As a designer and blogger, there are lots of free tools I use that make my life a lot easier. From creative work tools to online productivity hacks, these Chrome extensions and online resources have helped me get to where I am today! If you’re also an online creative that’s looking for some ways to make your projects a little better and faster, check out these 15 amazing free extensions & tools.
Use If You Are:
The person with a million tabs up at once
Meet OneTab, your new knight in shining armor. This chrome extension can save you up to 95% in memory by converting all of your tabs into a list. When you need to open a tab, you can restore it individually or, if you want, open all of the tabs in the list simultaneously. In addition, it keeps a record of your saved tabs for you even after you exit Chrome. That way, if you need to come back later, everything you need is still there for you! Yes, please!!
Needing to know what specific font was used but have no idea what it is
WhatFont will be your best friend for life. Hover over any text and the extension will bring up the font’s major information, including font name, family, sizing, line height, and font color! It’s a pretty amazing tool that I use all the time when designing. If you’re branding your site, working on a new project, or just curious to what that beautiful font they used is, then this tool is a must-have!
Wanting to grab a specific color from any element on the web
ColorZilla is a masterpiece of a Chrome extension. Hover over any web element and it will tell you the exact HTML color code that you can then use for your own project. The extension also saves your color-sampling history, so you can always return to that specific color when necessary without having to bring up the webpage again. Other cool features include a Webpage Color Analyzer, where you can sample all the colors from a specific webpage (to make a color palette, of sorts), and a CSS Gradient Generator.
The person who wishes you could rip things from the web like a magazine and save them in a digital scrapbook for later
Evernote Web Clipper is like Pinterest but on steroids. You can save practically anything on the web and it will save it to your Evernote notebook of choice. Clip paragraphs, YouTube videos, images, text strings, and more, and then assign tags to them for easy searching later. Use visual callouts to draw attention to a specific element, and then share your clips easily with anyone on the platform! This tool makes research super easy and organized.
Needing to know what keyword you should optimize your blog post for
Keywords Everywhere is a nifty tool that will bring up the keyword analysis of any string of text in a search menu. So, you can type in different keywords to Google and see their search volume, CPC, and competition rates and decide which keyword is best to center your new blog post around! You can also bulk upload keywords to make your search less tedious and favorite the ones you find most promising.
Wanting to make sure your site looks good in all popular screen sizes
As an online creative, ensuring that our stuff looks good at any screen size is critical to engaging as much of our audience as we can. With Window Resizer, you can view your website (or any website, for that matter) in the most popular screen formats. Desktop, laptop, mobile phones, tablets, and more!
A person who likes to save online goodies to return to later
Save to Pocket is a great tool when you want to check something out, but really don’t have time at the moment. Save articles, links, and more, and view them when you’ve got time (even if you don’t have an Internet connection)! It syncs across all devices, and it even provides you with related recommendation and trending topics according to your “pocketed” material.
Tired of finding out weeks later that some of your post’s links don’t work
Check My Links is a time and headache saver, for sure! Just run the extension and it will highlight the working links in green and the non-working links in red. This saves you time from having to click on every single link in your post to make sure they work, or worse…finding out way too late that you had a link listed that wasn’t working!
A person who sucks at writing “right”
Grammarly is a well-known and arguably the best grammar-checker on the web. The extension makes it easy to catch mistakes before they’re pushed out to the world, and they even have an online editor where you can store all your writings to make changes to later.
A person who doesn’t know where all the time in the day went
Be Limitless is a favorite Chrome extension of mine, as I work online and in the social media space every single day. Open a new tab, and you’ll see where your time is being spent every day online. How much time are you spending in email, searching, on social, watching videos, and more? In addition, you’ll receive weekly & monthly productivity reports, and you can set up to-do’s, goals, and access your most frequently visited sites. Plus, the extension comes with beautiful photography to boot.
A person who doesn’t take breaks but really, really should
Guilty as charged – I’m definitely fit this description. Praise God for Break Helper, the Chrome extension that reminds you when you need to take a break! The default settings are 25 min. of work to every 5 min. of break, but you can adjust the settings as you see fit. Combined with the Be Limitless extension above, and you’ll be forced to be productive and healthy!
Needing to find the source of any image on the Internet
TinEye is a tool that I’ve loved for years. It allows you to do a reverse image lookup by upload or by entering the image’s URL. Then, TinEye scours the web for similar images, putting exact matches first. You can sort through these to locate the original source of an image, which can help you correctly credit someone, discover the location of the place in the photo, etc.! It’s a must for bloggers.
Wanting to find popular questions surrounding any topic
Quora is a new tool to me, but one that I’ll certainly be using more! Basically, you can type in any keyword term and then find a list of popular questions surrounding that string. This means that, armed with the knowledge of what people want to know about a particular topic, you can create a stellar blog post that directly relieves users’ pain points. Score!
A person who repeatedly takes longer on projects than necessary
E.gg Timer is a really simple tool, but powerful if you use it consistently. Essentially, it’s just a timer that runs in a new tab and then pops up buzzing when it finishes. It’s an easy way to make sure you stop a task after a certain alotted portion of time.
Needing to optimize your site for search engines
Yoast SEO Plugin is, in my opinion, the easiest way to make sure you’re optimizing your WordPress blog posts for search engines. It allows you to choose a keyword to focus your article around, and then it rates your post’s optimization based on the content you wrote. It takes care of all of the technical stuff for you (hallelujah)! It also will give you a “Readability” rating and what to fix in your post (ex: more transition words, shorter sentences, etc.).