How to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome

The Chrome Web Store has come a long way since its early days. Hardly anyone compares it to Firefox’s add-on market place any more. The extensions have also improved in quality and you will find extensions that compare to those for available to Firefox users. In fact, there have been attempts to run Chrome extensions in Firefox. If you’ve never tried an extension out, or you don’t know where to get started, you’ll be surprised to know how easy it is to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome.

By default, extensions only run in the normal browsing window. If you want to run extensions in Incognito mode, you’re going to have to enable them individually.

Install extensions

Chrome extensions are mostly available in the Chrome Web Store. You can search the store, click an extension. and click the Add to Chrome button.

The extension will show you the list of permissions that the extension needs in order to work and you want to pay attention to this list. Make sure that the extension isn’t asking for permission it doesn’t need. Once you give the extension the permissions it needs, it will install in Chrome.

Extensions install on a per-profile basis so if you have multiple Chrome profiles, the extension that you install will only be installed for the current installation.

Side-loading extensions

While most extensions are available in the Chrome web store, some aren’t. These are mostly extensions that are still under development and in some cases, they’re extensions that may not be approved in the store. You can still install them but the process is different.

Before you install an extension from outside the Chrome Web Store, make sure that it is safe. They can be malicious.

To side-load an extension, open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. Go to More tools>Extensions. On the Extensions page, you will see a switch at the top right called Developer Mode. Turn it on.

Download the Chrome extension and then return to the Extensions page in Chrome. Click the Load Unpacked button and select the extension that you downloaded and it will be installed in Chrome. Again, it will be installed on a per-profile basis.

Uninstall extension

There are three ways to uninstall an extension. You can uninstall it from the Extensions’ page in Chrome, or you can uninstall it from the extension’s page on the Chrome Web Store. If an extension adds a button next to the URL bar, you can uninstall it from there.

To uninstall an extension from its button next to the URL bar, right-click it, and select the Remove from Chrome option. Accept the confirmation message and it will be uninstalled.

To uninstall an extension from the Extensions page, click the more options button at the top right in Chrome and go to More tools>Extensions. Scroll down the list and find the extension that you want to uninstall. When you find it, click the Remove button, and confirm that you want to remove the extension.

The third way to remove an extension is to visit its Chrome Web Store page. The Add to Chrome button that you clicked to install it will be replaced with a Remove from Chrome button. Click it, confirm that you want to remove the extension, and it will be uninstalled.

When you uninstall an extension, all its data is also removed with it.

Read How to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to delete search history from Chrome

Chrome uses your search history to help you enter search queries faster. You may need to search for the same thing over and over again, and in that case, this feature is incredibly useful. In other cases, once you no longer need that particular search query, it just becomes noise in the URL bar. Here’s how you can remove search history from Chrome on both the desktop and the mobile app.

Search history vs browsing history

This is a small but important distinction to make before you proceed. Your search history is the words or phrases that you type in the URL bar to search for something. Your browsing history is the pages that you visit.

For example, if you type in Ice Cream in the URL bar, it will become part of the search history. If you get search results for Ice Cream and visit one of those results e.g., Ben & Jerry’s, those pages will be part of your browsing history. Removing something from your search history has no impact on your browsing history. If you’re using Chrome in Incognito mode, your search history will not be saved.

Remove search history – Desktop

To remove an item from your search history you need to open a new tab in Chrome. Click inside the URL bar and type the first few letters of the phrase. Continuing with my previous example, if you type in Ice, and you’ve previously searched for Ice Cream, Chrome will list it as a suggestion. Use the arrow keys or the mouse to highlight it and then tap the Shift+Delete keyboard shortcut to remove it.

Remove search history – Mobile

Open a new tab in Chrome and enter the search word or phrase that you want to remove. When it appears in the suggestions, swipe left on it and you will see a delete button. Tap it to remove the entry from your search history.

We should mention that search history is one of the things that are synced if you have sync enabled in Chrome. If you searched for something on your desktop and removed it there, but repeated the search on your phone, the phrase will return on your desktop.

If you delete a phrase, it is deleted from all your devices. You don’t have to worry about sync adding it back after you’ve removed it unless you actively search the same phrase again. There is no way to delete your search history in bulk on either the desktop or the mobile version of the browser.

Read How to delete search history from Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to change the New Tab Page background in Chrome

Dark themes are slowly becoming more common. Both macOS and Windows 10 have a dark theme and it won’t be long before iOS and Android have one too. The change will be slow because apps will have to adapt to it as well. A dark theme is going to be added in a later version of Chrome. Until then, you might want to do something about the New Tab Page background which is a blinding white. Here are two solutions that let you change the New Tab page background from white to something dark.

Chrome Theme

Chrome has themes that allow you to change the color of the title bar and the New Tab page background. You can download these themes from the Chrome web store. We recommend trying the Just Black theme (pictured below) or if you want something that doesn’t go all black, you can try Material Simple Dark Grey which gives you a nice grey background instead.

New Tab page background image

If you don’t feel like using a Chrome theme because it modifies other aspects of the UI that you don’t want to change, you can always change the background to an image that’s dark.

Open Chrome and open a new tab page. Click the little cog wheel button at the bottom and from the menu, select Upload an Image.

Select any image that you want to use. Pick something that has dark colors and when it uploads, you will have a dark background on the new tab page. This method does have a shortcoming. When you open the new tab page, you will momentarily see the old white background which is akin to a flash going off but then the dark background loads and it’s okay after that.

The white flash is a known bug in Chrome which, as yet, hasn’t been resolved just yet. This is what makes using a theme a better option since there are no white flashes when you open a new tab.

If you’re on Windows 10, you can use the Night Light feature and turn your screen a slightly warmer color. It should take some of the shock out of opening a blindingly bright new tab page. Alternatively, you can also install the Flux Chrome extension and tint your browser a warmer color instead of tinting your entire screen. The ability to change the background of a new tab page to any image of your choice is a new one and was added in a recent Chrome update.

Read How to change the New Tab Page background in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to install and uninstall themes in Chrome

Chrome has themes. If you’re ever tired of the constant strain on your eyes from the browsers bright interface, a dark theme is a good solution. You can also install various extensions to dim browser tabs or you can use Night light on Windows 10. Here’s how you can install and uninstall themes in Chrome.

Install themes

You can find themes for Chrome in the Chrome Web Store. There are quite a few to choose from and there are some themes from Google as well as an entire collection of dark themes. Select a theme that you want to install and click the Add to Chrome button. It’s more or less the same as installing an extension in Chrome.

Uninstall themes

Uninstalling a theme in Chrome is about as easy as installing it though you cannot uninstall it from the Chrome Web Store like you can with extensions.

To uninstall themes in Chrome, click the more options button at the top right and select Settings from the menu that opens.

On the Settings screen, scroll down to the Appearance section and you will see an option called Theme. This option will have a Reset to default button. Click it and the current theme will be removed.

Chrome themes aren’t bad but they do have their shortcomings. The theme, even if it’s a dark one, will not change what the Chrome internal pages e.g., the Downloads or History page looks like. This goes for all themes because the themes, like the extensions for Chrome, are all bound by the same rules which prevent them from modifying internal pages. This is a security feature that aims to prevent malicious extensions or themes from hijacking your browser.

This doesn’t mean you’re subject to a blindingly bright white interface all the time. The new tab page can be modified with a theme and if you install a dark theme that can modify this page,  you can get a dark background on the new tab page. If you’re not a fan of themes but would like for the new tab page to be less bright, you can change the background to any picture of your choice.

Regardless, the internal pages will remain unchanged. There is no flag that you can enable nor any registry key you can edit to change this. Chrome is eventually going to get a dark mode to match that of Windows 10. It’s still only in beta so it could be a while before it is available to all users but it’s something to look forward to.

Read How to install and uninstall themes in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to import Microsoft Office files in Google Docs

Web apps don’t really compare to desktop apps when it comes to features. This is because they rely on your browser and its capabilities to work. Even through browsers continue to improve with each version, they still can’t run desktop apps. That said, web apps aren’t useless and are in fact very capable. Google Docs and Google’s entire productivity suite is a good example of this. Google Doc can open most other document file formats for editing. Here’s how you can open Microsoft Office files in Google Docs.

To be clear, you will open a Microsoft Word document in Google Docs, an Excel sheet in Google Sheets, and a PowerPoint presentation in Slides. The formatting, for the most part, will remain as it is though for presentations, you might lose some audio or video files. For Excel files, you may not be able to execute a function if Google Sheets doesn’t support it.

Microsoft Office files in Google Docs

The trick to opening Microsoft office files in Google Docs is in Google Drive. Google Drive allows you to upload any and all types of files. For many files, Google Drive lets you preview them and open them in other web apps, including one of the many Google apps.

Open Google Drive and click the New button on the left. Select File Upload and then select the document, spreadsheet, or presentation that you want to open. Allow it to upload to Google Drive. Once the upload completes, click the file to get a preview.

At the top of the preview window, you will see an Open With option. Click the dropdown next to it and pick the app, in this case Google Docs, to open the file in.

If the file you uploaded was a spreadsheet, you will have to pick Google Sheets from the menu and if it was a presentation, you will have to pick Google Slides.

Once the files import, you will be able to edit them. The files aren’t uploaded as snapshots. The text and images are all directly editable however, they will save as a copy. The original Microsoft Office file will not be changed. Google Docs cannot save the edits to the same file however, once you’ve made all the edits to it that you want, you can save it as a separate DOCX or XLSX or PPTX file from the File menu.

If during the import process, you lose some data, try adding it directly to the document that you have open in Google Docs and then saving it.

Read How to import Microsoft Office files in Google Docs by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter