The one feature that Mac OS has that I’ve always been jealous of is ‘lookup’. This feature allows the user to just click on a tap on a word for the meaning of the word to appear right above it. Since so much of our web content is consumed as reading, a quick dictionary can be a very powerful productivity tool. Recently, I discovered an app that can bring that same functionality to Chromebooks.
Google Dictionary (made by Google) is a Chrome extension that allows you to just double click a word on any webpage, and a popup will appear on top of that word giving you its meaning. This is how it looks
I have been using this extension for months now, and I think it is the most useful Chrome extension I have ever encountered. If you want this instant lookup feature, here are the steps you must follow –
- Download Google Dictionary from the Chrome Web Store. Go to the Chrome Web Store page of Google Dictionary, and click the ‘Add to Chrome’ button on the top right corner.
- Once added, open a new window and your extension should be working. Just double click on any word that you want to know the meaning of, and the definition should appear right above it.
(Note that the extension will not work on apps that were open before the extension was installed.)
Other Features of Google Dictionary
While the hallmark feature of the Google Dictionary extension is the instant word lookup, it can also serve as a good, easily accessible dictionary on Chrome. It sits quietly on the top right corner of the Chrome Window (the extensions area), and when you click on it, a text box pops up where you can enter any word and find its meaning.
Setting a Keyboard Shortcut
If you don’t want to go to the extension icon each time to access the dictionary, you can also set a keyboard shortcut to make it pop-up. Here’s how to go about doing that.
- Go over to chrome://extensions
- In the webpage, click on the three-line menu option on the top left corner of the screen, and you will see a sidebar with an option called ‘keyboard shortcuts’. Click on that.
- On the window that comes up, you just have to find Google Dictionary in the list, and type the keyboard shortcut you want to link it to. In my case, this is Ctrl + H.
That’s it. Now, whenever you type this shortcut inside Chrome, Google Dictionary will instantly popup on the top right corner of the screen, and you can just type in a word to get its meaning. This eliminates the use of the cursor, and makes it much faster and more handy to lookup words on Chrome.
One limitation of the Google Dictionary extension is that it doesn’t spell check words for you, so you will have to get the spelling of the word just right to get its meaning. Hopefully, Google will add the spell check functionality soon.