The 8 Best Tools for Browser Personalization

Studies show that decorating your workspace can positively impact your mood and even make you around 25% more productive. Is the same true for your browser?

The 8 Best Tools for Browser Personalization
Photo by Moses Janga / Unsplash

Studies show that decorating your workspace can positively impact your mood and even make you around 25% more productive. Much like a cherished family photo and the beloved plants on your desk, we’d argue that personalizing your web browser can help you reap similar rewards.

From extensions that provide you with daily motivation to custom tab organizers, here are eight of the top tools for personalizing your web browser.

PixieBrix

The most personalized browser experience will always be the one you build yourself. With PixieBrix, you’re able to personalize your browser by creating your own custom browser extensions.

PixieBrix has a marketplace of building blocks — or “bricks” — that you can combine to create custom integrations and workflows right in your browser. These can interact with any website you visit so you’re able to truly create a custom experience. There are a number of different types of bricks, meaning that your customization options are essentially endless. These include:

  • Reader bricks to read and extract data from a webpage’s HTML
  • Effect bricks like opening a tab or entering text into a search bar
  • Transform bricks such as for parsing text
  • Renderer bricks that show info on any webpage as interactive components or static HTML

For example, you can add new UX elements like buttons, menu items, and panels, to any webpage you’re visiting — or just add a confetti effect for fun. If you find yourself visiting Google’s translate tool multiple times per day, you could use PixieBrix to customize your browser with a built-in translation extension. If you can think of a way to personalize and improve your browser experience, chances are you can build a solution with PixieBrix.

Momentum

If you get overwhelmed or distracted with the bookmarks that appear when you first open Chrome every day, Momentum offers a beautiful and customizable solution.

This extension greets you with a calming image so you can take a breath before diving straight into your work. In addition to a stunning photograph, you’ll see a personalized welcome message with an inspiring quote, and the current time and weather for your location.

To help with your productivity, Momentum will also display a to-do list, links and bookmarks, and an area for you to write down your main daily focus. In this way, it feels as if you’re interacting with and using a browser that was made just for you.

Toby for Chrome

Your approach to browser tabs is a very personal thing. Maybe you love to collect as many as possible and can’t imagine closing a single tab. Or maybe you take a more minimalist approach with only a couple open at a time. Either way, the Toby for Chrome extension can help you manage your tabs in a way that makes the most sense for how you work.

With Toby, you’re able to categorize and organize your tabs in custom collections and visual lists. Just like you have a personalized system for organizing your home, Toby enables you to organize your tabs according to a custom system. The best part? The Toby extension lets you search and locate your tabs by typing just a few characters in the search bar whenever needed.

By personalizing the way you organize your tabs, Toby promises to save you time spent switching between any number of tabs. According to their description page, a survey of Toby customers found that the extension saves each user up to 8 hours per week — or the equivalent of around 48 days per year.

Super Dark Mode

If you struggle with distractions while doing your work, the Dark Mode browser extension might be able to help.

With Super Dark Mode, you can apply dark mode to any website you visit. You can customize exact colors, but essentially this feature darkens the backgrounds and lightens the text so that contrast is increased and visual clutter is decreased.

Many user reviews share that using this Chrome extension has helped with their eye strain, fatigue, and screen-related headaches, which makes it a great option for those with similar concerns. Additionally, applying it to the sites you visit on your web browser is said to help lower power usage and increase focus.

Bookmark Sidebar

Bookmark Sidebar is a popular, thoughtfully-designed Chrome extension that allows you to customize your browsing experience thanks to a toggle-able sidebar of your favorite sites.  

With Bookmark Sidebar, you are able to create and manage your bookmarks from a customizable menu that is accessible no matter what website you’re visiting. You can:

  • click to reveal or hide the sidebar
  • drag and drop to organize or rearrange your bookmarks
  • automatically check for broken or updated bookmark URLs
  • and customize your experience with a number of different and ever-expanding settings and options

After you install Bookmark Sidebar, the extension takes you through a simple setup that allows for even more customization. You’re able to choose the side of the screen you’d like your sidebar to be, whether you want a light, dark, or automatically-shifting color scheme, and how you’d like to open your sidebar (ie. left mouse click, hover, etc.). Once you’re set up you can change the appearance with color palettes, themes, typefaces, the size of your sidebar, and much, much more. If you want access to even more customizable features, the developer offers a pay-what-you-think-it's-worth Premium version of the extension.

BlockSite

Our personal online experiences are impacted by what we don’t see as much as what we do see. For example, if you’re trying to write a financial report yet somehow keep seeing the Twitter homepage, chances are your productivity isn’t as high as it could be.

With the BlockSite browser extension, you’re able to block access to specific websites. This could be for productivity purposes or privacy reasons.

If your main concern is productivity, BlockSite offers a number of key features exclusively for this purpose. You can schedule site blocks (for example, set it so that you can’t access YouTube between 9am and 5pm on Mondays), activate a Stay Focused extension that blocks distracting sites, or use Focus Mode with their built-in Pomodoro timer. BlockSite also syncs with your mobile device so you can manage your site usage across multiple access points.

Plus, BlockSite features a customizable “Blocked” page where you can choose your own image and copy that will appear whenever you or anyone else on your device attempts to access a blocked site.

ReScroller

Sometimes even the smallest changes can make an impact on your day-to-day life. For example, personalizing your Chrome browsing experience with the ReScroller extension.

The ReScroller extension lets you customize the look and feel of your scrollbar while browsing websites by adding shadows and borders in your choice of colors, changing your background colors and images, changing the size of your scrollbar, or even removing the scroll buttons altogether. If you’d like to personalize the style of your scrollbar even more, you can write custom CSS to manually create your ideal user experience.

If you’re ever on a site where you’d like to revert to the default scroll bar, you can simply switch ReScroller off or add the site to your block list (so you don’t have to turn it off every time you visit a certain page).

CrxMouse Chrome Gestures

While many browser personalization tools help you customize the look of your web experience, CrxMouse Chrome Gestures (CMCG) impacts the functionality of your time online.

With CrxMouse Chrome Gestures, you’re able to add mouse navigation shortcuts to help boost efficiency and productivity. For example, if you’re on a site and want to open a link, you can click and drag your mouse left to open the link in a new tab automatically. Or, you can scroll down a page by clicking and drawing your cursor down. These click and drag gestures also let you return to the previous page (giving your ‘Back’ button a break), or save an image.

In addition to their built-in gestures, you’re able to create custom mouse actions to fit the way you work. For example, if you often visit the Asana website, you could create a mouse movement that will take you there instantly.

Keeping things personal

Today’s browser personalization tools offer a number of innovative features to help with anything from reducing eye-strain to boosting productivity. With the average internet user spending about seven hours online every single day, chances are you’re using your web browser for a good chunk of that time. By making even the smallest improvements with the personalization tools above, you can make a big difference in your overall web browsing experience.