How to declutter your Chrome toolbar without removing any extensions


If you use Chrome and have installed a large number of extensions, then you already know that the chrome toolbar can get congested with numerous extension icons that can even crowd out the address bar itself.

If you want an easy way to get your toolbar cleaned up and organized, that can move unused extensions off the toolbar while keeping them available to you at the press of a button, then read on.

This post will describe how to use a free Chrome extension called ‘Context’ to declutter extension icons in the Chrome toolbar AND keep them readily available when you need them.

Declutter Chrome toolbar screenshot2

Step 1: first off, some housekeeping. This is the hard part; familiarize yourself with the extension icons on your toolbar. Look for:

(a) Extensions that you don’t use and do not want. Uninstall these (right click ‘uninstall’ or ‘disable’)
(b) Extensions that you want but you do not use frequently. These are the ones you will move off the toolbar. Make a list of these.
(c) Extensions that you do want that have a visible icon on the Chrome toolbar, but where the icon is not really necessary, or for example where an entry in Chrome’s right click context menu can work just as well as the icon to access the functionality.

If you find any ones as described in (c), simply hide the icons (right click ‘Hide Button’, as shown below).

Hide Extensions in Chrome

Note: there are extensions that are running in Chrome that do not have visible icons; don’t worry about those; and do not include them in the list referred to in (b).

Step 2: install Chrome extension ‘Context’.

Step 3: right click on the ‘Context’ extension icon and select ‘Options’

Context Chrome extension - options

Step 4: you will see a list of installed Chrome extensions. Scroll down to the button entitled ‘New Context’ and click it.

Context create new

Name it ‘Favorites’ (or anything you like), choose an icon, and click ‘create’.

Context name and icon

Step 5: Next, proceed to drag and drop each single one extension entry from the list onto your newly created context.

Remember that for those Chrome extensions that do not actually display an icon in the Chrome toolbar, drag them into the context as well (that is, if you are interested in maintaining the functionality they provide).

Only exclude those extensions that you identified in step#1b above. Click the ‘save’ button when you’re done. Close the browser tab.

Context create save

Step 6: left click the ‘Context’ extension icon, and select your newly created context (i.e. ‘Favorites’).

Context in action

That’s it! You’re done. Your new context should be significantly less cluttered, and you can quickly revert back to ‘All Extensions’ in the same way.


Two final notes:

  1. Note that ‘Context’ actually de-activates any extensions that are not included in the currently selected icons, and reinstalls them when you
  2. FUTURE extension installations: will automatically prompt ‘Context’ to ask when whether you want to add these to your defined contex(s).

Context new extension prompt

[Thanks go to reader Panzer for tipping us off about this Chrome extension].