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20 must-try Chrome extensions for web designers

As a web designer, you know how essential it is to have the right tools for your trade. Well, it’s equally important that those tools are easily accessible, which is why you’ve probably dove into the Chrome Web Store a time or two before. However, when frantically searching for the right Google Chrome extension, you might find yourself in ‘Black Friday’ mode, trying to get the best deal in the quickest amount of time so that you can return to your daily routine. Some are half-baked, outdated, or flat out bad, so you often get discouraged while on the hunt for the right browser add-ons. Don’t fret, as we’ve taken it upon ourselves to handle that for you (no need to thank us). Here we’ve cherry-picked 20 essential Chrome extensions for web designers.

01. Toby

First things first: There’s a good chance that as you read this list, you’ll open up the extensions in a new tab so you can come back to it later to try it out. Our first pick solves that potential problem of ending up with a neverending mess of tabs (an instigator of anxiety for many of us). It’s called Toby and it’s a fantastic little extension that helps you stay nice and organized.

Toby takes the standard tab organizer to a whole new level. It enables you to bookmark not only single webpages, but entire collections of pages, and then organize all of them into one tab - like in a beautiful library. Toby regularly appears in the rankings for the best Chrome extensions, and for a good reason: A survey found that it helped users save up to eight hours per week - the equivalent of 48 days a year!

Free | Install

02. Window Resizer

Web designers must toil over every aspect of how their creations looks across platforms and screen sizes, and while nothing beats testing on each type of device, you have designing to do! That’s where Window Resizer comes in, which is exactly what it sounds like: A Chrome extension that resizes your browser window to emulate different screen resolutions of the aforementioned device types.

Free | Install

03. WhatFont

You don’t have to be a web designer to enjoy WhatFont. A regular web geek will also find use in this extension. When installed, you can simply hover over the text on any webpage to view the name of the font being used there. Now you’ll never be left wondering how to get your hands on your favorite websites’ elusive typography.

Free | Install

04. ColorZilla

While you may think the name is a bit off the market, it’s actually quite apt given that it was originally created for Mozilla Firefox. ColorZilla is a true powerhouse of a Chrome extension in the guise of a “color picker” - even then, calling it an “advanced color picker” would be an understatement. Why? Because the following mentioned tricks are just a few of the ones up ColorZilla’s digital sleeve:

  • An eyedropper, to get the color of any pixel on the page.

  • An advanced color picker similar to ones that can be found in Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro.

  • A webpage color analyzer, which examines DOM element colors on any page and locates corresponding elements.

  • An ultimate CSS gradient generator.

  • A palette viewer with seven pre-installed palettes.

  • Last but not least, a color history of recently picked hues.

Free | Install

05. IE Tab

There’s no use in being nice about it: People only utilize Internet Explorer (IE) for specific reasons - and primarily negative ones. These include that they either don’t know any better or what a browser is, that it’s required to be used at work or school, or that they want to test how their web design will look on the aged browser. IE Tab rescues you from having to install IE and allows you to emulate it in a Chrome tab... Because no one uses Microsoft’s broken web browser and you, as a designer, should really know better.

Free | Install

06. Designers Ruler

It’s hard to write something clever about this extension, as its function is about as cut and dry as its description: Measuring a webpage with a variety of ruler choices for pixel perfection. In short, it rules.

Free | Install

07. Pinterest Save Button

Pinterest can be both an inspiration machine and time sucker at the same time. The pin-centric social network has figured that out and created a nifty extension for you. The Pinterest Save Button enables you to easily keep things you found online for later (on Pinterest, of course). The Chrome extension also comes with a visual search feature, allowing you to view similar images just by hovering over one.

Free | Install

08. Muzli 2

As a designer, you’re expected to have the magic eye that others don’t. Sometimes it requires walking away from a project and seeing it again with fresh eyes. Other times it needs another viewpoint, which is something that you’ll only get through inspiration. This is where Muzli comes in. This extension replaces your “New Tab” experience, turning it into a daily selection of the freshest design, UI, UX and interactive news curated around the web.

Free | Install

09. Lightshot

You can take a screenshot in several ways on a computer, but Lightshot is probably the only way you’ll ever want to take them after you install this Chrome extension. Since it is a simple screenshot app, its functions are quite straightforward so that the normal features you need are presented front and center. This extension enables you to select the area on the screen you’d like to take the screenshot of, edit/add notes to, and share or save it immediately from there - all of it, within seconds. It also takes screenshotting to a new level with a convenient feature that lets you select any image on a screen and perform a search for similar pictures on the Internet.

Free | Install

10. Strict Workflow

Having too much fun on the Internet browsing your favorite blog articles and YouTube vids when you should be focusing on work? Strict Workflow is for you, then. As the name suggests, it’s an extension that was created to keep you on task. When installed, by default it enforces a “strict” work/break cycle, meaning that it will make certain websites that could easily take your attention away from work completely inaccessible for 25 minutes. After that time has gone by, there will be a brief five minute break period where the blacklisted websites will become accessible again. The list of sites is already pre-populated with those deemed distracting to your productivity, but both this as well as your work and break times can be adjusted to your liking.

Free | Install

11. Color Tab

Okay, so this Chrome extension is just plain fun, even if you’re not a designer and are just craving some color inspiration. Color Tab replaces every “new tab” window in Chrome with a different color palette. That’s about it, which is really a sign of its genius. Hovering over each color will allow you to view the Hex code. You can also click the “Color Tab” logo at the top right of the screen to open the palette in a new window and then save it for later. Overall, the simplicity is what makes this extension so great. It’s like getting force fed inspiration in every browser tab you open and try as we might, we just can’t see that as a bad thing.

Free | Install

12. Corporate Ipsum

Another painfully obvious and simple extension, Corporate Ipsum is a lorem ipsum generator that spits out corporate jargon. All you need to do is click on the extension in your browser, set the length of the copy you need and you’ll be presented with such gems as this: “Quickly harness virtual initiatives rather than superior intellectual capital. Intrinsically synergize resource maximizing bandwidth and leveraged e-commerce.” Need we say anymore?

Free | Install

13. Google Arts & Culture

The Google Arts & Culture website is easy enough to get lost in from exploration, but if you’re looking for a tiny dose of inspiration a little more often in life, then look no further than this dedicated extension. It’s yet another offering that takes over your “new tab” window, but with artwork from around the world. You can set the art to change either every day or anytime you open a new tab, but don’t worry, there’s also a “refresh” button to change the painting or sculpture so you don’t have to continually open new blank tabs to see more.

Free | Install

14. The Great Suspender

If you were unaware of the amount of your computer’s memory Google Chrome takes up, you’re in for a rude awakening. Luckily, thanks to extensions such as the Great Suspender, your browser life and computer performance have received a much needed boost. This is a please-all extension that can benefit more than just web designers. The Great Suspender will do as its name suggests and suspend tabs that have not been viewed for a certain amount of time, freeing up memory and processing power. You can configure how long a tab needs to go untouched before it’s suspended and also whitelist websites so that they won’t be affected by the extension.

Free | Install

15. Spectrum

Spectrum is an extension that allows you to check a website’s colors to see how they are perceived by people with CVD (Color Vision Deficiency.) Simply select the icon on the top right of the browser and choose the form of CVD you'd like to test. Then, the webpage will instantly reflect it. A small step for your browser, a giant leap for your websites’ accessibility.

Free | Install

16. Clear Cache

As a web designer, you more than likely know the issues that can arise due to browser cache issues. You’re also probably familiar as to how to clear cache on Chrome. (Settings> More Tools > Clear browsing data). Sure, it’s not a painful process but could be a bit more elegant. This is where Clear Cache comes in. The name of this extension gives its function away, allowing you to clear your browser cache but directly from the Chrome toolbar. It’s a no frills but helpful that is a must-install extension.

Free | Install

17. Project Naptha

Another please-all extension that you will be wondering where it’s been all your life is Project Naptha. With what seems to be magic, this is an extension that allows you to highlight, select, copy and paste text from images. We know. Mind blown.

Free | Install

18. Check My Links

After spending a lot of time building a website, the last thing you want to have set you back is something as silly as a broken link. Sure, you can go to the live website and click on every link to make sure that they all lead to the appropriate, intended locations… But do you really want to do such a mundane task? Fortunately, with Check My Links, you don’t have to. This extension crawls your site’s links, looking for broken ones. Simply run it once and you’ll be presented with the number of working and broken links, each of which are color coded so that you know where to look to fix your broken links!

Free | Install

19. Grammarly

Given your title as a web designer, and not necessarily an author, then this is one app worthy of your attention. Use grammarly to make sure that whatever you’re typing, it reads well. Much more powerful than a simple spell check, Grammarly also proofs your grammar, which should be obvious, given its name. End of story. ;)

Free & Premium | Install

20. Fontface Ninja

Fontface Ninja is similar to WhatFont, but it goes a step further. Not only does it enable you to view the font on any website just by hovering over the text, but it also shows its size, spacing and more so that you can replicate the exact look you admire. This Chrome extension also enables you to easily save fonts that you like for later or, if available, purchase the license to the font right then and there. Don’t lie. You’re impressed.

Free | Install


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