Our Top 4 Favorite Google Chrome DevTools Tips & Tricks

google dev tools

Welcome to the final installation of our 3-part series on Google Chrome’s DevTools. In part 1 and part 2, we explored an introduction to using DevTools, as well as how you can use it to diagnose SSL and security issues on your site. In the third and final part of our DevTools series, we will be sharing our 4 favourite useful tips and tricks to help you achieve a variety of useful and efficient tasks with DevTools, without ever leaving your website!

Clearing All Site Data

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things when building your website, is the occasional menace that is browser caching. If you’ve put a lot of time into building websites, you probably know the feeling of making a change and then wondering why your site still shows the old page after you refresh. But even further to that, there can be any number of other reasons why you may need to clear all of your site data. Commonly, one might be inclined to just flush all cookies and cache settings in their browser, wiping their history from every website. This can lead to being suddenly logged out of all of your usual haunts – a frustrating inconvenience if you’re ever in a hurry to get something done.

Thankfully, DevTools has a handy little tool that allows you to clear all data related to the site that you’re currently on, without wiping anything else.

  1. Open up DevTools
  2. Click on the “Application” tab. If you can’t see it, just increase the width of your DevTools or click the arrow to view all available tabs.
  3. Click on the “Clear storage” tab under the “Application” heading.
  4. You will see how much local disk usage that specific website is taking up on your computer. To clear it all, just click on the “Clear site data” button.

That’s it! Your cache, cookies, and all other associated data for that website will be wiped out, without losing cached data for any other website.

Testing Device Responsiveness

In today’s world of websites, mobile devices make up more than half of all traffic to websites. That means that it’s more important than ever to ensure your website is fully responsive and looking sharp across all devices, not just desktop computers. Chrome DevTools has an incredibly useful tool to allow you to view your website as if you were viewing it on a mobile device.

  1. Open up DevTools.
  2. Click the “Toggle device toolbar” button on the top left corner. It looks like a tablet and mobile device. Alternatively, press Ctrl + Shift + M on Windows.
  3. At the top of your screen you should now see a dropdown of available devices to pick from, such as iPhone X. Selecting a device will adjust your screen’s ratio to that of the selected device.

Much easier than sneaking down to the Apple store to test out your site on every model of iPhone or iPad, right?

Viewing Console Errors

Sometimes you may experience an error on your site, and not know where to look for more information. This is where DevTools’ Console tab can come in very handy. If you experience any form of error on your site, you can likely follow these steps to find a lead on what to do to solve it:

  1. Open up DevTools
  2. Select the “Console” tab
  3. If your console logged any errors, you can find them here. You may see a 403 error, or a 500 error, etc. The console will generally log extra information too.

If you follow the above steps and you see a 403 error, you then know your action was not completed due to a permissions issue – which can get you started on the right track to troubleshooting the issue. Whatever the error(s) may be, there is usually a plethora of information available on potential solutions by individually researching those error codes or phrases on Google or your search engine of choice.

Edit Any Text On The Page

While you can right-click on text and choose “inspect element”, and then modify text that way, this alternative method allows you to modify any text on a website as if you were editing a regular document or a photoshop file, etc.

  1. Open up DevTools
  2. Go to the “Console” tab
  3. Copy and paste the following into the console and hit enter:
    1. document.designMode=”on”

Once that’s done, you can select any text on your page and edit it. This is actually one of the more fun DevTools features, and it can make testing text changes on your site an absolute breeze.

Conclusion

This concludes our entire DevTools series! We hope you’ve enjoyed it and maybe picked up a few new tools along the way. Our series only really scratches the surface of what DevTools can be used for, but we hope this has offered a useful introduction to some of the types of things you can accomplish. If you want to keep learning, be sure to head over to Google’s Chrome DevTools documentation for so much more!