If you’re running Google’s Chrome web browser—or a Chrome-infused browser such as Microsoft Edge—there’s a nearly endless supply of helpful add-ins to bolster your browsing experience.
Some are bad, some are good; some are simple, some are complex. And then there’s a handful of extensions that are a Goldilocks-style just-right mix of utility and simplicity.
Here are four of my favorites, each of which does one thing and does it really well.
Dark Reader: dark mode that actually works
After staring at computer screens for the last 30 years, my poor eyes have been through the ringer, so I’ll take any advantage I can get when it comes to giving them a little break.
This whole dark-mode movement over the past few years has really helped, but I don’t want to spend all day looking at dark-mode-only sites. That’s where the Dark Reader extension comes in really handy.
With a single click, the site you’re on will have its blinding-white background flipped to an easy-on-the-eyes dark. It does a great job of handling most sites, and if a particular site’s dark mode doesn’t look good to you, just click the extension again to return to normal mode.
GoFullPage: effortless screen captures
When I entered the workforce around the turn of the century, I was wholly unprepared for the sheer volume of full-page screen captures I’d be tasked with grabbing. The procedure has gotten easier over the years but it’s still a bit cumbersome.
The GoFullPage extension makes short work of full-page screen grabs. Navigate to the page you want to grab, click the extension, and watch as a Pac Man-inspired progress bar chomps its way down the page.
If, like me, you do a lot of project-based work and are constantly grabbing screenshots, this is the extension for you.
Papier: new tab, new note
I hate taking notes. I have no system. I don’t own a Moleskine notebook. My penmanship gets more abysmal with each passing year. But I’m almost always working in a web browser, and each time I open a new tab: voilà. My notes.
That’s all made possible thanks to the Papier extension, which turns your new-tab page in Chrome into a simple but powerful notebook.
Write notes directly in the browser, where they’re saved and surfaced the next time you open a new tab. There’s a built-in character counter, keyboard shortcuts for text formatting, and even fancy features like checkboxes for your to-do list.
Super Simple Auto Refresh: hands-off page reloading
You’re waiting for concert tickets to go on sale. You’re keeping an eye on traffic. You still can’t find a PlayStation 5 for sale!
Whatever the reason, there’s no need to sit there and refresh websites manually when the aptly named Super Simple Auto Refresh extension can do it for you.
Click it, and choose an interval between three seconds and an hour. Then sit back, relax, and let the extension do the heavy lifting.
There’s also a very handy feature that lets you enter a search term that you’re expecting to appear on a site eventually but that hasn’t shown up yet. If the extension reloads the page and finds the term, it’ll notify you.