It’s one of the universal facts that power users are keyboard junkies, just the way the sun rises from the east and sets in the west. And being so, we can end up accomplishing an entire task using our keyboard while our casual user friends are looking for and launching the tools required for the purpose, with their mouse. For this reason, whenever there’s a new command line tool that we come across, it feels almost like discovering a new element! And when the tool in question is as useful and powerful as Backtick, the excitement increases tenfold. This handy little Chrome extension lets you fire up a command console in your browser window by hitting the backtick (`) key, and use it to perform several actions on the current page using built-in scripts and bookmarklets, that would otherwise require you to use multiple extensions or bookmarklets and click them each time. Even better, it is an open-source project, and you can even create your own scripts in addition to using the built-in ones.
Upon installation, Backtick adds its icon next to Chrome’s omnibar, but you don’t need to click that button to use the extension; simply hit the ` key on your keyboard, and its minimal console will pop up, ready to take your command!
If you’re thinking “that’s all fine and dandy, but how do I know what commands are at my disposal”, fret not – just think of what you want to do on the current page, and start typing that. If a script or command matches your query, it’ll start showing up as a suggestion automatically. And if you just want to discover the available commands without having anything in particular on your mind, just enter any alphabetical character, and explore away! For example, entering ‘a’ shows you a list of available options with ‘a’ in their name, with the most relevant results i.e. ones starting with ‘A’ at the very top, followed by ones that have words in them starting with ‘A’, and then all available commands and scripts with ‘a’ in their name at any position. The list is scrollable, and every available command in it has a description that makes its function clear to the user.
If you don’t want to use ` as the hotkey for Backtick, you can customize it from the extension’s Settings. In addition, you can add custom commands from there, and there’s also a link to a handy guide to help you create your own commands.
The extension is available for free as an unlicensed yet fully functional demo version. While it will work just like the full version in every aspect and provide you access to the exact same commands, it will nag you to buy the license every now and then, which is completely worth it for $5 considering the immense potential and usefulness of this tool.
All in all, it’s a super-handy extension that does so much that we aren’t even listing all that can be done with it – if you are a Chrome user, you simply must install it and try it out for yourself! You’ll soon find yourself getting rid of several bookmarklets and extensions you already use – it’s that good!