looked like when it started. Using the timeline at the top you can jump to another archive page for that site. The Wayback Machine doesn’t have every web page ever created but it’s a cool extension to discover what your favourite websites used to look like.
If you’re looking for a fully featured screenshot tool for Chrome then Awesome Screenshot is one of the best. If you want to take a screenshot on a web page, selecting the Awesome Screenshot icon gives you the options to capture the visible part of the page, selected area, the entire page or take a screenshot of your desktop. You do have the option to record your screen but you’re better off using OBS Studio or something similar.
3. Stylus | Themes & Skins
Earlier this year, Stylish the popular user styles manager extension was removed from the Chrome, FireFox and Opera web stores after getting caught tracking old websites from its users and sending that data to a remote server. The best alternative right now is Stylus. It’s based on the source code of an earlier version of Stylish. You could write your own personalized CSS Stylesheets or you could download them from the Stylish website to be used with Stylus.
4. Just Read
Next up is Just Read. This extension removes ads, comments and other clutter from a webpage making it easier to read with less distractions. It couldn’t be any easier to use. Clicking on the just read icon will instantly clean up the page. In the upper right selecting the paintbrush icon will let you edit your theme including the font size and colors. To the right of the paintbrush, there’s a printer shortcut to quickly send the article to your printer.
Cite This For Me is useful for students or writers out there. Cite This For Me makes it easy to create properly formatted website citations for the different styles including APA, MLA, Chicago and Harvard. To get the citation for an article that you’ll be referencing just click on Cite This For Me icon, select your citation style then just copy the citation for the article and paste it wherever you need it.
If you ever used Wikipedia then you already know that it doesn’t have the best-looking interface and it can be difficult sometimes to find the information that you’re looking for. Wikiwand the award-winning extension optimizes Wikipedia’s content to give you an improved reading experience. It has a cleaner layout and the fixed table of contents on the left makes it easier to navigate the page. If you select the settings icon in the upper right there’s even a setting to switch it to dark mode. Once you have Wikiwand extension installed there’s nothing more that you need to do. When going to any Wikipedia page it will automatically show the Wikiwand layout.
When doing a reverse image search TinEye makes it easy to find out where an image came from, other websites using the same image or find higher resolution versions. Google does offer an image search but I find TinEye to be superior. Once the extension is installed, just right click on any image and select search image on TinEye. This will open up a new tab. The default is the best match. From the drop-down menu biggest image option is useful for finding higher resolution photos and the oldest option is the best for tracking down the original source. Also listed are the file name along with links to web pages where that photo can be found.
Grammarly is a great extension that will improve your spelling and grammar. It can be used on Gmail, Twitter and Facebook or any other site where you write on the web. It’s not difficult to figure out all the errors will be underlined in red. Hovering your mouse cursor over the errors will show you the corrections. Just click on the corrective text to fix the errors. When you’re on a website, selecting the Grammarly icon allows you to turn on or off grammar and spelling on specific sites. Along with the option to show definitions and synonyms and which language you use for writing. Grammarly is only available in English.
ColorZilla is an advanced eyedropper for digital design work. It will give you a color reading from any point in your browser. When you see a color on a webpage that you want to use in a project just select the ColorZilla icon at the top and select page color picker active. Your cursor will change to a plus and just hover it over the color that you want and then left click. Now that color will be saved to your clipboard where you can paste it into another program. To view the history of colors that you have picked select the ColorZilla icon then click on picked color history. Now you’ll see all the colors that you have previously selected.
10. Dark Reader
Dark Reader brings the dark theme to just about every website. It decreases the white space which is easier on the eyes. It also inverts bright colors making them high contrast. Selecting the Dark Reader icon gives you more control. You can turn the extension on or off for the current site. To the right, you can turn the extension on or off for all sites. Below that, you have filters for mode, brightness, contrast, sepia and grayscale. Dark Reader works on every website and is one of the best new extensions I’ve tried out over the past year.