Extensions make Chrome a great tool for any task. But if you don’t know how to manage them, you can end up with a cluttered, slow browser.
And no one wants that.
So let’s take a look at a few ways to manage your Chrome extensions. We’ll go through the built-in extension manager, then look at a powerful extension that can replace it. After that, we’ll move on to a few tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your extensions.
How to Manage Your Chrome Extensions
You can see a lot of your extensions in the Chrome address bar; just look to the right side of your screen. You’ll see a number of small icons that represent your extensions.
But you might have much more than you see there. Click the Chrome Settings button, then go to More tools > Extensions to see the full list.
You can also right-click any extension and click Manage Extensions. This opens a new tab that shows you all your extensions and installed Chrome apps.
Extensions that are enabled have their titles rendered in black and their icons in color. Disabled extensions are gray. You can also see the checkbox on the right side of the screen—if it’s checked, an extension is enabled. From here, three choices are available to you:
- Click Details to get more information on each extension.
- Click on Options to configure an extension.
- Uncheck the Enable box to deactivate an extension.
Not all extensions have options, but those that do can usually be customized to better suit your needs. For example, Buffer’s options include selection choices for social media integrations:
Another important option on this page is Allow in incognito. By default, extensions aren’t loaded when you use Chrome in Incognito mode. If you want them available, just check the box below the extension:
Chrome will warn you that some extensions might record your browsing history, which would defeat the purpose of the Incognito mode. So be sure to only activate the extensions you really need.
How to Set Keyboard Shortcuts for Chrome Extensions
Some extensions run in the background. HTTPS Everywhere, for example, just does its job and you can ignore it on the toolbar. Others work when you click on the icon.
If you use an extension a lot, you can set up a keyboard shortcut to save yourself a click.
Head to the bottom of the page and click Keyboard shortcuts. You’ll see this window:
Hit the shortcut key combination set for your extension and it will activate just like if you had clicked on it. Be aware that Chrome will let you override other keyboard shortcuts, so make sure you’re using combinations that you don’t use for other things.
How to Update Chrome Extensions
You can also update your extensions from this screen. At the top of the window, you’ll see the Update extensions now button.
Just hit it to update your extensions. You shouldn’t need to do this very often, as most will ask you to update them or do it automatically when you close Chrome. (You do close your browser every once in a while, don’t you?)
But if an extension stops working, running an update might help.
How to Remove Google Chrome Extensions
Sometimes extensions are prone to problems. Extensions can also cause your browser to crash. It’s always better to uninstall an extension and see if it solves the problem. There are two ways to uninstall an extension permanently.
- You can just right-click an extension in the toolbar and select Remove from Chrome.
- When there is no icon on the toolbar, then click on More > More tools > Extensions > Click the Trashcan icon (Remove) > Click Remove on the Pop-up to confirm.
Use an Extension Manager With Chrome
If you have a lot of extensions, you may want to get something a little more powerful than the built-in Chrome manager.
That’s where Extension Manager comes in. It’s a Chrome extension that manages your other Chrome extensions.
Download it from the Chrome store, and you’ll see a new icon in your menu bar. Click it and it’ll pop up a menu that shows you the icons of every extension and app that you’ve downloaded:
Like in the built-in manager, the icons that are shown in color are active. They’re also displayed at the top of the window. Inactive ones are grayed out and at the bottom. Activating and de-activating in Extension Manager is as easy as clicking on an icon.
But, why would you want to turn extensions on and off so easily?
Because some extensions get in the way of others. And if that’s the case, you’ll want to be able to enable and disable them quickly. This is a great way to do it. You can also use Disable All to turn them all off, which is a great way to clean up your browsing experience.
Find Out Which Chrome Extensions Use the Most RAM
Have you ever wondered if Chrome extensions are slowing down your browsing experience? You can find out with Chrome’s task manager.
Head to the Chrome menu, then select More tools > Task manager. You can also hit Shift + Esc on your keyboard.
In the task manager, you can see which tabs and extensions are using the most memory. Anything that starts with “Extension” is, predictably, a Chrome extension. Click on Memory to sort the list by how much memory a process is using.
If you see an extension near the top of the list, it’s using a lot of resources. If it’s not an extension that you use on a regular basis, you may want to disable it to speed up Chrome.
Hide Chrome Extensions From the Menu Bar
It’s nice to have your extensions easily accessible. But not every extension that gets added to the menu bar needs to be there. To hide a Chrome extension, right-click it in the menu bar and select Hide in Chrome Menu.
All the extensions you’ve hidden can be accessed by opening the Chrome menu. The icons of hidden extensions are displayed at the top of the menu.
Use Profiles to Manage Extensions
A great way to manage Chrome extensions is through profiles. Chrome profiles let you separate apps, extensions, bookmarks, histories, and options into different categories.
Your work profile might have only work-related bookmarks and extensions, for example. If you’re using a lot of extensions, this can be a good way to keep them under control.
To add extensions to a profile, you’ll need to download them manually—you can’t push them from one to another. Switch to the profile you want, then download the new extension.
On a related note, if you sign into Chrome, you can access your extensions on any other computer by signing into your Chrome account on that machine.
Manage Your Extensions, Manage Your Browser
There’s an extension for every problem. But they can get out of hand fast. By taking time to better manage your Chrome extensions, you’ll get more use out of them. And you’ll keep your browser from bogging down under the weight of a whole bunch of useless extensions.