extensions make life online better.

That little line of icons above? Some of my current Chrome extensions — integrated little extra features and functionalities that make online life better. (Other browsers offer extensions, too, but I’m focusing on Chrome as that’s my browser of choice.)

Following is a list of a few favorites (in no particular order) I shared recently at the Tennessee Bar Association’s Tech unConference. With one addition — OneTab, which I just discovered.

OneTab: click its icon and your current open tabs are converted to a list that you can click on individually to reopen, or reopen all at any time. Saves a lot of memory to collapse tabs if you’re a tab hoarder like me. 🙂

Evernote Web Clipper: instantly clip content from any webpage into a designated Evernote notebook, including notes and tags. I click this little elephant icon dozens of times daily, easy.

Feedly: feedly is an RSS aggregator — you can “save” the feeds of all your favorite online information sources (e.g. blogs) and the posts appear instantly in your feedly account, which can be accessed via the extension.

Pocket: Pocket’s extension is another web clipper that saves anything (articles, images, video clips) from the web into your Pocket account for reading later (accessible online and syncs with desktop and smart device apps).

Clearly: by Evernote, Clearly simplifies the look of any webpage to improve readability — a great tool when you land on a webpage full of banner ads and popups, as it eliminates all of these focusing only on the content you want to consume.

AdBlock Plus: blocks ads on most websites.

After the Deadline: adds a spell, style and grammar checker to any webpage — crucial if you draft emails, social media posts, or other content online.

Boomerang for Gmail: use this extension to schedule messages to be sent or returned to at a later date.

Disconnect: blocks otherwise invisible websites that track your search and browsing history – improves site load time, stops tracking of 1,000s of sites, and encrypts data you share with major sites.

Enlocked: encrypts outgoing email messages (with Gmail and Google Apps).

Google Voice: make calls, send SMS and more via your browser.

iDoc: an internet in-page editor, allowing you to edit any webpage and save it.

If you’re not using extensions already, hopefully something on this list will inspire you to investigate. You can find (lots) more in the Google Chrome Store. Or look for these in the Firefox or Safari extension stores if you’re not a Chrome user.

Have a favorite extension that I didn’t mention? I’m an extension hoarder, too. So I’d love to know about it. Comments always welcome.

please don’t do this.


Don’t draft a letter, print it, sign it, scan it, then email it. Please. Don’t do this.

And I know some of you are still doing this. Because you’re telling me that you’re still doing this.

Here’s what you do, instead:

If you’re a Mac, then create the document in Pages or Word or whatever app you use. You have [at least] three choices at this point to insert your handwritten signature directly into the document before sending electronically.

  1. Use the nifty app Autograph for Mac (or for iPhone/iPad), which inserts your signature into most any document in Word, Pages, etc. (but not Preview — see below). Just click the cursor where you want the sig to go and autograph it with your touch pad. (Yes, this does require a touch pad, which I can’t imagine not using with my iMac even if Autograph didn’t exist.)
  2. Or print the document to a PDF open in Preview, then do the first thing described.
  3. Or print the document to a PDF open in Adobe, then do the second thing.

If you’re a PC, you don’t have the luxury of the awesome Autograph app. Which IMHO is reason enough to get a Mac. You do have options, although they’re more cumbersome. Create the document in Word and do one of the following:

  1. Insert a signature by doing this.
  2. Or print the document to a PDF open in Adobe Reader then do this.

The whole point of sending correspondence electronically? TO AVOID PRINTING IT ON PAPER. So please pick one of the above methods and do it. The trees of the world thank you.