Top browser extensions to make your life easier

Top browser extensions to make your life easier

by Irene Park

If you’ve been on the internet and browsed different websites, you’ve likely used or been asked to download something called a browser extension at one point or another.

Browser extensions are small software programs that run in tandem with your browser to perform certain functions or behaviors to enhance your user experience.

It can enhance your experience from checking your spelling and grammar to even saving you some money.

Why should I install a Browser Extension?

Not only can browser extensions make your online experience safer, but they can also make it more convenient.  Because they are smaller programs that exist within the ‘confines’ of your browser, you can have multiple extensions within the same browser so you can customize your experience. Most of the time, the browser extensions are free too.

Many of the browser extensions automate your preferences.  For instance, if you want your spelling and grammar to be checked as you browse and comment on Facebook, you can download an extension like Grammarly, which will check almost anything you type while on the browser it is installed on. No more cutting and pasting posts in a word document to check for grammar and spelling corrections. And no more posts full of embarrassing typos!

With thousands of free extensions, you can find something to meet most of your needs. Because most extensions are created by third-party developers, it is important to be discerning about which extensions you choose.

Because sorting through the thousands of browser extensions can feel incredibly overwhelming, below are our top picks for browser extensions with a variety of different features for your convenience. Additionally, you can also learn how to install and uninstall browser extensions.

Top Browser Extension Picks

Below is a variety of browser extension that covers the gambit of common functions and features that can make your life easier.  This list of browser extensions focuses on browsers used on desktops and laptops.

 

OneTabOnetab

If you chronically open tons of tabs on your web browser but get overwhelmed trying to parse out which sites to close, bookmark or keep open, Onetab is a great option. 

Onetab lets you:

  • Save all the tabs you had open as a list so you don’t have to take any additional action until you want to access the tabs again
  • Restore each tab or all the tabs later
  • Get a reduction of memory use  by 95%
  • Export your list of tabs as URLs (website address) so you can take your list with you or share with others

Available on: Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari

 

LastPass

LastPASS

Having a unique and complex password for every account you use online is a surefire way to keep you and your data safe online, but the sheer number of passwords can be overwhelming. 

LastPass is an award-winning password manager that lets you:

  • Generate a secure password
  • Save & fill passwords
  • Searchable, secure password vault
  • Secure one-to-one sharing

Please note: Additional and advanced features are available for paid premium users.

Available on: Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, & Opera

 

Awesome Screenshot

Awesomescreeshot

Though already mentioned in the  7 Best Ways to Take Screenshots article, Awesome Screenshot is worth mentioning again as an excellent browser extension.  You can use their screen capture and recording functions.

Awesome Screenshot lets you:

  • For recording: 
    • It enables you to record both the screen on your device and the camera (up to 20 recordings for free) at an unlimited recording length
    • Record in resolutions up to 720p
    • Use of annotation tools while recording
    • Instantly share or save to your local device
    • Connect with other familiar programs such as Slack and Trello, etc.
  • For capturing:
    • 1-Click screenshots
    • Annotate or edit screenshots with various editing options
    • Share screenshots to multiple destinations
    • Take up to 100 screenshots

Please note: Additional and advanced features are available for paid users.

Available on: Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox

 

Grammarly

Grammarly

Grammarly is a program that helps you correct spelling, write clearly and concisely, and improve tone and word choice.  (in fact, we’re using it right now to check this article!)

The Grammarly browser extension lets you:

  • Proof your writing across the web – be it email, the comments section of a website, or a post on your Facebook page
  • Detects tone and helps you adjust it
  • Underlines spelling or grammar errors as you type on whatever website you are on
  • Turn the extension and on as you wish

Step 1:  

Sign up here

Step 2:

Once signed up, download the extension from the dashboard.

Available on: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge

 

ibotta

Ibotta

A cashback app covered in How to use the Ibotta app to score some great freebies also comes as a browser extension so you don’t have to use a separate app as you surf the web. 

ibotta browser extension lets you:

  • Get cash back at 2,000+ retailers
  • Track prices and restocks
  • Open the extension to compare prices and set price alerts on the spot!

Step 1:

Click this link and use referral code mpiaurm to earn $10 when you submit your first receipt

Copy code to insert into the Referral code box on Ibotta “Create account” page: mpiaurm

Step 2: 

Download Chrome extension here

Available on: Chrome

 

PayPal Honey

HONEY

Honey, which is now owned by Paypal, is a program that helps you save money while shopping online.

Honey Browser Extension lets you:

  • Know if there is a coupon for the site you are visiting with a green icon will show up on the Honey icon
  • Click to apply the coupon to get the savings
  • Save with over 40,000+ stores
  • Get rewards for certain eligible purchases
  • Get exclusive offers
  • (In the US) Compare sellers for the exact same products on Amazon and set price drop lists

Available on: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, and Edge

 

How to Install & Uninstall A Browser Extension:

Now that you’ve got a good lay of the land and know which browser extensions you’d like to add to your browser of choice, below is a step-by-step guide for how to install one.

Please note some browser extensions are only available on specific browsers. For example, you can’t install iBotta on any other browsers except Chrome.

How to Install Browser Extensions on Chrome:

Step 1:

Step 2: Once on the main page for Chrome add-ons, click ‘Extensions’

Chrome Install

  • If the extension you want is available in the main page, great! Click that icon, OR
  • Search for the extension by typing the name of the extension in the search bar above the ‘Extension’ icon

Step 3: Once on the browser extension installation page, click ‘Add to Chrome’

Install Chrome Browser Extension

Step 4: Click ‘Add extension’ in the pop-up window

Chrome Install

For Windows: The installer will download and usually shows up on the bottom left corner of your browser. If you aren’t already redirected to the honey sign-in or sign-up page, double-click the installer.

Step 5: You’ll be redirected to another page that will ask you to sign in, sign up for the service, or sign up later. That’s it! The extension should show up on your browser or under the extension icon on right side of your web address bar.

How to Pin Your Extension on Your Browser:

The whole idea is to have easier access to these helpful tools as you browse the internet. Below is a step-by-step way to pin your extension onto your browser for easier access:

Step 1: Click the puzzle icon aka the extension icon to the right side of the URL/website address bar

Pin Extension on Chrome

Step 2: Click the push pin icon next to the name of the extension you want to show up on your browser every time you open it

Pin Extension on Chrome

Step 3: You will see the extension’s icon to the right side of the web address bar

 

, and it will be pinned until you remove it

How to Uninstall Browser Extensions on Chrome

Step 1: Right-click the extension icon, Click ‘Remove extension’

Uninstallchromehoney

Step 2: A pop-up window will show up, Click ‘Remove’

Uninstall chrome

How to Install Browser Extensions on Safari:

Step 1: Go to App Store, search for extension

Install Safari

Step 2: Click on ‘Get’ Icon 

Step 3: It’ll turn the ‘Get’ icon into a green ‘Install’ icon, click the ‘Install’ icon

Install Safari

Step 4: You’ll likely be prompted for your apple credentials. Enter your Apple ID and password and click ‘Get’

Install Safari

Step 5: Once it downloads, click ‘open’ icon

Step 6: Click ‘Open Safari Preferences’  in the next pop-up window

Install Safari

Step 7: Check the box next to the browser extension

Step 8: It’ll ask you to confirm that you want to turn on that extension, Click ‘Turn on’

Install Safari

Step 9: You’ll get a pop-up confirming the addition of the extension, click ‘Done’

Install Safari

Step 10: Your extension will show up to the left of your URL or web address bar

 Install Safari

How to Uninstall Browser Extensions on Safari:

Step 1: Right-click the extension icon in browser, Click ‘manage extensions’ in the drop-down menu

Remove Safari

 

Step 2: In the next window, click ‘Uninstall’

Remove Safari

Step 3: You will get a prompt letting you know that the extension is part of an application

Step 4: Click ‘Show in Finder’

Step 5: Drag and drop the software icon into trash or right-click and click ‘Move to Trash’

Remove Safari

 

How to Install Browser Extensions on Edge:

Step 1: Go to Microsoft Edge Add-ons page

Step 2: Search for the Extension you want

Step 3: Click the logo or title of the extension

Step 4: Click ‘Get’

Install on edge

Step 5: Click ‘Add Extension’ in the pop-up window

Install on EdgeStep 6:  Either sign up or choose to sign up later, but it should be ready for you to use!

Install Edge

How to Pin Your Extension on Edge:

The whole idea is to have easier access to these helpful tools as you browse the internet. Below is a step-by-step way to pin your extension onto your browser for easier access:

Step 1: Click the extension icon

Step 2: Next to the Extension you want visible there should be an ‘eye’ icon, if it has a strike across it, it is not visible

Pin Extension on Edge

Step 3: Click this icon and the strike across the icon should disappear and the logo of the extension icon will appear on your browser.

Pin Extension

How to Uninstall Browser Extensions on Edge:

Step 1: Right-click the icon of the browser extension you want to remove, and click ‘Remove from Microsoft Edge’

Edge uninstall

Step 2: In the window that pops up, click ‘Remove’

Edge uninstall

Red Flags to Look Out For!

Of course, with every great innovation, there are inherent risks. In fact, a recent scam ran rampant online with millions of users paying for browser extensions on Chrome that ended up giving these users malware instead of convenience. Below are the red flags to look out for below you hit ‘install’:

  • Duration: Do pay attention to how long the browser extension has been available. Usually the longer the browser extension has been available for download, the more likely issues or benefits will rise to the surface.
  • Vetted: Most of the browser extensions we recommended are on multiple top browser extension lists across various reputable sites. Not only does it help users narrow down which browser extensions to download but third-party reviews help you discern between similar ones.
  • Rating: Double-check to make sure that the browser extensions you are downloading are highly-rated. Usually low to no-rating browser extensions should be regarded with suspicion.
  • Number of Downloads: Clearly millions of downloads don’t mean a browser extension is safe all the time. However, when it has been downloaded a lot and rated highly the likelihood that the browser extension is reputable is higher.
  • Reviews: Do read the reviews. You will get a sense of issues other users have before downloading and installing it yourself. Also, a lot of responsible developers do respond to user reviews, especially criticism. You want to focus on browser extensions that the developer is constantly making improvements on.
  • Get the App: Many of the reputable brands, such as LastPass and Grammarly, have Android and iOS specific apps that work on whatever browser you’re using on your phone. These companies are fully aware of Android and iOS limitations and have created platforms where you can fully and safely reap the benefits of their offerings.

Do you have any browser extensions? Are you planning on installing any? If so, why?

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