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Think about how many hours you spend on the web every day. Since I work from home and do a lot of web-based research, plus many of my leisure activities involve being online, I can easily clock in 6–8 hours of web browsing on any given weekday. For you, 2–3 hours might be more the norm.
Still, that adds up to a lot of hours over time. Now think about how “efficient” you are when it comes to web browsing: 10 seconds to copy text to Evernote, 30 seconds to open up Dictionary.com and query a definition, a few minutes to find online coupon codes, etc. All of that adds up too.
You’d be surprised how many hours you waste every year through inefficient web browsing, which is why you need these time-saving Chrome extensions. They’ll help you reclaim those lost hours one click at a time.
1. Hide All Tabs With a Single Click
Imagine you’re slacking off at work and you’ve opened dozens of new tabs over the last half hour, but then your boss shows up and you can’t let him see. Instead of closing them all by spamming the Ctrl + W shortcut, you can just click the Panic Button icon (or press F4) and all tabs will be closed and saved as bookmarks.
And that’s the great thing about it: When the panic situation is over, you can restore all closed tabs back to the way they were. So convenient, and I’m sure you can think of many other situations when such an extension could come in handy.
Download — Panic Button (Free)
2. Automatically Find and Apply Coupon Codes
The next time you’re shopping online, whether for clothes, office equipment, gaming gear, or even just a pizza, there’s a good chance that Honey will save you a good chunk of money on your final order. Over the course of a year, it could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
It’s very simple: When you’re about to checkout, click the Honey icon and the service will automatically search the web for any applicable coupon codes, test them all to see which one results in the most savings, then automatically apply it. Way faster than doing it by hand!
Download — Honey (Free)
3. View Historical Pricing Data While Shopping
One of the downsides of shopping on Amazon is that the sticker price can be misleading. It usually shows a Was price above the Current price, making it seem like you’re getting a deal, but this is rarely the case. The Was price is just the recommended retail price when it was first released. That price could be severely outdated.
So how can you check if an Amazon price is actually a deal? Use the CamelCamelCamel website to see the item’s pricing history. If it’s below average, then yes, it’s a deal. But you can save even more time by using The Camelizer, an extension that shows this pricing history with one click.
Download — The Camelizer (Free)
4. Check Online Reviews for Trustworthiness
Fake online reviews are the scourge of the web, which is why you absolutely must learn how to spot fake reviews. But fakers are getting better, especially since manufacturers and other big brands began their own initiatives to manipulate online reviews.
The good news is that there are some who are doing their best to fight this, such as ReviewMeta. This site pulls all of the reviews on a product, analyzes each one for markers that might indicate fakeness, and then uses only the genuine reviews to calculate an adjusted rating. With this extension, one click is all you need to see the “real” rating of an item.
Download — ReviewMeta (Free)
5. Save Articles to Read Offline
If there are significant chunks of time every day where you don’t have internet access, you can maximize your online time by saving articles to read later during those offline hours (such as when you’re commuting on a train or awaiting an appointment).
Instapaper is excellent for this, particularly because it has a number of features for power users. But the one feature I really like is the ability to send articles to your Kindle. The e-Ink technology used by Kindles makes for an amazing reading experience, so why not read articles with it? Your eyes will thank you. (If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide to buying the right Kindle.)
Download — Instapaper (Free)
6. Save Web Media to Evernote
You can’t go wrong with either Evernote or OneNote, but Evernote does have one significant advantage: the Evernote Web Clipper, which lets you “clip” (“save”) anything on the web directly to one of your Evernote notebooks by clicking one button.
This may not seem like a huge time-saver, but it’s one of those things that you have to try for yourself to really get a sense of how convenient it is. You don’t have to keep Evernote open. You don’t have to juggle multiple tabs or windows. Just browse, click, and keep browsing. Excellent for when you need to research a topic and you want to compile a bunch of data very quickly.
Download — Evernote Web Clipper (Free)
7. Mouse Over Images to Preview or Enlarge
I know this has happened to you before: either you’re browsing a page and come across a tiny image that you have to click to enlarge, or you come across a text link to an image that you need to click to view. Not only are these annoying, but they can waste valuable time.
That’s why Imagus is such a beloved extension. With it, you can just hover over an image or link and see the full-sized result right away. No need to open a new tab and wait for the image to load. It supports thousands of sites on the web and you can customize it a bit with regard to preview size, hover delay, opacity, etc.
Download — Imagus (Free)
8. Mouse Over Words for Definitions
Whether you’re learning English as a new language, combing through tons of sophisticated academic articles, or simply trying to expand your personal vocabulary, Google Dictionary is an excellent extension to have installed. With it, definitions are never more than a click away.
Even if you’re just a regular Joe Schmoe who wants to stay up-to-date on topics like world affairs, tech news, or the realm of finance, you may regularly come across articles in Fortune or Time or Harvard Law Review that stretch your word bank. It’s nice to have this extension at the ready.
Download — Google Dictionary (Free)
9. Highlight to Translate Text
The internet has done more for globalization than any other advancement in the history of technology, which is why the Google Translate extension is so fitting. Now you can read any article or segment of text even if it isn’t written in a language you personally know.
Just highlight a word or a paragraph and the extension can translate it in a pop-up window, no need to open a new tab or navigate to another page. Or if you want to translate the whole page, you can just click the Translate icon. The entire web is now at your fingertips.
Download — Google Translate (Free)
10. Never Forget Your Passwords Again
You absolutely must start using a password manager if you aren’t already. Long story short, a password manager lets you create hundreds of insanely complex passwords — a unique one for every single account you have on the web — without you needing to memorize any of them. This maximizes your security and your convenience. What’s not to love?
It also saves time. Whenever you need to log into something, the password manager handles it for you. LastPass is the most popular option (available not only on Chrome but Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Firefox, Opera, and more) but there are alternative password managers if you don’t want to use LastPass for whatever reason.
Download — LastPass (Free)
11. Check Grammar While You Type
Most browsers have built-in spell checkers, but built-in grammar checking is rare. And it’s not like grammar checkers are only useful for those who don’t have command of the English language — even the most eloquent writer makes mistakes. Grammar checkers are great for catching those mistakes.
Grammarly for Chrome automatically checks your grammar as you type, regardless of whether you’re on Facebook, Reddit, Gmail, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. It can also detect vague or confusing words and offer clearer alternatives. With it, your writing quality will improve overnight.
Download — Grammarly (Free)
12. Insert Emojis Anywhere
Have you bought into the emoji craze yet? These super-smileys can be found all over the web, particularly on social media, and currently play an important role in trendy web speak. You cannot be “in” if you aren’t using emojis in 2017.
The thing is, emojis are a lot easier to type on mobile devices than on computers. The good news is that Emoji Keyboard can bridge that gap for you, at least within Chrome. It supports emoji searching, copy and pasting, as well as auto-insertions.
Download — Emoji Keyboard (Free)
13. Optimize Your Reddit Experience
One of the chief complaints against Reddit — and there are many valid complaints — is its outdated and primitive interface. It’s a pain to navigate and it can take a while to get comfortable with it. And what’s worse is that most quality-of-life features are gated behind Reddit Gold (which is basically a membership that costs $4 per month).
But all of that changes with Reddit Enhancement Suite, an extension that provides hundreds of improvements to the Reddit interface, many that save time. We’ve highlighted some of the best reasons to start using Reddit Enhancement Suite so check that out if you’re interested.
Download — Reddit Enhancement Suite (Free)
How Do You Save Time on Chrome?
While the above extensions will shave off a lot of wasted time, we also recommend using some of these productivity-boosting extensions, these extensions for working offline, and of course, our absolute favorite extensions for Chrome. Don’t install all of them — even just a handful can make a huge difference.
We also recommend avoiding these Chrome extensions, such as Hover Zoom (use the Imagus extension that we covered in this post instead).
If there are any other time-saving extensions you know of, please share them with us in the comments below! Any tips you have for us, we’d love to hear them.