Chrome extensions managers to turn them on/off and create groups

Chrome provides features to enable or disable extensions, but they are not good for large collections. These extension managers are easier. Create groups of extensions for browsing sessions.

The huge number of extensions for Chrome is probably the main reason for the browser’s popularity and dominance. Chrome had around a 68% share of the browser market in July 2019 (source) and the nearest competitor is Firefox at just 8%. There are tens of thousands of extensions and the variety is extraordinary. Some people have 40, 50 or even 100+ extensions, so how do you manage them?

Extensions require processing power and memory, so it is not a good idea to have them all permanently enabled. Many extensions have specific uses, so if you are browsing for a specific reason, you might have a specific set of extensions enabled. When you browse for another purpose, you may need a different set.

For this reason, you probably need to enable or disable extensions and while Chrome provides features for doing this, the process is a bit cumbersome and slow when there are multiple extensions.

Enable or disable Chrome extensions

  1. Open the Chrome menu by clicking the hamburger icon
  2. Mouse over More tools to open the menu
  3. Click Extensions
  4. Click the switch on extension tiles to toggle them on or off
View Chrome extensions and enable, disable or delete them

Delete Chrome extensions

  1. Open the Chrome menu by clicking the hamburger icon
  2. Mouse over More tools to open the menu
  3. Click Extensions
  4. Click the Remove button on an extension tile to delete it

It is not quick to enable or disable extensions, it is awkward when there are a lot of extensions, and you cannot create groups of extensions for different types of browsing like work, personal, social shares, increased security and so on. The extension managers here make these tasks much easier.

Chrome Extension Manager

enable or disable extensions in Chrome Extension Manager

Chrome Extension Manager is a simple tool that does an adequate job of managing Chrome extensions. Click the button in the toolbar and a new tab opens that is split down the middle. Extensions are on the right and information about the currently selected extension.

The scrollbar is so thin I did not see it at first and assumed a mouse with a wheel is essential for scrolling through all the extensions. It is there, but it is so thin it is easily missed and is awkward to use.

In contrast, the two buttons on the right of each extension are obvious and very easy to use. One enables or disables the extension and the other deletes it. This extension manager takes up the whole window and requires scrolling for even just a few extensions, so it is easy to use, but irritated a little.

One Click Extensions Manager

One Click Extensions Manager for Chrome browser showing an extensions list

One Click Extensions Manager displays a compact list of Chrome extensions when the toolbar button is clicked. Enabled extensions are shown in bold and gray is used for disabled ones. Clicking an extension name enables or disables it. Next to some extensions is a gear icon and this displays the details or settings page.

There are links to enable or disable all extensions with one click, and the More link opens Chrome’s extensions page. A search box at the top enables you to search for extensions, but do people have so many they need a search function to find one? If the list is too long to fit on the screen you probably have too many!

This extension manager is quick and easy to use.

Extension Manager

Extension Manager for Chrome showing icons for all the extensions installed

Extension Manager by Chevionlu is one of the best there is and it has more features than the other tools here. Click the icon in the toolbar and extension icons are displayed. Clicking an icon enables or disables it. Active extensions are shown in colour in the top half and inactive ones are grey at the bottom.

The number of icon columns and the icon size can be set in the settings and it is a good way to handle lots of extensions. Hover the mouse over an extension icon and a small menu appears with buttons to open the details page, show the page in the store, lock it or uninstall it.

There is even more and in the extension settings page is an option to create one or more groups of extensions and you could have one for work, one for personal, one for website development and so on.

In each group, the extensions to be active and inactive are selected, so when you are browsing, the Extension Manager button can be clicked and a different group selected. This is great if you use the web in different ways. You could have dozens of extensions and switch groups with a couple of mouse clicks.

This is a must-have extension manager that genuinely adds new and useful features.

Extension Manager

Extension Manager for Chrome showing a list of enabled and disabled extensions

Extension Manager by Michael Bazos, not to be confused with the previous extension by Chevionlu, is relatively unknown and has hardly any users or ratings in the store. It is one of the simplest extension managers and it simply shows a list of extensions with on and off switches. Those that are on are at the top and below are ones that are off.

It could not be simpler and it looks good, but is light on features compared to the other extension with the same name. It may be all you need though.

Extension Police

Extension Police for Chrome shows which extensions are risky and which are safe

Extension Police is more than an extension manager and it aims to warn about potential problems and security vulnerabilities in the extensions installed in Chrome. Click the icon in the toolbar and a list of extensions is displayed, organised into active and inactive sections as a few others do. Switches enable extensions to be enabled or disabled.

In addition to this is a coloured blob, which ranges from green (safe) to red (risky) to indicate the security rating of the extension. Red is not the worst and there is also a Danger label and icon for the worst extensions.

Click an extension and an explanation of the good, bad or Danger rating is shown. This includes a description, a list of the extension’s permissions, and what it is able to access.

In some ways it is very useful, but in others it is not and you need to be fairly knowledgeable to understand it. For example, Grammarly, the extension that corrects spelling and grammar, which has 10 million users, is given a ‘High potential risk’ rating and a red blob by Extension Police. The description lists all the permissions, which gives it access to pretty much everything. However, it would not work if it didn’t have access to web page content.

Another extension was labelled with Danger and a warning symbol. It explained that the reason for this was that it had been removed from the Chrome extensions store. However, it was still there, so it is wrong. LastPass password manager, which has 9.5 million users, is shown as a ‘High potential risk’.

This does not inspire confidence in Extension Police ratings. In one way it is right because LastPass has access to everything, including your logins and passwords, but that is the whole point of LastPass.

If you are a knowledgeable user and are aware of security risks and how extensions work, this is a useful extension. Its security and safety ratings for extensions are not always accurate, but if you know what you are doing, you can investigate. It is not for novices.

Extensions Manager (aka switcher)

Extensions Manager in Chrome browser showing a list of extensions

Extensions Manager, not to be confused with the two Extension Managers, crams a lot into a drop-down panel. Across the top is a menu bar with Extensions, Applications, Themes, Enabled, Disabled, Recent and more. These are like filters and show just certain items. However, there is also a Filter box, which is useful if you are the sort of person that has 50+ extensions.

Instead of just displaying the extension name, the description is shown too. This is useful when extensions have similar names because it makes it easier to tell which extension is which, but it also makes the panel wide and the text small to fit everything in. The width can be changed in the settings though.

A wrench icon is used to access an extension’s settings page and a checkbox allows extensions to be enabled or disabled. The trash can is used to delete extensions.

This is another simple extensions manager, but it is a useful tool for anyone with a lot of extensions.

The verdict

Which is the best extension manager for Chrome? My favourite is Extension Manager by Chevionlu, which enables groups of extensions to be created and it enables you to switch groups very easily. Most extension managers do not have this feature and once you have used it, you will not want to go back to a simple extensions list.