How to disable a Chrome keyboard shortcut

Chrome, like any other browser, has keyboard shortcuts for common features. The Ctrl+D keyboard shortcut lets you bookmark the current page, Ctrl+H opens the History page, Ctrl+J opens Downloads, etc. Not all pages can be accessed via a keyboard shortcut which means Chrome doesn’t monopolize too many of them. That said, you can disable a Chrome keyboard shortcut if you find it’s intrusive or it interferes with a web app that you use. Here’s how.

Disable Chrome keyboard shortcut

To disable a keyboard shortcut in Chrome, you need to install an extension called Shortkeys. The extension can configure new shortcuts in Chrome but more importantly it can disable any shortcut that you want.

Once you’ve installed the extension, click its icon and select Options from the context menu. On the extension’s options window, click the Add button.

In the Keyboard shortcut field, enter the Chrome keyboard shortcut that you want to disable. For example, if you want to disable the Ctrl+D keyboard shortcut which bookmarks the current tab, enter that in this field. In the Behavior field, open the dropdown and scroll through the list of options until you find the Other section. Under this section, there’s an option called ‘Do Nothing’. Select it. With a Chrome keyboard shortcut, selecting this option will come with a warning.

The extension tells you that the keyboard shortcut will be disabled on all pages except Chrome’s internal pages. This includes the new tab page, the history page, the downloads page, etc. For all other pages though, the keyboard shortcut will be disabled.

Click Save and visit any website of your choice. So long as you’re not on a Chrome internal page, the keyboard shortcut will no longer work. You can use this extension to disable as many keyboard shortcuts as you want.

As to why this doesn’t work for internal Chrome pages, it’s not a limitation of the extension. It has to do with Chrome. Chrome doesn’t allow extensions to run on its internal page as a security measure. If extensions were allowed to run on an internal page, and one turned out to be malicious, not only could it hijack your browser, it could also prevent you from resetting the browser. That’s why it’s necessary to prevent extensions from running on internal pages which results in these limitations.

Even if you were to install an extension that can modify the new tab page, the extension will still not work on the new tab page.

Read How to disable a Chrome keyboard shortcut by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to export YouTube subscriptions to OPML

There’s no shortage of channels to subscribe to on YouTube and there’s certainly no limit to how many channels you can subscribe. Users normally subscribe to a few popular channels and over time, build their subscription list up based on channels they like. For some, this might just be a handful of channels but for others, the list can build up to over a hundred channels. It’s not easy amassing them all so it’s a good idea to back them up. You can export YouTube subscriptions to an OPML file which ought to do the trick

Export YouTube subscriptions

You can export YouTube subscriptions from the manage subscriptions page. The only problem is getting to the right manage subscriptions page. Between the many redesigns that YouTube has undergone, you can’t always get to the right one.

Visit YouTube and make sure you’re signed in. In the column on the left, look at the Subscriptions title above the list of subscribed channels. If it’s clickable, you should be taken to the correct subscriptions manager where you can export YouTube subscriptions. If you can’t click on it, just click here. Make sure you’re signed into YouTube.

On the correct page, scroll to the very bottom and click the Export subscriptions button. This will save all your subscriptions to an OPML file.

Import YouTube subscriptions

Now that you’ve exported your YouTube subscriptions, you’re probably wondering if there’s any way to import them on a different YouTube account. The file your subscriptions exported to is an OPML file which is used with RSS readers. YouTube can’t import anything from a file of that format.

If you want to import YouTube subscriptions from the OPML file to a different account, the first thing you need to do is sign into it on YouTube. Then, head over to this app called Import YouTube Subscriptions. Select your OMPL file, click Import, sign into your YouTube account when prompted and the subscriptions will be imported.

It’s odd that YouTube doesn’t make it easier to subscribe to an entire list of channels. Users may want to share what they watch with their friends. If it’s just one or two channels, subscribing to them isn’t a big deal. If we’re talking over 50 channels, it can take much longer. This app makes it easier and there aren’t that many like it.

YouTube normally restricts accounts that subscribe to 80 channels in one go but the app claims that it doesn’t suffer from the restriction since it’s using the YouTube API.

Read How to export YouTube subscriptions to OPML by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to restrict extensions to select websites in Chrome

When you install an extension in Chrome, it shows you a comprehensive list of the permissions it needs to run. You can accept or decline to give it permissions. If you choose to decline giving the extension permissions, it won’t install. That makes it seem like you don’t have much choice however, you can restrict extensions to select websites once you install them. Here’s how.

Restrict extensions’ website access

Open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right corner, next to the URL bar. From the menu, select More tools>Extensions.

The Chrome extensions page lists all the extensions that are installed. Click the Details button under the extension that you want to restrict. On the extension’s details’ page, scroll down to the Permissions section and you will see a dropdown called “Allow this extension to read and change all your data on websites you visit”.

Open it and select the ‘On specific sites’ option. A pop-up will open asking you to enter the URL for the websites you want to run the extension on. You can also select the On Click option.

The On Click option is actually a pretty good way to control website access for an extension. When you select this option, the extension will not be able to access your information on a website until and unless you click its icon. This makes it easy to allow the extension permission to run on a site on the fly though, revoking access isn’t as easy.

Limitations

This setting, or rather the fall out of the setting may result in the extension not working correctly. For example, if you have an extension that needs to access your information on Facebook even if you don’t have it open, and you revoke its access to it, you may not be able to use it on other websites. In such a case, you will have to give the extension free reign.

Regardless of what an extension does, you should always critically examine any and all permissions that an extension needs. An extension may say it needs to access your data on all websites but most say that so they can run on any website without any problems. The extension assumes you will need to run it on all websites and hence the ask for blanket permission.

It’s a shame that users cannot selectively allow an extension permission when they’re being installed but again, it may be more a technical limitation than Google being careless.

If you’re weary of extensions, you might want to prevent users from installing them on a shared system.

Read How to restrict extensions to select websites in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to convert a CSV file to VCF to transfer contacts

Contacts apps, good ones, make it easy to import or export contacts from other apps, services, and devices. They normally do this via CSV or VCF files. VCF files are the more commonly used format when it comes to importing or exporting contacts. CSV is less common. If you have a CSV file with contacts stored in it, and you need to convert it to VCF before it can be imported to a device or service, you can use Google Contacts.

Google Contacts is one of those services that supports both CSV and VCF files for importing and exporting contacts. It can be used as an intermediary to convert a CSV file to VCF.

Prepare CSV file

Make sure the CSV file has the correct headers for Google Contacts to read. if you’re not sure which headers you need, open Google Contacts and create a dummy contact. Use the export option to export it as a CSV file.

Open the CSV file and take note of the headers that have been used. Make sure your own CSV file has the same headers.

CSV to VCF

Visit Google Contacts and click the More button. Select the Import option and from the dialog box that opens, select the CSV file that you want to convert to VCF.

Once the file has been imported, and all the contacts show up in Google Contacts, select them all. You can use the selection box at the top to select them all with one click. Click the More button and select Export. This time, select the VCF format to export the file.

You can use Google Contacts to convert a CSV file to VCF, or vice versa. For VCF files though, it may be a bit tricky making sure they’re properly formatted. If you’ve created a VCF file yourself and it doesn’t import in Google Contacts, consider using the same trick with the CSV file to figure out what the correct format is.

It’s also worth mentioning that while Google Contacts will reliably convert files to CSV or VCF, whichever you choose, without losing any information, the app or service that you import or export it to must support all contact fields that are in the file. If the app doesn’t support a particular field, the information simply being there will not help.

It is possible that information from some fields is displayed in a different one just so that you can access it.

Read How to convert a CSV file to VCF to transfer contacts by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to disable ads on the New Tab page in Firefox

Firefox, the open-source browser that prioritizes user privacy above other things, has been delivering ads on the New Tab page. The ads aren’t crazy intrusive or anything. In fact, they’re just tame banner ads with no animation, sound, or pop-ups. That said, it’s the only popular browser that shows ads and users are not happy. Mozilla has made a statement claiming it was only an experiment but that doesn’t make much difference. The good news is you can disable ads on the New Tab page in Firefox.

Disable ads on New Tab page

You can disable ads on the New Tab page from Firefox’s settings. Open a new tab and click the cog wheel button at the top right of the page.

On the Options page, select Home from the column on the left and scroll down to the Snippets option. Disable the Snippets option and you will no longer see ads on the New Tab page. You don’t need to restart Firefox.

Firefox New Tab page ads

These ‘ads’ have been showing up on the New Tab page in Firefox for a while now. They appeared as helpful snippets suggesting useful Firefox features or additional Mozilla services that users could enable/use to get more out of the browser. The ads didn’t look like ads at the time. They appeared to be an on-boarding experience for new users and a simple way to show existing users what features they were missing out on.

What finally gave them away was when the snippets began to promote services that Mozilla didn’t own or that weren’t integrated with Firefox in any way.

Mozilla, in addition to saying the ads are experimental also said it didn’t receive money in exchange for promoting the services and it’s missing the point. The company could have benefited from paying attention to how users reacted when Microsoft began promoting OneDrive on Windows 10.

Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge do not pass up any opportunity to promote either OneDrive or the browser. In fact, if you visit the Microsoft website from Windows 10 in any browser other than Edge, you will see a banner at the top suggesting you try Edge instead. Microsoft has stuck with promoting only its own apps and services and Windows 10 users never took it well. Mozilla got away with more than Microsoft ever could since it didn’t just develop the browser it was promoting but also the OS it was promoting it on.

Read How to disable ads on the New Tab page in Firefox by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter