How to Open and Use Chrome Extensions

How to Open and Use Chrome Extensions
How to Open and Use Chrome Extensions

Extensions are a great medium to add more utility, personality, and fun to any browser. Chrome stands out especially in this field with the largest collection of extensions and add-ons. You can find Chrome extensions that cater to every need from Productivity to help with your office or school work, to plainly just fun, like virtual pets. If you want to get started with finding your favorite Chrome extension, here’s how you can do it. 

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How to Open and Add Chrome Extensions?

If you already have a few extensions on your Chrome browser, the tiny icons will show up in the toolbar. Then, click on the icons to open an extension. You can directly use the extension from the toolbar view. 

But if you don’t see the icons, it doesn’t mean that there are no extensions. It only means that you’ve not pinned them in your toolbar. To open these hidden extensions, here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Click on the Extensions logo on the toolbar. It looks like a puzzle piece. 
  2. A drop-down menu will appear showing you all the installed extensions. Click on any to open. 
  3. To add the extension to your toolbar, you can click on the Pin icon next to the extension. 
  4. To remove an extension from the toolbar, click on the Extensions logo again and then deselect the Pin button. 

If you want to add new extensions to your library, you can follow these steps. 

  1. Visit the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Make sure to select Extensions from the tab on the left. 
  3. Feel free to enter any keyword in the search bar at the top-left corner to look for a specific extension. 
  4. To browse through the extensions, you can filter the categories, like Blogging, Productivity, Developer Tools, Shopping, and more. You’ll notice other collections on the page, like Recommended For You, Chrome Toolkit, and Personalize Chrome. 
  5. Then, click on any extension to select it. Doing this will open more details about the extension. 
  6. If you like an extension, click on the option that says Add to Chrome.
  7. A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm. Click on Add Extension.
  8. Now, the extension will automatically open once you install it. 

If you want to check out other similar extensions, click on the Related tab. 

When on mobile, Chrome doesn’t allow you to directly add such extensions due to them not being compatible with the user interface. Despite that, you can still use them with the help of third-party browsers. But, we don’t recommend following that route considering potential privacy and security risks. 

How to Manage Your Extensions?

You can also manage your extensions in different ways. For instance, you can temporarily disable or remove them or manage their access. 

Disable or Remove Extensions 

If you want to remove any extensions, here’s what you can do: 

  1. Click on the three dots in the top-right corner.
  2. Then go to More Tools > Extensions. Alternatively, you can also click on the Extensions logo and then go to Manage Extensions
  3. To only disable an extension, click on the toggle to turn it off. Doing so will remove the extension from the toolbar and also disable all of its functions. 
  4. To uninstall an extension, click on the Remove option. 

Manage Access

To change additional settings for your extension, you can refer to these steps: 

  1. Go to the Manage Extensions page. 
  2. Select your desired extension and then click on Details
  3. In the Site Access section, you’ll see an option that says Allow this extension to read and change all your data on websites you visit. Click on the box next to it and choose from options, like On all sites, On specific sites, or On Click. It’s worth noting that all extensions may not show this option. 
  4. Below the same option, there’s another option that says Allow in Incognito. If you want to continue running some essential extensions even in Incognito Mode, click on the toggle to turn it on. 

On the same page, you can also view what changes the extensions are allowed to make on your browser. You can view it in the Permissions section. 

How to Find Safe Chrome Extensions?

Although Chrome offers a lot of extensions, there are some faulty ones that come with a security risk. They can act as a medium for data breaches. Such extensions are also a major contributing factor to the many common errors on Chrome. So, it can be tricky to find the ones that are safe to use.

All extensions need to go through Chrome’s review process. But, that doesn’t verify their integrity. Luckily, Chrome has two sorts of badges in its policy to help users navigate through credible and non-credible extensions.

  • Featured Badge: Any extension with this badge signifies that the extension meets Google’s high standards. When you open any top-recommended extension in the Chrome Web Store, you’ll see that it has a Featured badge below its name. You can safely download and use extensions with this badge. 
  • Established Publisher Badge: Extensions with this badge mean that the developers are verified and that they follow the due policies as well. Such extensions are safe to use as well. Besides these badges, other pointers to look out for are the extension reviews from customers as well as the ratings and the number of users. 
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