How to record audio from a tab in Chrome

We’ve covered how you can record audio from an app on Windows 10, and on macOS. The process on both platforms is fairly simple and in both cases, you have to use a desktop app to reroute the audio. If you’re watching something in your browser, specifically in Chrome, and a desktop solution isn’t something you can set up, there are ways to record audio from within Chrome itself. It’s not a feature of the browser itself. You will need to install a free extension called Chrome Audio Capture.

The extension is simple to use and you won’t have to worry about drivers, audio input/output devices, and re-routing audio streams. It can save the audio in MP3 and WAV format.

Record audio from a tab

Install Chrome Audio Capture from the Chrome Web store. Open the tab you want to record audio from. The extension adds a record button next to the URL bar. Click it and from the pop-up that opens, select ‘Start Capture’. The extension supports keyboard shortcuts for starting and stopping the recording.

It’s a good idea to start recording before the audio actually starts to play since there may be a slight delay to the recording actually beginning and you might lose a bit of the audio you want to record.

Once the recording is complete, use the keyboard shortcut to end it, or click the icon and select the ‘Save capture’ button. Once you end the recording, a new tab will open where the extension will encode the audio. Wait for encoding to complete and then click the Save button to save the file wherever you want.

By default Chrome Audio Capture saves files as MP3 files. If you prefer to save them in the WAV format, visit the extension’s options and change the output format. You can also change the quality that the audio is captured in. You can’t choose the bit-rate but you can choose high, medium, and low quality. This setting isn’t available for the WAV format as it is generally a lossless format.

Chrome Audio Capture does not rely on sound to actually play from your speakers to capture it. It gives you the option to mute the tab that is being recorded. By default, the extension adds a 20-minute limit to the recording. This is to prevent the extension from recording needlessly i.e. if you forget to end the recording when audio has stopped playing. You can remove this limit but the extension doesn’t advise that you do.

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How to hide the Bookmarks bar from the New Tab page in Chrome on Windows 10

You can show/hide the Bookmarks bar in Chrome with the Ctrl+Shift+B keyboard shortcut. Regardless if you show/hide it, it will always appear on the New Tab page. Out of the box, you cannot hide the Bookmarks bar from the New Tab page but on Windows 10, a registry edit will allow you to completely hide it. Once hidden by this method, you won’t be able to show it with the Ctrl+Shift+B keyboard shortcut. You can still access bookmarks in Chrome from the more options menu, and from the bookmarks manager.

Hide bookmarks bar from New Tab page

Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box. In the run box, enter the following and tap the Enter key.

regedit

The registry editor will open. Navigate to the following key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies

We have to create two keys here though it is possible they may already exist on your system. In that case, you only need to create the DWORD value. Right-click the Policies key and select New>Key from the context menu. Name this key Google. Next, right-click the newly created Google key and select New>Key from the context menu. Name this key Chrome.

Finally, right-click the Chrome key and select New>DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it BookmarkBarEnabled. By default, its value should be set to 0. Confirm that it is indeed set to 0 and then close and re-open Chrome.

The Bookmarks bar will be hidden from the New Tab page. This change will be applied to all Chrome profiles that you’ve set up, and to new ones that you create. The change is a purely aesthetic one. The browser’s bookmarking feature is still fully functional so you can tap the Ctrl+D keyboard shortcut, or click the star icon in the URL bar to bookmark a page.

As for accessing bookmarks, we mentioned that there are two ways to do this without using the Bookmarks bar. The first is by clicking the three dots button at the top right and going to Bookmarks in the menu. The sub-menu that opens will list every single page that you’ve bookmarked. The second method is by going to the Bookmarks Manager. You can do this by tapping the Ctrl+Shift+O keyboard shortcut, or by entering the following in the URL bar in Chrome.

chrome://bookmarks/

If the above two methods aren’t as convenient as you’d like them to be, consider using the Bookmarks menu Chrome extension. It adds a button next to the URL bar which, when clicked, reveals all your bookmarked pages. It offers an easier, and cleaner way to access bookmarks without going through the Bookmarks bar.

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How to use the Chrome screenshot tool to capture webpages

There is no shortage of Chrome extensions that can take screenshots in the browser. The niche is so crowded that they tend to come with image editors and support for cloud services that you can upload the screenshots to. Unless you need an image editor or a quick way to upload a screenshot to a cloud service, you might want to check out the Chrome screenshot tool.

Chrome screenshot tool

Open the webpage that you want to screenshot. Click the hamburger icon at the top right and select More tools>Developer Tools. Alternatively, you can tap the Ctrl+Shift+I or the F12 key. The developer console will open. Bear in mind that the console may open on the side or bottom of the page, or it may open in a separate window. It depends on what side you’ve chosen to dock it to. If you’ve never changed the setting, it should appear at the bottom.

The developer console has a more options button; the one with three dots. Click it and from the menu, select the ‘Run Command’ option. You can alternatively tap the Ctrl+Shift+P keyboard shortcut.

With the command console open, type Screenshot and you will get a list of the types of screenshots you can take. Use the up/down arrow keys to select the type of screenshot you want to take, and tap Enter.

The tool takes excellent quality screenshots, even for a scrolling/full-page screenshot. It is saved as a PNG file and the save location depends on your setting for saving downloaded files. The file will be named after the URL of the website it is a screenshot of.

The tool works really well but it has an obvious shortcoming; it isn’t the most convenient to use. Screenshot extensions give you a single button to click for capturing a screenshot. If you’re not interested in taking a scrolling/full-page screenshot, you can make do with a desktop screenshot tool as well but the stock tool in Chrome is best for full-page screenshots. If you have a webpage that’s particularly difficult to take a full-screen screenshot of, even with the best extensions available in the Chrome Web Store, the console tool might be your best chance.

While the tool isn’t the most convenient to access, you can rely on keyboard shortcuts to get to the console for the most part. The developer console can be opened with the F12 key and the command console can be opened with the Ctrl+Shift+P shortcut. The command bar is automatically in focus so you can type ‘screenshot’ in, select the type you want to take, and you’re on your way.

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How to quit Chrome with Command+Q on macOS

On macOS, you can use the Command+Q keyboard shortcut to quit an app. This is a universal keyboard shortcut that works in all apps but it seems Chrome has an exception. When you tap Command+Q when Chrome is in the foreground or the active app, you see a prompt telling you to hold Command+Q to quit it. If you hold the keys down for a second or two, Chrome will indeed quit but a simple tap won’t do the trick. Here’s how you can quit Chrome with Command+Q.

Quit Chrome on macOS

As stated before, you can hold down the Command+Q shortcut for a few seconds to quit the browser. You don’t have to learn a new keyboard shortcut to get the job done but it does mean you have to build a new habit, and this habit is only for a particular app. It makes for a strong case to force Chrome to act like other apps. To that end, open Chrome and go to Chrome on the menu bar and uncheck the ‘Warn before quitting’ option in the menu. That is all you need to do. When you next tap the Command+Q keyboard shortcut, it will be enough to quit the app. You won’t see the prompt telling you to hold down the combination of keys, and you won’t need to hold them down either.

Getting Chrome to immediately respond to the Command+Q shortcut means you lose the ability to get a warning when you close the browser. This may be counter-productive if you accidentally end up quitting/closing it. You can always use the Command+Shift+T keyboard shortcut to reopen all previous tabs.

One other alternative you can use is to leave the ‘Warn before quitting’ option enabled but use the Command+Q+Q keyboard shortcut to quit the browser. You basically have to hold down the Command key and tap the Q key twice. This will skip over the prompt you get and quit the browser right away. It has the same problem that holding down the Command+Q option does; learning new, app-specific behavior.

Apple generally doesn’t allow this sort of thing on its platform. For all the criticism it gets for being rigid and closed off, uniform app behavior is one advantage that comes of it. Chrome only gets away with this because the browser is not distributed through the Mac App Store. Still, as far as changing default behavior goes, this is a bit much.

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How to highlight ads on the Google search results page in Chrome

Google has been the most popular, and widely used search engine for over a decade now. If you’ve used it for as long, or longer, you might recall some of the design changes that its search results page has gone through. One notable change that was made was increasing the number of ads, and making them look more ‘natural’ i.e., like an actual search result. If you often have trouble differentiating between a search result and an ad, you can install Google Search Ads Highlighter in Chrome. It will add a yellow highlight to ads making them more obvious.

Highlight ads on Google search results page

Download Google Search Ads Highlighter from the Chrome web store. Use Google like you normally do and bear in mind that not all search results will yield ads on the page.

When there is an ad though, it will have a light yellow highlight and it will be faded out so that actual search results are easier to identify. You can change both the highlight color and how faded out the ads are by clicking the extension’s icon next to the URL bar. The color you pick can be anything so if you think the default yellow is too light, you’re free to go with something much darker.

This extension only works on the Google search results page, it will not work on other websites that run Google ads, this goes for both text-based ads and image/banner ads.

Google Search Ads Highlighter is not an ad-blocking tool. Ads may not be welcome but sometimes, the ones featured on the search results are actually more useful than the results themselves. This may not be true for generic searches but if you’re looking for specific information about a product or business, and they’ve been pro-active enough to target ads for their IPs, you will most likely find the ads in the results will get you the information you need. This may be why the extension doesn’t just hide them; there’s a chance they might be useful.

To be fair, the ads do feature a small ‘ad’ box next to their URL to indicate that you’re looking at an ad and this tag is a different color from the title and snippet but, it is easy to miss because of its size and because it is the same color as the URL that’s given. You can spot ads without this extension but it takes most of the effort out of the job.

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