You probably spend a large portion of your work day in your browser. From sending email to using online tools to doing research. With a few easy-to-use tricks, you can actually make your browser habits far more productive, and save yourself precious minutes in the process.
Autofill and Expand Text
There are several tools available for Chrome, Firefox, and internet explorer that make it easy to autocomplete forms and type out repetitive text.
Gorgias: If you find yourself writing the same emails over and over, the browser extension Gorgias will make life much easier. Available as a Chrome extension, the service works on Gmail, Outlook.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo Mail, Fastmail, and Uservoice. You can use the extension to create email templates or even just phrases or statements that are often repeated in your messages.
Gorgias’ real strength is in its keyboard shortcuts. Once you’ve saved your templates and snippets using the Chrome extension, you can assign keyboard shortcuts to each one. The keyboard shortcuts aren’t typical shortcuts. You assign a word or even letter to each template, and when you want to insert that text, just type that keyword/letter and hit the tab button.
Gorgias is also able to pull information from your contacts. For example, you can use a shortcut to automatically insert the recipient’s name once you’ve entered their email address in the ‘To’ field.
iMacros: Available as a free browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and internet Explorer, iMacros automates a variety of online tasks like entering passwords, filling out forms, or performing repetitive Google searches. Basically, anything you can do online can be recorded and repeated anytime you need.
iMacros shortcuts can be saved locally on your computer, or you can use them across machines either by using a bookmark syncing service or an online bookmarking site. You can even share your macros with other users.
The extension is extremely easy to use. Once you’ve installed it, launch the extension by clicking on the button in your browser, and hit the ‘Record’ button. The actions you perform in your browser will be saved, and can then be repeated by playing the script.
Auto-Text Expander for Chrome: This Chrome extension is one of the easiest to use on this list and does exactly what its name says. Type the same phrases over and over again? Let’s say you want to type ‘Be right back’ – you can program Auto-Text Expander to automatically convert brb to ‘be right back.’
While the examples that come preloaded with the extension are basic ones, you can use HTML to add styling to your text.
Auto-Text Expander works with email services like Gmail, but sadly, doesn’t work with Google Docs. But if you keep your Google Chrome browsers synced up across machines, you can access these shortcuts from all of your computers.
Bookmark Open Tabs
Have a lot of tabs open and want to save them all with one click of a button? This feature is actually built into several major browsers and doesn’t require any additional tools or services. If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, go to Bookmarks > Bookmark All Tabs. You can also use the keyboard shortcut, Shift-Cmd/Ctrl-D. internet Explorer users can go to View Favorites > Add current tabs to favorites.
Add Tasks from Any Web Page
Several productivity tools make it easy to add tasks from any web page or site you happen to be visiting. Todoist has added this feature to its Google Chrome extension and its Firefox add-on while productivity tool Asana has a similar extension for Chrome. Todoist suggests a few ways you can put this feature to good use:
- Add Facebook events to your to-do list.
- Turn text from emails into tasks.
- Add a blog post title as a task to read later.
- Add an IMDB movie title as a task to watch later.
- Add an Amazon item name as a task to buy later.
- Save a recipe name as a task.
Turn Your Browser into a Note Taker
If you need to launch a quick note taking tool from your browser, you can do this with Chrome without installing any additional extensions. Just type the following into your address bar:
data:text/html, <html contenteditable>
It will convert the browser tab into a plain, distraction free text editor. If you need to save the text, be sure to copy and paste it elsewhere because once you close that tab, it’s gone for good.
If you’d prefer to use a tool that allows you to save the text even after you close your browser, give one of these note-taking Chrome extensions a try. Firefox users can take notes in their browser with the free extension, QuickNote [No Longer Available].
Use Keyboard Shortcuts with Chrome Extensions
You can assign keyboard shortcuts to your Chrome extension by opening up the page with your installed extensions, scroll down to the bottom, and click ‘Keyboard shortcuts.’ You can open the page from the Chrome menu or just type ‘chrome://extensions/’ in the address bar.
You can create your own keyboard shortcuts for extensions like Pinterest or Pocket, making it easy to use keyboard shortcuts to add articles to Pocket, save pictures to Pinterest, and cast your Chrome tab, and much, much more.
Check Your Grammar
If you’re in a rush, typing up an email or blog post directly in your browser, you might miss spelling or grammar mistakes. With the free online grammar checker Grammarly, you can get a quick review of your text. Grammarly works much like standard spellcheck. It underlines misspelled words in red, and underlines grammar mistakes in green.
As is the case with any automated spellcheck, it’s suggestions are not always right, but it’s definitely useful for catching any typos you might easily miss. Unfortunately, the service is only available for Chrome users.
See Grammarly in action in the video below:
There are several more Grammar Google Chrome extensions worth checking out.
Another great feature that Chrome users can take advantage of that we’ve covered in depth is an inbuilt password manager that lets you view your passwords across machines.
If you want to take things to a whole other level, you could also give Akshata’s method a try, which involves taking your entire browser experience offline for a more productive work day — provided you don’t need constant connectivity for your daily tasks.
What are your favorite browser productivity tricks? Let us know in the comments.