Top 5 Chrome extensions for work-at-home productivity

Tech

Sent home with orders to remain productive during the pandemic, workers struggle to work out the new normal. Pants versus PJs? Socks versus slippers? DIY haircut or an MLB hat? Office versus G Suite?

That last might rather be answered by employers, of course. Now separated from whatever IT oversight had taken place within the workplace, employees may have considerable freedom within the choice of accessories that make remote existence bearable, even easier.

And there’s no business tool which will match a browser when it involves accessorizing. Whether dubbed add-ons or extensions, these small programs can customize the browser in what seems an infinite number of the way .

With Chrome being the most-used browser by a rustic mile — in March, it accounted for nearly 69% of all browser activity — it makes the foremost sense to spotlight its add-ons. Computerworld selected five that ought to make work-at-home time period more productive.

Office


This Microsoft-made add-on saves the steps it takes to open the office.com website and check in to a Microsoft or Office 365 account. Like that Office home page, the extension provides quick access to all or any online apps available through the user’s subscription, from Word and Excel to PowerPoint and Teams.

Remember: These are the web versions of Word, Excel then on, in order that they aren’t up to the snuff of locally-installed applications.

office add on for chrome
MicrosoftClicking on the Office extension’s icon — marked by the arrow — brings up an app launchpad and therefore the most recently-accessed files from OneDrive.
After installing the add-on, click the Office logo icon next to the address bar, and choose the acceptable choice; those with access to a Microsoft or Office 365 account should pick the bottom-most of the pair — “Sign in with a piece or school account” — then enter the credentials if necessary.


From the menu that appears when the icon is clicked, choose one among the apps available for that subscription, or one among the most-recent files accessed earlier from OneDrive. Alternately, clicking “Upload and Open” displays a file selector, from which a locally-stored document are often opened by the acceptable app. (Before that file opens, it’s automatically uploaded to OneDrive, deposited during a folder named “Office extension.”)

Download the Office add-on here.

Use Edge instead of Chrome? Although this add-on works within the Chromium-based Edge, an equivalent functionality has been baked into the browser’s new tab page. After signing into Edge with credentials linked to a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription, the user can select “Office 365” from the menu that appears after clicking on the new tab page’s gear icon.

Zoom Scheduler


If your company or organization now leans hard on Zoom to carry video meetings and relies on Google productivity tools, including Calendar, you’ll be wanting to feature this extension to Chrome.

From the new Zoom-ish icon beside the address bar, you’ll launch a Zoom session on the fly, with or without video switched on to start out , or schedule a later Zoom meeting on Google Calendar. For both immediate and future Zoom meetings, Calendar shoots an invitation to named participants, giving them a link to click.

Options to line for every meeting range from on-or-off video (separately for host and participants) to recording the meeting, letting participants join before the host arrives and muting all participants upon entry (a smart move for larger meetings). you’ll pick and choose, then make the result the default for all future meetings, too.

zoom scheduler add on for chromeZoom
Zoom Scheduler can start an instantaneous meeting or simplify slating one within the future.


Doling out meeting invitations is quicker from a well-known scheduling app like Calendar than through Zoom’s native UI, which needs work not only within the Zoom application (or the video conferencing software’s web interface) but also in Calendar.

Download Zoom Scheduler here.

Use Outlook instead of Calendar? Zoom also offers ways to integrate with the Outlook calendar, whether within the stand-alone application of Office 365 or the online version, which believe a plug-in or add-in.

A comparison between the 2 is out there here.

Chrome Remote Desktop


Small businesses that sent employees home to figure may have little or no experience providing technical support to remote locations. The firm’s sole IT admin won’t be ready to stroll down a hall to trouble-shoot a balky PC or Mac.

Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop doesn’t do far more than automatically taking the user to the online UI of the search firm’s remote desktop and remote support tools, but that’s enough.

chrome remote desktop add on for chromeGoogle
Chrome Remote Desktop do i thing — opens the online UI for Google’s remote tools for taking charge of another device.
From there, it is a single click to “Remote Support” at the highest , then a “Get Support” or “Give Support” choice. Then, it is a session where the giving support side takes control of the opposite device to — hopefully — find out what is wrong .

These tools are very basic and, thus, easy to use. If you would like more information, steer to the present support document.

Download Chrome Remote Desktop here.

Papier


Didn’t have time to plunder your desk or the corporate supply cabinet for Post-it Notes or index cards before you headed home? Now all out of scratch pad , or saving it for other uses? Ahem. or simply in need of note-taking space in your new Lilliputian workspace?

Papier may be a brilliant use of Chrome’s new tab page, turning it into an area to jot notes — short notes, long memos, whatever — while still within the browser. The results are stored within Chrome itself, so there is no synchronization necessary, which may be a relief as syncing so often goes astray regardless of its form or format.

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papier add on for chromePapier
Papier replaces Chrome’s new tab page with an instantly-available text editor for taking notes while still within the browser.
The add-on offers just a touch of formatting, enough to urge by, but this is often essentially a dumping ground for thoughts expressed in plain text.

Its biggest downside? Because it commandeers the new tab page, those that believe that to, say, launch frequently-accessed sites instead of type URL into the address bar could also be adrift. One can still search and enter website addresses within the bar, of course.

Download Papier here.

Checker Plus for Google Drive


Not surprisingly, businesses that employment with Google’s G Suite instead of Office 365 can choose between a good selection of Chrome extensions.

Computerworld chose Checker Plus for Google Drive due to the centrality of the web storage service to G Suite, to any of the individual applications — Docs, Sheets, Slides and therefore the rest — because the depository of files, shared or not.

Notably, Checker Plus pings its user with notifications when a shared file has been modified. Clicking the add-on icon also puts a pop-up on the screen that shows the linked Google Drive’s contents, which may be searched and sorted. Files are often opened or renamed, and links to a shareable file are often obtained, without having to make a replacement tab and open Drive the standard way.

The same developer has also created Checker Plus for Gmail and Checker Plus for Google Calendar, two additional add-ons that put a slew of tools at hand from inside the browser for those web apps.

Download Checker Plus for Google Drive here.

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