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Using Browser Extensions

4 min read

Many extensions and add-ons are available for programs such as Web browsers (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and so on). These mini-programs extend what you can do with that program, or make what you can do much easier. They may slow down your computer when it starts up, or slow a browser when you open it, but the delay can usually be measured in seconds (or less).

There are now thousands of extensions for popular Web browsers. Many of them are made by companies whose programs you may already have, and the extensions allow you to perform tasks without having to start-up or use the full program. For example, in an earlier tip, we mentioned that taking notes with Evernote was a smart idea on a number of fronts. Well, Evernote has an extension called Web Clipper that installs in and works with most popular browsers. Web Clipper lets you save what you see on the Web directly to your Evernote account. Once installed, you’ll see it on the browser’s navigation toolbar. When you’re on a Web page of interest, click the Web Clipper tool, sign-into your Evernote account (if you’re not signed in already), and a dialog box will pop up. Indicate the Notebook you want to save the clipping to, add any tags you wish (tags are like keywords), add a note if you wish, and then click Save Article.

Using Chrome, to search for, or enable or disable browser extensions, click the wrench icon, click Tools, and then choose Extensions. You’ll see a screen showing you any extensions currently installed (whether or not they’re enabled). Click the Get more extensions link to go to the chrome web store. Click a category to look for extensions, or search for them. When you find one, read its description, and then install it. Usually an extension will install automatically, but sometimes you have to restart the browser.