Google Chrome Extensions: Free Tools to Improve Productivity

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Did you know you can customize your internet experience to improve focus, accessibility, productivity, and more? Google Chrome offers a variety of different “extensions” that upgrade your browsing experience. Even better, Chrome easily integrates with Fordham Gmail!

With over 100,000 available extensions in Google’s Chrome Web Store (most of which are free!), there is sure to be an extension for everyone. Once an extension is installed from the Chrome Web Store, you can easily access it from your Chrome browser: Click the grey puzzle piece icon in the top right of a Chrome window.

Lots of choices

Overwhelmed by all the options? Not to worry. I recently downloaded and tested several extensions in search of the best. Here are my recommendations: 

Multitasking windows with Dualless

Some people like browser tabs, others like multiple windows. If you fall into the latter group, try Dualless, which resizes and organizes your open Chrome windows on your desktop in a few clicks. Dualless offers preset window dimensions for both horizontal and vertical arrangements. 

I like how Dualless provides me with the benefits of a dual monitor set up, even though I only have one screen. This extension is especially helpful for multitasking. I like to use it with one window open with my Google Doc and another window open with a reference webpage, or even when I have one window open for Netflix and another for online shopping. 

Dualless automatically resizes your Chrome window when you select your desired dimension.

Dualless automatically resizes your Chrome window when you select your desired dimension.

Make bad web design easy to read with Alpha Text

As an aspiring chef, I like to find new recipes on the internet from blogs. Sometimes, however, these sites are cluttered and have so many add ons. They slow my computer down and make it harder to follow the recipes. Luckily, Alpha Text, an accessibility tool, changes the text on websites to make them more legible. Select your desired text size, font type, and line height, and click set, and the page will automatically reload with the new text style. Alpha Text works best on articles, blogs, and wikis, though it does not work for all websites.  

AlphaText has many different customization options that can be applied to websites

Make online research easier with Mercury Reader

Easily distracted or overwhelmed by clutter on websites? Mercury Reader instantly removes ads, confusing layouts, and popups from any website leaving just the text and images. Simply click on the extension, and the page will instantly reload with a clear, reader-friendly display. The Mercury Reader view is super print-friendly as well. 

This extension is great for students as it makes it easier to stay focused and skim to find relevant information. When researching for my recent term paper, I converted all my online sources to the Mercury Reader view. I reviewed sources much faster and got less distracted by clutter on the sites. 

The Mercury Reader view only shows you the most relevant text on the webpage. 

The Mercury Reader view only shows you the most relevant text on the webpage.

Grammarly: The paid app that’s free at Fordham!

The Grammarly browser extension improves your writing by automatically checking for grammar, spelling, and plagiarism. And the best part is that Grammarly is free for all members of the Fordham Community! The extension works on any web page where you enter text, including Gmail, Google Docs, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.

When Grammarly detects that you are writing in a text field, the logo will pop up in the lower-right corner of the screen. As you write, the logo changes to reflect the number of Grammarly suggestions. Click on the number of suggestions to see the complete details.The Grammarly extension is an extremely helpful proofreading tool. I like how it catches passive voice and wordy phrases. 

Caption: Grammarly identifies errors and offers suggestions to improve writing. 

Caption: Grammarly identifies errors and offers suggestions to improve writing.

Organize Your New Extensions with Extensions Manager

There is no such thing as too many Chrome extensions thanks to Extensions Manager. Use this simple tool to organize all your extensions or even search for a specific one. 

Caption: Extensions Manager shows you a complete list of your extensions. Click on an extension for more options. 

Caption: Extensions Manager shows you a complete list of your extensions. Click on an extension for more options.

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