Extensions for Chrome are little programs that add functionality to Google's web browser. Almost all extensions are free, and you can find and download them from the Chrome Web Store.
If you're logged into Chrome, then the extensions you've installed follow you on any computer. Unfortunately, extensions don't work in the Chrome app on tablets and phones.
Extensions are found on the right side of Chrome toolbar. If you get too many extension icons for your liking, you can right click individual icons and choose Hide in Chrome menu. Hidden icons are moved from the toolbar to under the Chrome menu (the three dots).
To hide all extensions, click between the omnibox and the first extension icon. Then drag to the right. You can access the hidden icons in the Chrome menu.
You might as well uninstall unused extensions.To delete an extension, right click its icon and choose Remove from Chrome.
I've created graphics for 10 of my favorite extensions. Each graphic is linked to the extension's page in the Chrome Web Store for easy installation. This listing is by no means complete, and I'll continue to add extensions as I create new graphics. Feel free to tell about an extension you highly recommend in the comments.
Emoji characters aren’t just for smartphones and tablets. With the Emoji Keyboard by EmojiOne™ extension for Chrome, you can browse and search emojis on a computer. Clicking an emoji automatically copies it. Then you can paste the emoji anywhere that you can input text: Google Classroom, Twitter, Facebook, email, PowerPoint, Google Docs, Google Slides… pretty much anywhere! I like that the extension displays recently used emojis at the top of the panel for quick access. There are several other emoji keyboard extensions out there, and this one is the most downloaded.
One potential downside to this extension is that it automatically replaces emojis in Chrome with EmojiOne style characters. If you like EmojiOne’s style of emojis, then it’s not an issue. If you’d prefer to keep your systems style of emojis, click Emoji Keyboard’s extension icon and click the Settings gear. You’ll then see the option where you can turn off Auto-Replace.
So much of the communication done online is through text. It’s easy to come across as snippy, condensing, or inconsiderate through writing. Emojis can help communicate warmth, kindness, sarcasm, and humor. I like to use emojis in comments I make on students’ digital work.
I often use emojis as bullets in a bulleted list. I like that I can illustrate each item in the list and make each idea stand out.
You can change the size of the emojis in the Emoji Keyboard panel. Make them larger so they are easier to see. Or, make them smaller so you can fit more of them on the screen.
On a Mac, you can use the keyboard shortcut of Control + Command + Space to bring up the Macintosh emoji selector.
DriveSlides is a free extension for the Chrome browser that turns a folder of images into a slideshow. After installing, it’s very simple to use: While viewing a Google Drive folder with images, simply click the DriveSlides button. Within a few seconds a new Google Slides presentation opens and each image in the folder has been placed on its own slide. It would take a good bit of time to accomplish what DriveSlides does with one click.
I can think of many examples of when DriveSlides would come in handy… Publish photos from a field trip and have the class collaboratively add captions. Create a slideshow of interesting photos to use as writing prompts. Take photos step-by-step on solving a problem and annotate each one in Google Slides. Make a slideshow of app icons or screenshots and explain the ways each app is used in your classroom. Collect digital posters made by students (perhaps in an app like Pic Collage or Adobe Spark Post) into a folder and then publish as slideshow.
DriveSlides can place up to 50 images into a Google Slides presentation. The default is 30. Change the max number of images to 50 by right-clicking the DriveSlides icon and choosing Options.
The Google Slides presentation created by DriveSlides is in widescreen format. Unfortunately, if you change the presentation’s Page Setup to Standard (4:3), the images will no longer be fitted to the slide—you’ll need to resize each image if you want each to be full screen.
The DriveSlides icon in Chrome is greyed out until you are viewing a Google Drive folder.
Want to work with the slides in PowerPoint? With the Google Slides presentation open, click File → Download as → Microsoft PowerPoint.
Want to embed the slides on your website? With the Google Slides presentation open, click File → Publish to the Web → Embed → Publish and copy the HTML code. Insert that code as a widget, code, or embed when editing your website.
If you need photos in a specific order, it’s probably easiest to sort them after they are in Google Slides where you can easily drag and drop slides to reorder.
You’ve surely seen Bitmoji cartoons. The app from Snap, Inc. walks you through creating a cartoon version of yourself. You pick the head shape, hair color, hairdo, eyes, nose, clothing, and other characteristics. Then you can put versions of that character wherever you’d put an image. Bitmoji is an app, but it’s also a Chrome extension. After installing the free extension from the Chrome Web Store, you can click its extension icon, create a new account, and get started editing your avatar. If you already use the Bitmoji app, you can log into your existing account and your personalized character from the app will now be available in Chrome. After setup, simply click the Bitmoji extension icon and a menu appears with thumbnails of your cartoons. Tabs along the bottom can be used to view different categories. Clicking the search icon will reveal even more categories and a search box. When you see a cartoon you’d like to use, drag it into a document or app. Bitmoji images have a transparent background, so they look great anywhere, especially in Google Slides, PowerPoint, Keynote, and Pic Collage. It’s fun for teachers to insert their personality into assignments, newsletters, and social media posts. Teachers are even using them as digital stickers when providing feedback on student work.
If you have trouble inserting a Bitmoji by dragging, try right-clicking the thumbnail from the Bitmoji menu and choosing Save Image As… The image file will be downloaded. Then you can insert that downloaded image. Or, you can right-click a thumbnail and choose Copy Image. Then you can paste it into your document. Yet another option is to right-click the thumbnail and choose Copy Image Address. You can then paste this address into a website that asks for an image’s URL (i.e. Google Forms).
Bitmoji Terms of Service says that no one under 13 are allowed to create an account or access or use their services. Some of the cartoons are not quite appropriate for children, so Bitmoji is best as the teacher’s tool.
Want to change your character’s outfit? Simply click the Edit icon in the top left of the Bitmoji menu. The BItmoji website will open and you’ll be able to make changes to your avatar. Use the green arrows to until you see the Outfit category. Choose some new duds and click the Save Avatar button.
There are so many times a teacher will want to display a web link, directions, reminder, etc. Writing this info on a whiteboard is one way to get the information in front of students. Another way to is make a slide and display it on a big screen in the classroom. And a really simple way is to use the CraftyText Chrome extension. After installing the extension from the Chrome Web Store, click its icon. A box appears. You type or paste what you want displayed and press Enter/Return on your keyboard. A semi-transparentgray box with white text is superimposed on top of your browser window. I usually uncheck Adapt Text Size before pressing Enter/Return so that my text will appear larger on multiple lines. (Adapt Text Size will shrink what you enter to fit on one line.)
CraftyText's Shorten button uses Google’s URL shortener, which gives a web link a goo.gl URL. I’m not a fan of goo.gl links because they are difficult to type. I like how CraftyText makes it quick to Shorten, but I prefer to copy a customized link I get from Bitly.com or TinyURL.com. I customize the last part of the URL to be something much easier to say and type.
Yes, you can view Instagram in a web browser, but there are things you can only do in the Instagram app, including posting photos and viewing Instagram Stories. The Chrome IG Story extension for the Chrome browser enables you to see Instagram Stories from the accounts you follow. Instagram Stories are temporary videos or photos that are strung together to form a gallery. Stories expire after 24 hours, and often contain glimpses into classrooms, learning activities, tech tools, and teachers’ lives. You could missing out on something pretty awesome if you’re viewing Instagram on a computer, so install Chrome IG Story. After installing, simply go to instagram.com and sign in. You will see the round icons of accounts you are following near the top of the page. Click a circle to view that account’s current story. If you don’t see any circles, that means that no account you follow has published an Instagram Story in the last 24 hours.
Perhaps someday Instagram will add the ability to view stories in the browser without an extension. Until then, it’s nice to have Chrome IG Story for when you’re viewing Instagram on a computer.
Screencastify is a handy extension for Google Chrome. You can use it to recorda video of a web browser tab or to record your entire desktop. It can also record audio from your microphone, so you can make a narrated screencast. This is handy for demonstrating websites or for students to narrate a slideshow or a process. It’s also great for being able to capturing online videos that cannot be saved (like from Blabberize.com and Prezi.com). The extension is free from the Chrome Web Store. Recording are limited to 10 minutes and Screencastify logo is stamped onto the video. The video saves to Google Drive. The video format is WebM, but Google Drive will transcode the video so that it’s playable format for all devices through a shareable link.
Hex color codes are used to indicate an exact color. HTML and lots of graphics apps allow you to specify a color by entering a hex code. If there’s a color on a webpage you’d like to use, ColorZilla can grab the hex code. ColorZilla is a free Chrome and Firefox extension that turns your cursor into cross hairs. Place the cross hairs over the color you’d like to copy and click. The hex color code is copied to your clipboard, and you can paste it into HTML, apps, and software that accept hex codes.
SimpleUndoClose is an extension for the Chrome web browser that pops up a list of the pages that were open from your closed tabs. Click to reopen any of these pages in a new tab. A reopened tab does not have the history of that tab. If the tab history is important to you, try the SimpleUndoRecents extension. Hint: You can remove an item from the list by hovering over an entry and clicking the x button. There’s also a search box to search the titles of pages you’ve closed.
The Dayboard Chrome extension reminds you about your daily goals by displaying them each time you open a new browser tab. Dayboard limits you to 5 tasks, forcing you to prioritize. If you sign into a Dayboard account, you can sync your daily list across multiple computers.
The SlideShot extension by Alice Keeler saves a screenshot of every minute after you click Start. Screenshots are taken of the Chrome tab that’s open at the time of the screenshot. SlideShot is great for web tools, but won’t take screenshots in other apps like Keynote, Microsoft Word, and Minecraft. After clicking Finish, SlideShot takes a moment to create and open a new Google Slides presentation. One screenshot is placed on each slide, and the screenshots are saved into a Google Drive folder named SlideShot. The screenshots are scaled so that space remains for adding notes. Drawing tools within Google Slides can be used to annotate the image. SlideShot is a great way to show progress, review iterations of a project, and reflect on the process of writing or creating.
The Google Slides presentation generated by SlideShot can be easily edited to remove unneeded and redundant screenshots.
Perhaps you’d like a screenshot taken at a specific moment. Instead of waiting for the next automatic screenshot to occur, you can click the SlideShot icon and choose Manual Capture.
If students are using Google apps, it’s probably no big deal that SlideShot only works in Chrome. There probably would be no need to take screenshots outside of the browser.
If you are having a hard time finding the SlideShot folder in your Google Drive, sort your Drive files by Last Modified.
Thankfully, a message appears in Chrome every time a screenshot is taken—the message can serve as a reminder that SlideShot is still going. (I’ve forgotten to click Finish and this message is the only indicated that SlideShow is still active).
Bonus Chrome Tips
Want to learn how Tony makes his graphics? Register for Classy Graphics with Google Drawings!
You are invited to join Tony Vincent for an online learning experience this fall. Tony is gathering a community of educators to explore graphic design with Google Drawings. He has plenty of techniques, tools, and examples to share. The class is six weeks and takes place September 19 through October 31, 2017. Each week Tony records a new video and posts it in Google Classroom. You decide when you’ll watch the weekly video and complete the optional assignment. Classmates get feedback and advice from Tony and from each other. Learn more about Classy Graphics.