(NOTE: do you have productivity hacks that you want featured? Drop me a message on Twitter!)
I wish I knew this browser trick wayyyy sooner 😂. Would’ve saved me so much typing and mouse usage. If you’re a software engineer like me who’s a heavy user of terminal, you’d know this is exactly like “bash aliases” but in the browser.
Chrome’s bookmarks bar is great for being able to easily access frequently visited web pages…the trouble is when you’ve got a ton of these URLs, leading to frequent use of the mouse. It’s annoying to use the mouse when you’ve got a big pile of URLs in a single folder, or many nested folders. Even just 1 folder deep is quite annoying for a URL that you’re visiting quite often.
Enter “Chrome aliases”. The 1 sentence summary is: you alias a 1-letter or 2-letter or 3-letter keyword to a web page, so that when you type that phrase, you visit the web page. So all you have to do is type the phrase, instead of using the mouse to navigate through your Bookmarks Bar.
Example? Sure. Let’s say you have a Chrome alias “g” for “google.com”. This means that when you type “g” in Chrome’s OmniBar, it goes to “google.com”. You can create single-letter aliases for every other common website you visit. See how much typing this could save you?
Way better! Particularly if you’re addicted to checking some stat–it’s a lot easier to quickly type out 3 letters instead of using your mouse.
- By the way, get on my email list for new posts about productivity hacks and software performance analysis
How to use Chrome Aliases
Interested in learning how to use Chrome Aliases? Here’s are the steps (along with screenshots!):
- Copy this URL “chrome://settings/searchEngines” and paste it into Chrome’s OmniBar.
- Pro Tip: you can create a Chrome Alias for this URL too! I have my Chrome alias keyword trigger set to “na”, which is an abbreviation for “new alias”.
- Click “Add” (see red circle and red arrow in screenshot)
- You’re going to see a pop-up called “Add search engine”. Fill out the details. See screenshot for example of creating a “g” alias for “google.com”:
- “Search engine” field is just a name. Just put a descriptive label.
- “Keyword” field is the alias you’re going to use. In the example screenshot, “g” means you only need to type the letter “g” to go to “google.com”.
- “URL with %s in place of query” is the URL that the alias will redirect to
- And that’s it! You’re done! Test out the Chrome Alias by opening a new tab, typing in your alias shortcut, and see whether it goes to your bookmark.
Examples of Chrome Aliases
Looking for inspiration on what to make Chrome Aliases for? Here are a few examples of what I currently have chrome aliases for:
- Google Analytics (now I’m addicted to checking the stats 😅)
- Google Search Console (addicted to checking the stats for this too 🤪)
- A couple slack workspaces since the slack web URL is really not friendly to “typing it out” (example of the URL: https://app.slack.com/client/A9BW83TYA/H01QQ6BC3D3)
- Discord chatroom, since the URL is not friendly to “typing it out” either (example: https://discord.com/channels/894829567111202334/444729402308307997)
- CloudFront invalidation form: I often need to refresh a web page, which means I need to delete that URL from the CDN cache. And the AWS web console takes too many clicks to go to the page.
- A couple Github repositories I visit frequently