My Favorite Browser Extensions

Written by: Tom Hilton. Posted: July 20, 2020. 


Here is the list of my personal "Favorite Browser Extensions".


I find having the right "Browser Extensions" installed on my browser makes a huge different to how easily I can surf the web, and avoid popups and paywalls, and find what I want to read easily and quickly.


This continues the article "Surf the Web Like a Pro", in which you can read more — including why you want extensions, and what they are, and is part of the series "An Internet Enabled Life".



What Are Browser Extensions Anyway?

Browser extensions are handy apps that either do stuff in the background or when you tell them to.

Extensions are usually active all the time, but some are activated by clicking the correct extension button in the upper righthand corner of the Chrome browser.

Some have options. They can be temporarily toggled using the “Browser settings.” Select “More Tools,” then click on “Extensions” to see all the installed extensions installed so far (if any) and which are turned on or off.

Extension toolbar

Here is a snapshot of  my browser extensions.



The Browser Extensions I Like

All the browser extensions below can be found at this Google page.



Popup BlockerPopupBlockerForChrome is a handy tool you may rarely click unless you want it to NOT block popups. Why would you NOT want to block popups? Unfortunately, some websites may use popups as part of a login routine like multifactor credentials that email you or message your smartphone with a validation code number. You can usually tell when popups need disabling if when you click a command — nothing happens. To disable the blocker, right-click the extension icon shown here, and tell it not to block popups on this site. That should stop it from blocking popups in the future. If not, try reloading the page and try again.



Printfriendly extensionPrintFriendly&pdf is a tool that will let you convert 95% of web pages into PDFs you can download and file. Its strength is that you can capture an entire article, and, it ignores most of the advertising and overhead clutter used to annoy you into subscribing. First, a large popup window opens to enable you to go into the draft pdf and delete any clutter the program missed (often links to other stories). Just hover over the picture or text or hyperlinks, the background will turn yellow showing what will be cut, and then left mouse click, and it disappears. When you finish editing, click the pdf button at the top of the popup window and it will download the file into your default pdf reader. You can then highlight, underline, etc. the pdf version and save it to an archive folder.



Behind the overlayBehindtheOverlay by NicolaeNVM. There are competitors with the same name which I have not checked out. The Nicolae NVM extension is the one I use all day.

One click removes those annoying popups that overlay 80% of the page usually demanding a subscription. It works about 85% of the time.

If not, you get a message from Chrome that no overlay was found. In the latter case, find another hack or pay up. 

Note: if after you click the extension icon the screen gets darker and will not scroll, try clicking the reload icon in the upper LH corner of your browser.




AdBlockerAdBlocker is like PopUpBlocker. It is usually on but can be switched off if necessary. What it does is reduce adverstiting clutter. It does not eliminate it, unforunately. It is not a perfect world. Somes sites deny access until it is disengaged. Try using the BehindTheOverlay extension first to see if it works to let you in anyway. If not, then you need to right click and switch it off.




GrammarlyGrammarly is an extension that works in the background and highlights all your typos and misspellings. It also highlights missing or superfluous commas and periods. It works on any website you have open – including Gmail. You can also get it to work on MS Word. It is free, but there is a premium version for money. You might have to go to the Grammarly website to install Grammarly in MS Word.




smallPDFSmallPDF is a flexible tool that I use mostly to unlock passworded pdf documents I download. Comment tools like highlights will not work on locked pdf’s. When you click on one of the extension options, it opens a new window so that you can go to Windows Explorer and drag the file (make sure it is not open) onto the page and 90% of the time it unlocks the file so you can comment and underline before saving. SmallPDF will also allow you to convert a pdf to MS Word’s docx format, Excel, PowerPoint, and even a .jpg image.



Password CheckupPasswordCheckUp is a safety tool normally running all the time. Whenever you sign-in to a site, if you enter a username and password that is no longer safe due to the site suffering a data breach known to Google, you’ll receive an alert. “Please reset your password.” If you use the same username and password for any other accounts, you should reset there as well.



Clicktoremove elementClicktoRemoveElement is a powerful HTML editor that works like a jungle machete so you can hack away all the clutter that is interfering with your reading progress. Some sites put headers and footers that descend or arise every time you scroll or just fill half the screen mainly to annoy you so you pay to subscribe. It is rather intuitive to use. As your cursor crosses an element, it is highlighted in red – left mouse click and it is gone. I use it 20 times a day – sometimes just to reduce the clutter to facilitate reading. If you accidently cut to much – reload the page and start over. Turn off the options box using the Escape key or click the extension icon or even the red X in the box. When done removing debris, turn off the options box by a) using the Escape key, b) click the extension icon, or c) click the red X in the box in the lower right-hand corner.



Kaspersky extensionIf you subscribe to Kaspersky Internet Protection, you can activate this extension from within your default browser.

Go to their website to learn how. It is always turned on. The button is just to remove it if you need to.




FoxitLike PrintFriendly&PDF, FoxitPDF will try to convert a webpage into a PDF document.

It is strictly an alternative to PrintFriendly if it is having trouble, as some sites are just not PrintFriendly-friendly.




HoneyHoney is an extension that when you are on shopping pages like Amazon, or Google shopping, it will tell you if another site has a cheaper price.

Often Amazon has more than one listing. It only activates on shopping pages.





ByPass PaywallsBypassPaywalls is the ultimate hacker tool that allows you to break into lots of paywalled sites like the Wall Street Journal or New York Times which will normally show you only a few sentences free but to read the rest of the article, send them $90/year. If you are like me, I might read 30 WSJ articles a year – that is 2 bucks a read, and half of those articles might be useless.

Installation is a bit trickier than other extensions because during installation a popup will request that you switch to “Developer Mode” — the slider switch in the upper righthand corner of the extensions page. Once installed you can switch the mode off again.

This extension fools the site into thinking you are a paying customer. It also claims to repel cookies used to keep track of free introductory reads. Go to their website to see all the sites they claim to crack.

What happens if a pay site won’t let you in for a free read because you have reached your limit? Re-read the segment on how to delete cookies in "Surf the Web Like a Pro" (click on the green button below).



PopUpOffPopUpOFF  is a handy behind-the-scenes adjunct to PopUpBlocker for Chrome.  It defeats some overlays automatically and defeats code inserted by some sites that are meant to undermine extension hacks.  




Pin/UnPin Extension Icons

Chrome extensionsGenerally, you Left-Click an extension icon to switch it on/off or Right-Click an icon to get at options (if there are any).  But what if you do not see an icon for the extension you want?

Extensions like PopUpBlocker and PopUpOFF might need to be switched off temporarily or permanently for select pages like banking sites.  You definitely want those icons displayed.   

To Pin or UnPin extension icons, put your cursor in the right-hand corner over the extensions icon that looks like a black puzzle piece and Left-Click your mouse to display a list of all installed extensions.  Click the stickpin icon for each extension you want displayed at the top of the browser.   Note the 3 vertical dots for each extension.  Click on any of them to access the same controls you access via Settings/MoreTools/Extensions.  When done, just click the extension icon again and the list will disappear.   


RefreshHINT: If you successfully remove the overlay but the window will not scroll, click the page refresh icon on your browser to reload it. If BypassPayWall works but the window will not scroll or the page is darkened, also try clicking the page refresh icon on your browser to reload it. That works 90% of the time to open the page for reading.





Return to "Surf the Web Like a Pro"



View the Series


An Internet Enabled Life

Having used technology all my working life, and now being retired, I notice that many of my peers are missing out on some of the benefits that come with appropriate use of the latest technology.

In this first of a series of articles, I start by just describing my Internet-enabled life. In other parts of the series, we offer essays describing a myriad of ways the Internet can enrich your day. I want to get you “hooked” to the Internet.



Reader Comments: "My Favorite Browser Extensions"


from faengelm (member) at July 23, 2020

very good info... thanks


from Susan Freyberg (unverified) at July 25, 2020

I am very lo tech so I have to keep rereading to really understand. Thanks so much for the info -it is a wonderful gift!


from Tom Hilton (unverified) at July 26, 2020

You're welcome. Hang in there. It will be worth it once you get it all set up. Warning, you will be far more current on world affairs than your friends.


from E Benson (unverified) at November 30, 2020

An awesome collection of priceless information.

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