How to automatically download PDFs in Chrome instead of opening them

Chrome is a capable browser. It will use up all your RAM like a sponge soaking up water but it will use that RAM for good, mostly. Among the many useful things it can do is its ability to open a PDF file. It might seem trivial but there was once a time when good PDF readers were hard to come by. In Chrome, when you click on a link to a PDF file, it loads in the browser and you can read it. There’s an option to save the file offline however, if you prefer to automatically download PDFs in Chrome instead of opening them first, you can set it to do just that.

Automatically download PDFs in Chrome

Open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings. On the Settings page, scroll all the way down and click ‘Advanced’ at the end.

Scroll to the Privacy & Security settings and click ‘Site Settings’.

On the Site Settings page, click ‘PDF documents’.

On the page that follows, turn on the ‘Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome’ option.

That’s all you have to do. The next time you click on a link to a PDF, you will get the familiar Save As dialog. Select where you want to save the file to, and it will be saved.

This is a Chrome based setting and it will change how Chrome works. You may have a PDF viewer installed on your system. If this PDF viewer is set as the default app for handling all PDF files on your system, it may intercept the file and open it instead. This tends to happen because file defaults are set at an OS level. Technically, the setting that we’ve changed should prevent it from happening but some apps are more proactive than others at what they do. Check if the PDF viewer you have installed has any setting that you can change that will prevent it from communicating with Chrome, or any other browser you might have installed.

Of course, with this setting set the way it is, you simply cannot open PDF files in Chrome any more. Even if you drag & drop a PDF file onto the browser, it’s just going to download again. It’s all or nothing once you make the change. It’s easy to undo so if you ever find yourself browsing one too many PDFs and you’d rather open them, change the switch back to the off position.

Read How to automatically download PDFs in Chrome instead of opening them by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to clear Recent tabs history in Chrome

When you close Chrome, whether you do it normally, it crashes, you force close it, or your system restarts, the browser keeps a list of all the tabs you had open. When you next launch it, you will see an option to restore tabs if Chrome did not shut down properly. If it was shut down properly, tapping Ctrl+Shift+T will reopen your recent tabs. If you’d like to clear Recent Tab history in Chrome, there’s no obvious way to do it. That said, it’s not impossible.

Clear Recent Tab history

Open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. Under History, check if there are any saved tabs that need to be cleared.

If there are tabs listed under Recent tab, click the Exit button on the Chrome menu. This will quit all instances of Chrome; all windows, and all profiles that are open.

Open Chrome again, click the more options button, and from the menu select Exit one more time. If you’re on macOS, you will have to select ‘Quit’.

When you open Chrome a third time, the Recent Tab history will be wiped clean. Tapping Ctrl+Shift+T won’t open anything. If you go to the more options menu, the History sub-menu will not show you any recent tabs.

It goes without saying that these tabs will still exist in your history. This trick will only remove them from Recent Tabs. The benefit of this is that no one can just open your browser, tap the Ctrl+Shift+T keyboard shortcut and see what you had open last.

The downside is that this will wipe the Recent Tab history for all your Chrome profiles. As stated, exiting the browser closes all instances of it and doing so twice is what clears the Recent Tab history. Since all profiles are closed, it stands to reason that they too will lose their Recent Tab history.

Some alternative solutions to clearing recent tab history include clearing your browsing history for the past hour. This may, or may not work. The Recent Tabs menu might continue to list the items. The one sure way to check is to look under the menu. If you feel you might need to access those pages again, you can either bookmark them, or save the URLs offline in a simple text file. There are extensions that make it easy to do that. Recent Tab history does not sync with your Google profile and it is separate from tabs open on other devices.

Read How to clear Recent tabs history in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to fix trailing underscores at the end of URLs in Chrome

Chrome lets you add a custom search engine to it which is basically any website that you search frequently. It happens automatically if you search a particular website often enough. Once added, all you have to do is type the first few letters of the URL, tap the Tab key and then enter the search term. When you tap Enter again, the search term will be sent to the website. It’s quick but in some rare cases, trailing underscores are added at the end of the URLs in Chrome. Here’s how to fix it.

Trailing underscores at the end of URLs

This might take a few minutes to fix. Open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings. On the Settings screen, look for the ‘Search engine’ section and click the ‘Manage search engines’ option.

You’re going to see the problematic search engines show up and it will appear quite a few times in the list of ‘Other search engines’.

Click the more button next to every single instance of the URL with the underscores and from the menu, select the ‘Remove from list’ option. Once you’ve done that, click inside the URL bar and type the URL of the website. The same problematic URLs will show up. Highlight them with your cursor and tap Shift+Delete. Repeat this until the URLs stop appearing and only the plain, simple URL with nothing extra appended to the end shows up. Leave that one.

This should fix the the problem. If you have this same problem with other URLs, you will have to repeat the same process for them as well.

Why this happens is anyone’s guess. If you have your Chrome data synced to other systems, it is possible that these URLs will come back because they’ll be synced to other Chrome instances. Search engines are synced if you choose to sync ‘settings’ in the sync options. You can pause syncing on your system, and repeat this on the other ones until not a single one has these incorrect URLs in the history and in the other search engines’ list.

Deleting the other search engines is a simple enough thing but if you’re wondering what the Shift+Delete keyboard shortcut does, it removes the URL from your browsing history and frequently accessed URLs. It’s a useful shortcut to know if you want to remove a search term that keeps popping up or that you don’t want popping up at the wrong time.

Read How to fix trailing underscores at the end of URLs in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to highlight all matches in the Firefox Find bar

Firefox has a ‘Find bar’ that you can use to search a web page, or a PDF, or any other text based file. Firefox offers live search; as you type a letter, it updates the matches it has found. Once you’ve written a complete word or phrase, you can tap the Enter key and it will highlight the first instance of the word that it has found. If you continue to tap the Enter key, it will highlight the next word that matches. If you want to highlight all matches at once, there’s a keyboard shortcut that can do the job.

Highlight Find Bar matches

Open Firefox and navigate to the page you want to search. Use the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut to open the Find Bar. Type in what you want to search for. The Find Bar will show you how many matches it has found.

To highlight all the matches on the page, use the Alt+A keyboard shortcut. Once highlighted, you can use the Enter key to go through them all. The words are highlighted in pink, and the word you’re currently on is highlighted in green. If you want to turn off the highlight for all matches, tap the Alt+A keyboard shortcut again.

Chrome does this by default i.e., when you search for a word or phrase in the Find Bar, it highlights all matches instead of just the one you’ve selected. Firefox needs to be forced to do this via the keyboard shortcut mentioned before.

There’s some logic behind why Firefox does things this way. If you’re dealing with a particularly large/long page, or a page that loads as you scroll further down, it may slow the search feature or the page. Since the search is live i.e., it updates as you type, it will have to scan the entire page after each letter you enter.

If you prefer that all matches are highlighted by default, you can change its behavior. To do so, open a new tab in Firefox and enter the following in the URL bar.

about:config

Accept the on-screen warning to go to the Firefox preferences page. Look for the following preference, double-click it and change its value to ‘True’.

findbar.highlightAll

When you search a web page after changing this preference, all matches will be highlighted by default. You can still use the Alt+A keyboard shortcut to disable the highlights. The preference simply changes the default behavior of the Find Bar.

Read How to highlight all matches in the Firefox Find bar by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to automatically post YouTube videos to Twitter in 2019

If you need to automatically post YouTube videos to Twitter, you’ll find the all guides point to a now obsolete method. YouTube, before January 2019, allowed users to connect their Twitter account to the service and automatically share videos. It has now removed this option. In order to automatically post YouTube videos from a particular channel to Twitter, you need an intermediary service to do the job. Zapier fits the bill perfectly.

Zapier has a free plan with limitations. The free plan allows you to use 5 ‘zaps’ which are basically 5 automated actions, and these can be simple 2-step actions. Sharing a YouTube video to Twitter fits this perfectly however, if you need to share videos from multiple channels, i.e., more than 5, you will likely need to buy a premium subscription for the service.

YouTube videos to Twitter

Sign up for a free Zapier account and verify your email before you proceed. Once you’re signed up and verified, click the ‘Make a zap’ button at the top. On the ‘Choose a trigger app’ page, select YouTube. On the triggers for YouTube, select ‘New video in Channel’. On the next page, select ‘Connect account’ and authorize Zapier to connect with your YouTube account.

After you connect your account, you have to enter the name of the YouTube channel you want to automatically share videos from. Click continue. The default action will do the trick. Test it when prompted and it will be able to pull the most recent video from the channel you selected.

After the testing phase, you have to select an Action App. Select Twitter and for the action, select ‘Create Tweet’. Next, connect your Twitter account.

When prompted to set up the Twitter message, click the add items button and select Title and URL from the options in the list.

Click Continue, and send a test tweet to make sure everything is set up correctly. Click Continue and turn the Zap on when prompted. That should do the trick. Zapier will now tweet videos that are uploaded to the channel you selected to the Twitter account you connected. The URL doesn’t indicate that it has been shared via a service. It appears as though you shared it via YouTube’s built-in sharing option.

Since you have 5 zaps to use on a free plan, you can set more up to tweet new videos from four other channels of your choice. Zapier is a bit slow to check for new videos so it has this small drawback but at present, this is the best way to automate sharing.

Read How to automatically post YouTube videos to Twitter in 2019 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter