by Jim Spellos
Your most important tech productivity tool in the office may be the one you spend most of your time in already. Not Word or Excel. Certainly not your email client either (email and productivity aren’t known to go hand in hand). It’s your web browser. You may not think about it as a productivity tool, but the world of browser extensions, sometimes referred to as add-ons, as well as browser-based shortcuts, can save you significant time as you browse the web for information. Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge all support extensions/add-ons, so for most of you, these tips and tricks are ready for you to use.
So how about a keyboard shortcut and an extension to make your browsing experience more ninja-like?
The killer shortcut: Ctrl – Shift – T
Most great tools solve a specific problem or issue, and this one is no exception. You’re working in your browser, with multiple tabs open, and you accidentally close one of the tabs…or perhaps the entire browser. Yikes! You had all the tabs setup to exactly where you needed to be. That’s where this shortcut works its’ magic. With the browser open (if you closed the entire browser, open it up), then press and hold together Ctrl – Shift – T. Voila, all of your tabs go back to the pages you had opened. It works in Chrome, Firefox and Edge, so no matter which browser you’re using, it can be a life saver.
An awesome extension: Session Manager
When you get into the office and open up your browser, you always have a number of web pages you want open. Instead of opening each one manually, the Session Manager extension/add-on allows you to save all of the tabs you want open, and with one click, have your desktop browser ready to go. This one works for both Chrome and Firefox.
So, if these extensions/add-ons are so cool, how do you find them? For each browser, they have their own “store” (though most of the extensions are completely free). Instead of giving you 3 long URLs, it’s really quite simple. Just Google the browser name followed by the word “extension” (no quotes). The world of time saving extensions/add-ons is officially yours.
One final note about downloading anything at work. Please make sure you have spoken with IT before you place anything on your desktop, laptop, or even mobile device. And, please do your due diligence with any downloads. My approach is always to put the name of the extension followed by the word “malware” (again, no quotes). If the search results are full of mentions of spyware and malware discussions, you can be sure that you don’t want to download that extension. Rather be safe than sorry with any download.
So that’s it. A shortcut… an extension… and a more productive work day. What are your favorite productivity tools in your browser?
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Jim Spellos is a technology educator, speaking at over 100 conferences annually about how to be more comfortable and productive using technology.