Google Chrome is much more than a browser. Its built-in developer tools and expanding range of extensions turn it into a full-on productivity application. The Chrome Web Store now contains thousands of extensions and apps that will equip your browser with new functionality and help you become more productive.
Here are 15 of our favorite Chrome extensions for web designers, developers, and content editors.
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Despite many of us dealing in ems and rems, there’s often a need to get a definitive measurement — especially when margins and padding are involved. The Page Ruler extension allows you to drag out a ruler on a page, and displays the width, height, and position of it. You can also move the resulting box around the screen — which is ideal for checking the consistent spacing between elements.
With today’s very long web pages trend, it’s often difficult to capture a full-length screenshot with your operating system’s built-in tools. Full Page Screen Capture takes the pain away — by clicking on the extension icon (or pressing Alt+Shift+P) a full-length image is rendered in a new tab. You can then save or simply drag the image to your desktop. Extra points go to the developer for the fun progress animation.
The Grammarly app has become an indispensable addition to my writing toolbox. Their Chrome extension brings the app’s functionality to services including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and most other places that you write on the web. As well as detecting spelling errors, it will also check for correctly spelt words used in the wrong context and will help fix grammatical errors, including subject-verb agreement, article use, and modifier placement (if only I knew what that meant).
Buffer is a great service for managing your social media updates. Their Chrome extension makes it easy to add content to social sites. Clicking the Buffer extension icon will populate an update with the page title and URL. Alternatively, you can highlight text and click the icon, which will populate the update with the quoted text. From there, simply select the services you wish to push the update to, and click “Add to Queue.”
If you’ve ever tried to view pure JSON in Chrome, you’ll be forgiven for shouting loudly at the screen. Thankfully the JSON View extension is here to cheer up all developers. Simply put, it takes JSON and formats the output, making it more readable and manageable. As well as colour coding the output, it also allows you to expand and contract nodes — especially useful when dealing with large files.
No surprises for guessing the function behind this extension. Window Resizer does one thing, and one thing well. There are a number of pre-built resolutions, which enable you to emulate screen resolutions. But, the extension is completely customizable and allows you to set the window's width and height, position, and even has the option to apply the new settings to the viewport or the window.
Many of us appreciate great type but lack the in-depth knowledge of the many typophiles out there. While you can reach for the Inspector to work out which fonts are used on a site, this extension saves you time. Simply activate the extension via its icon, and then hover over any font to reveal a tooltip with the font’s name. Select text, and the tooltip expands with information on the size, line-height, and color.
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An extension developed for web designers, developers, and content editors. Check My Links allows you to quickly check the validity of all links on the page and highlights which ones are valid and which ones are broken.
For those of you who use Gmail in the browser, you might, on occasions, have need to strikethrough a piece of text. You then might spend hours wondering how to reveal the toolbar button that helps you do this. The bad news is that there isn’t one. The good news is that the Strikethrough extension is here to help. Enable the extension and watch the new button appear close to the Bold and Italic icons in your editing toolbar.
ColorZilla is one of the most popular Firefox developer extensions with over 5 million installs, and is now available on Chrome. Its toolkit includes an advanced colour picker, CSS gradient generator, and a web page colour analyser. There’s also plenty more under the hood of this popular extension.
We’ve long been told that a good "rule of thumb" is to keep line length (AKA the measure) between 45 and 75 characters. Thanks to this extension, we no longer have to place the cursor at the beginning of the line and count as we frantically press the right cursor key. Once you have enabled the extension, highlight some text, right click, and view the character count right in the menu. This is another great example of an extension that does one thing very well.
ShopifyFD is a powerhouse extension that is essential for anyone working with the Shopify platform. As well as adding metafield editing to the Shopify admin, it also allows you to copy shipping rates, backup editor content, display variant IDs, and more.
Custom fields, often referred to as metafields, are a powerful feature of Shopify. These aren’t natively exposed in the Shopify admin but thanks to this handy extension, merchants can now add, update, and delete custom field content right from within the Shopify admin. It’s created by the same developer as the ShopifyFD extension and is a must have when helping your clients keep their content fresh.
What Chrome extensions are essential to your design or development workflow? Share your favorites in the comments below!
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