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Enhance your browser to simplify work

March 25, 2013

simplicity#22 by Namelas Frade

Educators and other knowledge workers spend a great deal of time in front of a browser. We use them to find resources for classes, edit Google docs, enter grades in Sakai, and much more. These tools only go so far on their own, though; their developers can’t accommodate every possible workflow. Browser settings allow you to customize menus or change the color scheme but if you want to add functionality, you’ll need an extension, add-on, or bookmarklet.

What they can do

  • Copy content for pasting to Word or other documents
  • Translate text from one language to another
  • Read text out loud
  • Save content …
    • As a PDF document on your device
    • To Google Drive (Chrome only)
    • For reading later in Pocket (or other)
    • For a bibliography in Zotero (or other)
  • Shorten a URL (web address) for sharing with others
  • Download a video
  • Save a URL to Diigo or Delicious
  • Block ads or scripts to speed up page viewing
  • Tell you if a site is safe
  • All kinds of other things

[Feel free to comment on enhancements that are helpful for educators. I’d be happy to add to the list.]

Extensions are installed on one browser at a time. If you want something to be used by multiple browsers, you have to install it on each one. Unfortunately, you may find that the extension you want is not available for your browser/platform combination. The Zotero extension, for example, is only for Firefox and thus is not available to iOS users (but there’s an app for that).

Extensions are not supported on iPads and iPhones. Don’t bother looking for a Google Drive extension that works on the iOS Safari browser. However, users can create bookmarklets for many kinds of tasks.

CAVEAT: disreputable browser extensions have been known to cause pop-up ads or other unwanted behavior. Stick with the enhancements listed on the sites below.

Find enhancements

Learn more

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