Macros in Chrome

Add easy macros to Chrome with this free iMacros extension.

Let's see; iMacros for Chrome; wonder what that does? If you guessed that it adds macro capability to Google's free Chrome browser, you're right, but that's not all it does. It records and plays macros in Chrome, so you can use it to fill out forms and automate repetitious tasks. However, its master password feature securely manages online passwords via 256-bit AES encryption. And, like all Chrome extensions, it's free.

After we downloaded and installed iMacros for Chrome, we opened the extension's options page, which we accessed by clicking the toolbar's Wrench icon and selecting Tools/Extensions. This page included selectable options not to encrypt passwords; to encrypt passwords via a master password we could enter and store; and to enter a temporary master password every time we started the program, which is the most cumbersome method, but also the most secure. There's also a link to the online iMacros Password Tool for encrypting and decrypting passwords. The program's Web page recommends visiting to try out some of the prerecorded macros, including some interesting demos we examined. Most of the time, all you need to do is click the iMacros icon on Chrome's toolbar. This calls up a small dialog with a text entry box, Play and Record buttons, a looping command, counters, and a link to the preferences page. Unlike previous editions, iMacros for Chrome stores macros as "bookmarklets" in the regular Chrome bookmark file instead of as text files. Creating macros visually is easy: We simply clicked the iMacros toolbar icon, clicked Record, entered our keystrokes, and clicked Stop. We named and saved our macro, which appeared in the iMacros folder in the extension's main view. Selecting the macro and clicking Play repeated our recorded steps, while clicking Play Loop repeated them endlessly. Clicking Edit Macro called up a display of the macro's code in the iMacros Editor. The extension's interface also has links to its Web page, Wiki, and user's forum, for additional help.

The iMacros family of products ranges from pro scripting tools to free add-ons like iMacros for Chrome. It's a simple but effective program for automating common Web tasks as well as securely managing online passwords, and we recommend it to all Chrome users.

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