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Extensions allow you to add functionality to Chrome without diving deeply into native code. You can create new extensions for Chrome with those core technologies that you're already familiar with from web development: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you've ever built a web page, you should feel right at home with extensions pretty quickly; 

The basics

An extension is a zipped bundle of files—HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and anything else you need—that adds functionality to the Google Chrome browser. Extensions are essentially web pages, and they can use all the APIs that the browser provides to web pages, from XMLHttpRequest to JSON to HTML5.


Extensions can interact with web pages or servers using content scripts or cross-origin XMLHttpRequests. Extensions can also interact programmatically with browser features such as bookmarks and tabs.

Extension UIs

Many extensions—but not Chrome Apps—add UI to Google Chrome in the form of browser actions or page actions. Each extension can have at most one browser action or page action.

  • Choose a browser action when the extension is relevant to most pages.
  • Choose a page action when the extension's icon should appear or disappear, depending on the page.


Each extension has the following files:

  • A manifest file
  • One or more HTML files (unless the extension is a theme)
  • Optional: One or more JavaScript files
  • Optional: Any other files your extension needs—for example, image files

While you're working on your extension, you put all these files into a single folder. When you distribute your extension, the contents of the folder are packaged into a special ZIP file that has a .crx suffix. If you upload your extension using the Chrome Developer Dashboard, the.crx file is created for you. For details on distributing extensions, see Hosting.


Many extensions have a background page, an invisible page that holds the main logic of the extension. An extension can also contain other pages that present the extension's UI. If an extension needs to interact with web pages that the user loads (as opposed to pages that are included in the extension), then the extension must use a content script.




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