Software

10 must-have Chrome productivity extensions

Chrome is more than just a browser--it's an ecosystem that can help make your day a bit more productive. And with the help of these extensions, it can deliver an extra boost of efficiency to your daily grind.

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Image: Jack Wallen

If you're a Chrome user, you know well how the extension architecture can expand functionality and make Chrome more than just a browser. In fact, with the right collection of extensions, Chrome can become a means to a very productive end. Don't believe me? Just take a gander at the Productivity category on the Chrome Web Store. But which of the plethora of extensions are best suited for getting your life in order and your work done? Of course, this will depend upon what exactly you need to accomplish, but certain extensions can help just about anyone. Let's take a look at 10 of them and see if they appeal to your needs.

1: Buffer

Buffer is one of those tools you don't realize you need until you try it. Buffer is all about scheduled tweets, retweets, and Facebook posts. If you (or your company) works with either Twitter or Facebook to market a product or service, you owe it to yourself to give this a try. Not only can you schedule your tweets (or retweets), you can also get insight into what tweets are getting the most traction and even rebuffer those to keep them bubbling up to the top. You can sign up for a free account (which allows you 10 tweets in your buffer) or pay $10.00 USD/month for an "awesome" upgrade and get 100 tweets in your buffer.

2: QuickDrop

QuickDrop is one of the best tools for interacting with Dropbox from within Chrome. With this extension you can navigate through your Dropbox account (with a single click on the extension button), upload images directly to your Dropbox account (through a right-click context menu), and much more. You can also create a special upload folder from within the QuickDrop settings so all uploaded files can be found there.

3: StayFocused

StayFocused is the extension you need if you tend to waste too much time on websites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and want a third party to control your usage. If you restrict your Facebook usage to one hour a day, that's all you'll get. StayFocused can block specific pages, entire domains, and even apps and games. With the help of this extension, you'll stay more focused and get more work done.

SEE: Why you should focus on defeating distraction

4: Dayboard

Dayboard replaces your new tab page with a daily to-do list. You can view these tasks in what's called Focus Mode, which displays the tasks in your to-do list one at a time. Dayboard will also give you a history of your completed tasks, allows you to connect teams to your lists, and keep your tasks in sync with all your devices. The developers are always working on new features (such as the coming-soon ability to archive tasks and turn off reminders when the workday is over).

5: Auto Text Expander

Auto Text Expander is an extension focused on saving you time on phrases you repetitively type. You simply add shortcuts for text snippets. Every time you type the shortcut, Auto Text Expander will automatically insert the text associated with it. Not only will you save time, but you'll save the extra work associated with typos. Auto Text Expander allows you to import and export your shortcuts (which you should always do, to be safe).

6: Save to Pocket

Save to Pocket offers an efficient way to save articles or bookmarks for later viewing. Instead of creating a Temp folder on your Bookmark bar, just add this extension and be done with it. Save to Pocket offers one-click saving from the toolbar, from a context menu, and from a keyboard shortcut. Everything you save will appear in your Pocket account and be synced across all of your devices.

7: OneTab

OneTab is the extension for anyone who keeps too many tabs open at one time. When this happens, those tabs can become so small, you have no idea which tab is associated with what page. OneTab provides a single tab that lists all your currently open pages. This will also help save memory on your PC (as all of those tabs have been reduced to a single instance). When you need access to a tab, you can either restore them individually or all at once.

8: Authy

Authy is an extension for setting up two-factor authentication (which everyone should be using). With Authy, you won't have to constantly grab for your mobile device to retrieve a six-digit PIN (to gain entrance to those sites you have protected with two-factor authentication). This extension functions in the same way as the mobile app—which means it's very easy to use.

SEE: Let Authy handle your Android two-step authentication

9: LastPass

LastPass is a free password manager that should be considered a must-have for anyone who needs to remember passwords across devices. If you are concerned about security (and you should be), those passwords shouldn't be easy to memorize. So you want a good password manager to take on the task. You can't go wrong with LastPass.

10: Note Board

Note Board is a corkboard for your computer screen. Yes, it's a bit cheesy. But if you prefer to work by visuals (as opposed to lists), this tool will help you keep your cluttered mind a bit less cluttered. With Note Board you can drag and drop content from other tabs or images from your local file manager onto a board. You can also create popups with notes and even have public boards.

Other favorites?

The list of productivity extensions for Chrome seems to be never-ending... and somewhat overwhelming. If you don't know where to start, give some of these a try and see if your daily grind is a bit less grindy.

Do you have a favorite productivity extension that's not on this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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