Google’s Chrome browser is extremely versatile. That’s because there are thousands of extensions you can install to make it even better for you.
There are also many specialty extensions geared toward people in certain career sectors, like graphic designers! Let’s take a look at seven of the best free chrome extensions you should download if you’re into design.
One of the key elements of responsive design involves knowing how your webpages will look when subjected to different browser resolutions and window sizes. The aptly named Window Resizer extension allows you to set the width and height of a window. It also let’s you choose the type of window you want, depending on whether the page you’re making will most often get viewed on smartphones, tablets, computers or all three.
If there are certain resolutions you use most often, the extension allows you to add them all to a personalized list. That way it’s easy to click through to those preferred specifications in less time. Also, if you’re worried about privacy concerns, there’s no need to fret. This extension doesn’t have to access your browser history or bookmarks to work.
When it comes to style and readability, the font you use is arguably among the most important aspects of a webpage. If you’re like many designers, you naturally keep a sharp eye out for ideal fonts. Maybe you’ve even started a list of your favorites. Thanks to the WhatFont extension, you’ll no longer have to rely on guesswork when figuring out which fonts were used to create the sites you find.
When the extension is activated, simply hold your mouse over the words to learn the font family, name, size, and line height. Now, font research has become an intuitive process that doesn’t pull you away from your overall web browsing experience, but enhances it.
There are many design elements that simply cannot be described through text alone. That’s where the TrackDuck visual feedback tool comes in handy. It allows people to view webpages and then make relevant comments, take screenshots, or mark errors for easier cataloging.
After you highlight an area of a webpage so others can look at it, TrackDuck makes a screen shot of the portion you’ve selected. Besides that, TrackDuck automatically notes the screen resolution, browser version and operating system, and then stores all the details in a dedicated web app. If desired, you can send that information to fellow designers through over a dozen project management apps that are compatible with this convenient Chrome extension.
4. Muzli 2
Without proper inspiration, a designer’s way of life would probably be extremely challenging. All designers go through creative dry spells from time to time, but the Muzli 2 Extension aims to help people break out of them by offering daily design examples. It’s a well laid out extension that provides you with real-time picks from around the web. Not to mention the latest design news to help you stay ahead of the curve by discovering what’s next in your industry. After installing this extension, you’ll have an easy way to find worthwhile and relevant content to accompany all your coffee breaks.
When you have a lot of browser tabs open, it not only becomes more difficult to find certain tabs when you need them, but also adversely affects your RAM and CPU. This can be problematic if you’re running demanding programs such as Adobe Photoshop. However, the TabMemFree Chrome extension allows you to park unused tabs and free up memory. It also has a pinned tabs feature so you can select certain tabs that’ll stay active even if you go for a while without using them.
If you’re wondering why webpages you’ve built are loading so slowly and whether there’s anything you can do to speed them up, install the YSlow extension for Chrome. It analyzes websites based on Yahoo’s guidelines for high-performance sites.
Alternatively, you can create a ruleset for each webpage and use it during each analysis. Yahoo’s web design experts have found 34 elements that affect webpage performance and said most of them are testable. The YSlow extension looks at all of those elements, gives you an overall grade, and then allows you to filter through each segment that was responsible for your score.
Earlier, we looked at WhatFont, an extension that quickly reveals the font used on any website. It’s particularly useful when you’re still in the preliminary phases of finding fonts for your website and are simply hunting for options that catch your eye.
The Web Fonts Enhanced by TypeDNA Chrome Extension is ideal for using once you’ve reached the next stage of the process and are ready to start testing certain fonts. It features straightforward operations that are easy to understand by beginners and advanced designers alike.
This tool works with Google Web Fonts and generates a live preview of any font you choose. After double clicking a font to select it, you’ll see what the text looks like on whatever website you’re browsing. Once you find a font you like, the extension provides the code so you can copy it to your own project.
Although this list offers only a small sampling of free chrome extensions that cater to designers, it highlights some of the most user-friendly, powerful and practical extras that could become your newest trustworthy tools. Download some or all of them today and see if they make your design work more efficient, and consequently, more enjoyable.