Last week I spent a few minutes cleaning up the Google Chrome extensions I’ve added to my collection over the past year or so. I must confess that I’m quick to add Chrome apps and extensions that other librarians and teachers recommend to me or that I hear about at a workshop. But sometimes, after trying one out, I never use it again because it just doesn’t fit my needs. However, there are others I use often because they contribute to my productivity in some small way. I call these my “must-haves.” They include:
Reading List. I discovered a great curation tool called Reading List a couple of weeks ago, and it’s my new favorite. This extension allows me to save links to pages so I can go back to them later. I use it to keep track of articles and blog posts I come across on social media, websites, or emails from AASL and other professional organizations. To add an item, all I have to do is click on the Reading List icon, click the “+” button, and presto the item is added as a link. If I want to rename an article title on my list, I can click the edit symbol and type in the label I choose.
Print-Friendly & PDF. As the name suggests, this tool formats a print-friendly version of a web page in PDF format and allows me to print and/or save it. With no ads, navigation links, or other clutter, the print-friendly version looks beautifully crisp and clean! Print-Friendly & PDF comes in handy when I’m printing content from a web page to share with someone or when I simply want to add a PDF copy to my Google Drive for future reference.
goo.gl URL Shortener. I never realized how many URLs I share until I started using this extension. If my browser is open to a webpage I want to share with someone, I simply click on the extension icon to the left of the Omnibar, and it gives me a shortened URL that I can copy and paste into an email, a document, or Google Classroom. While it’s not a hardship to open another tab and go to a different URL shortener, having the goo.gl shortener icon at the top my screen makes the shortening process effortless. This extension will also create a QR code if I need one, and it provides analytics so I can keep track of how many people used the shortened link.
Tab Resize. This extension makes it super easy to open multiple tabs simultaneously. It just takes a simple click. I usually use this to view two tabs side-by-side, which is the 1×2 option. It’s perfect when I have a list of book titles on a spreadsheet that I want to use to create a list on a vendor website because then I don’t have to toggle back and forth between tabs. As you can see from the screenshot below, Tab Resize offers other configurations as well.
OneTab. Like most of us, I usually have multiple tabs open at one time. Usually, that’s not a problem for me, but if I’m really trying to focus on a task, I click on OneTab, which converts all of my tabs into a list. That way, I’m not distracted by my email or breaking news alerts. When I’m ready to restore the closed tabs, I can reopen them one at time or all at once. Another advantage of OneTab is that by reducing the number of tabs open in my Chrome browser, it saves computer memory.
I’m sure for every Google Extension I mentioned, there are a dozen others I could add to my “must-have” list. What are some of your favorites? I’d love some suggestions.
Author: Margaret Sullivan
Margaret Sullivan is a librarian at Rockwood Summit High School and also serves as the Lead Librarian for the Rockwood School District. A past president of the Missouri Association of School Librarians, Margaret’s professional interests include advocacy, teacher collaboration, professional development, equity, and YA literature. You can connect with her on Twitter @mm_sullivan.