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2,854 Tutorials

How to make your Chrome extension icons visible again

A recent update changed the way Chrome displays certain icons. Here's how to restore them to view.

What is it with software developers making user-interface (UI) changes that serve no purpose other than to confuse users?

iTunes is perhaps the worst offender in this department--I think the current version (11) is perhaps the most unusable piece of software to date--but Google is giving it a run for the money with Chrome.

First came an inexplicable removal of the browser's minimize, maximize, and close buttons, then unwanted changes to the spacing in Chrome's bookmark lists.

Now, seemingly out of the blue, I've lost all my frequently used extension icons, which typically appear to the right of the address bar. Where I used to see icons for things like Evernote, Print Friendly, and OneTab, now there's just a little double-arrow I have to click in order to see a drop-down list of those extensions.

What the heck, Google? If you're going to make a change like that, at least give me a heads-up. Any time you roll out a Chrome update, force open a tab listing any and all UI tweaks--and give me the option of undoing them if I like the old way better. (Gmail updates are handled this way; why not here?)

Fortunately, there's a way to make those extension icons omnipresent again, though it's definitely not obvious.

All you do is mouse over the little empty space between the address bar and that double-arrow, until you see your cursor change to a left-right arrow.

Now drag this "handle" to the left. As you do so, you'll see the icons revealed (make that re-revealed). Problem solved.

I really like Chrome, but I'm getting sick of constant UI changes I didn't ask for and don't want. Microsoft and Mozilla are guilty of this as well, mind you, but I expect better from Google.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter (which is included in the Power Tips newsletter) e-mailed to you each week.

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