Chrome productively

How to use Chrome productively: Extensions and keyboard shortcuts

Using Google Chrome productively is not only about mastering keyboard shortcuts or installing the right extensions and apps. You also have to know how to surf smart. Continue reading to learn how to do all of this.


Surf smarter

It does not help to have a lightning fast internet connection if you are surfing at turtle speed. Back in the mid-90s, while the internet was new, I remember having to wait for web pages to load. I quickly discovered that I could save a lot of time by letting a page load while I was reading another. This was before tabbed browsing, so I would have 3-5 windows open at the same time.

More than 20 years later, the waiting time is significantly less, but the amount of time we spend online has increased 10-fold – making it just as important to eliminate waiting time.

I am still amazed when I see people reading the online newspaper by clicking on a news article, waiting for it to load – only to hit the back-button and load the previous page as soon as they are finished reading.

I would argue that Ctrl + Left-click is the most time-saving keyboard shortcut in the universe.

By using this shortcut, all of the articles will load in the background, in a new tab,  while you are reading other stuff. In the few instances where the Ctrl + Left-click does not work, try right-clicking and select “Open link in new tab.”


How to use Google Chrome productively

Using Google Chrome productively
The Google Chrome logo. (Picture: Pixabay)

The secret to using Google Chrome productively is not any different than using any browser productively. First, start by getting to know your browser.

One of the features I really like about the Google Chrome browser is the synchronization of everything from extension and apps, to history and open tabs. This makes it easy to move between devices and to set up a new computer, tab, or phone.



The difference between Chrome apps and Chrome extensions

A Chrome web app is basically a website running in a minimalistic browser window. Nothing is installed on your computer. Extensions, on the other hand, are small pieces of software installed in your browser to provide functionality.

How to install apps and extension in Google Chrome

Click the Chrome menu. Select More Tools, then Extensions. Then you will see a list of your current extensions.


Chrome extensions for productivity

Here is a list of my favorite productivity-boosting extensions that help me using Chrome productively.


Chrome Todoist extension

The Todoist Chrome extension puts Todoist just one click away. A really cool thing is that you can save websites as tasks with a single click. Your task will link back to the original web page so you can access it when you need to. This is great for things that you want to read, or for making a shopping list.
Get Todoist for Chrome


PomoDone for Chrome

If you are a fan of the Pomodoro method, you should check out the PomoDone app. This integrates with Todoist, making it super easy to use. With this extension, you can start the PomoDone app from the browser.
Get PomoDone for Chrome

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Want to know more about the Pomodoro method? Read The Pomodoro Method – scheduled concentration.



FreshStart for Chrome

Have you ever had to log off from your computer and run to catch a bus, just when you had eight interesting tabs open? then FreshStart is the tool for you. This extension lets you save complete sessions with multiple tabs. It even lets you name the session. The saved sessions are synced between all your computers.
Get FreshStart for Chrome


LastPass for Chrome

LastPass is my favorite password manager. This is a multi-platform solution that helps you to be more productive by not wasting time trying to remember passwords.
Get LastPass Password Manager for Chrome


Evernote Web Clipper for Chrome

The Evernote Web Clipper is by far my most used extension. It makes is super easy to add content from a web page to Evernote.
Get Evernote Web Clipper for Chrome

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To learn more about Evernote, read
How to organize Evernote – My secrets revealed
19 Evernote pro tips – Learn how to save, organize and find information



Speed up Chrome with The Great Suspender

When you are surfing with a myriad of open tabs, memory can be an issue. By installing The Great Suspender, tabs get suspended after a time, freeing up memory. If needed,  you can whitelist sites so that they will not be suspended.
Get The Great Suspender


Spell check with Grammarly for Chrome

Grammarly is probably the best spell checker out there. A good spell checker saves you time when proofreading and makes you look professional.
Get Grammarly for Chrome


Chrome productivity extensions
In the Chrome Web Store, you can find a lot of extensions and apps for productivity. (Picture: Google)



Chrome apps for productivity

One more way of using Google Chrome productively is to use Chrome Apps. First, if you are going to use Chrome apps, I would recommend installing an extension called Chrome Apps Launcher. This extension gives you a menu in Chrome for launching apps easily.
Get Google Apps Launcher


Todoist for Chrome

The Todoist App allows you to have Todoist open in a separate browser window without seeing the browser tabs, the URL bar, and all the other stuff that is distracting you.

This is a great alternative if you want a minimalist Todoist window or, if like me, your employer does not allow Windows 10 apps.
Get Todoist for Chrome

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I have written a ton of blog posts about Todoist. Check out this link to find out more



Evernote Web app for Chrome

If you want Evernote running as a separate app, but don’t want to install the Windows version, this is a good alternative.
Get Evernote Web app for Chrome


Picture: Google


Chrome keyboard shortcuts


Tabs and windows

  • Ctrl + T: New tab
  • Ctrl + Shift + T: Reopen the last closed tab. (This can be done multiple times.)
  • Ctrl + W: Close current tab
  • Ctrl + Tab: View next tab
  • Ctrl + Shift + Tab: View previous tab
  • Ctrl + 1-8: View a specific tab. (Works only for the first eight tabs.)
  • Ctrl + N: New window
  • Ctrl + J: Open download page
  • Ctrl + H: Open History page


  • Space or Page down: Scroll one page down
  • Space + Shift or Page up: Scroll one page up
  • Ctrl + R: Reload page
  • Ctrl + L: Highlight the URL bar so that you can type a new URL
  • Ctrl + D: Bookmark page
  • Ctrl + Shift: Open link in new window
  • Ctrl + Click: Open link in new tab
    This is the one keyboard shortcuts that will improve productivity ten-fold when surfing. This shortcut opens the link in a new tab behind the one you are currently in. This enables uninterrupted reading and eliminated the time it takes to go back to the web page you found the link in.

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Now that you know how to use Chrome productively, continue reading 44 keyboard shortcuts that will improve productivity in Todoist, Newton, and Evernote





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