Chrome extensions for productivity

What are Chrome extensions?

Chrome extensions are small programs which let you add features to your browser. They are usually free but can have premium versions.

How do I install them?

  1. In Chrome, click the three dots in the top right corner.
  2. Click More tools/Extensions. Here you will see any extensions you already have (can be switched on or off here).
  3. Click the three lines in the top left.
  4. At the bottom, click Open Chrome Web Store
  5. Search for the extension you want.
  6. Click it, then Add to Chrome. 
  7. If you create and log into a Chrome account, you can sync your extensions across your devices.

Watch a quick Chrome extensions video.

A word of warning

Some extensions are malicious. They can track what you are doing and even steal your data, so do your research before installing them. Read How to Make Sure a Chrome Extension is Safe Before Installing It.

Some useful extensions

Reading and research 

Read Aloud - reads the webpage out loud. Watch the Read Aloud video.

Mercury Reader - declutters the page when reading online. Lets you change font, font size and switch between light and dark themes.

Just Read - removes distractions from online articles and can delete unwanted sections.  Lets you change font and background colour. Watch the Just Read video.

Evernote Web Clipper - saves bookmarks and websites to your Evernote folders. Watch the Evernote video.

Grammar and spelling 

Grammarly - checks your spelling and grammar whenever you write on the web. Watch the Grammarly video.

Google Dictionary - defines words online.

Changing the format 

Night Shift - changes the colour of your screen to reduce eye strain. You can schedule this (e.g. to cut down blue light at night).

Open Dyslexic - changes the font to a more dyslexia-friendly one. Watch the Open Dyslexic video.

Concentration and Planning 

StayFocusd - lets you limit the time you spend on distracting sites (or block them altogether). Forest is similar, but with trees which die if you visit your blacklisted sites.

Strict Workflow - a timer which encourages you to work in 25-minute sessions with five-minute breaks. Can also blacklist distracting sites.

Dayboard - gets you to write down your five most important tasks. These will appear whenever you open a new tab to remind you. Can also restrict access to distracting sites. Watch the Dayboard video.

Note Board - Sticky Notes - an online noticeboard with 'sticky notes' you can customise and rearrange. Good for planning.

Security 

Avast - lets you check whether or not a website has been rated as safe.

HTTPS Everywhere - protects you online by switching you to a secure 'https' site whenever possible.

Privacy Badger - stops websites tracking you against your wishes and blocks pop-up ads.

Other 

OneTab - if you have lots of tabs open, this will convert them into a list on one page, freeing up memory. Click them again to reopen or save and export.

Wayback Machine - if a webpage is not available, it will check to see if there is an archived version which you can open.

Loom - easily make videos and screencasts and share with others.

Unpaywall - finds legally-available free copies of journal articles.

Extensity - if you have too many extensions open, they will slow down your computer. This extension helps you easily manage all the others by enabling and disabling them.

Mercury Reader menu screenshot

Evernote Webclipper screenshot

 

 

Grammarly screenshot

 

image of Night Shift menu options

image of Open Dyslexic font and menu

image of Stay Focusd settings page

image of a Note Board page

 

screenshot of Privacy Badger dashboard

 

One Tab screenshots

Wayback Machine screenshot