My latest at ProfHacker: Using Browser Profiles for Organization

Sketch of a profile

Many of us have more than one email account these days. I have several, I’m afraid, though I don’t need to use all of them regularly (thankfully!).

Still, there are three that I use on an almost daily basis: my personal account, my main work account, and the account of the office I currently direct.

While I could use a desktop email client to manage my email (and I sometimes do, for backup purposes if nothing else), all three are GMail accounts. Since I also make extensive use of Google Calendar and Google Drive with all three, there are some advantages to working in a browser most of the time.

That can mean a lot of open tabs, and as anyone who’s used Chrome extensively has likely experienced, it has a tendency to crash (or at least throw up the dreaded “He’s dead, Jim” message on one or more tabs) if too many browser tabs are open. Even when the browser doesn’t crash, your computer’s performance will take a hit. But dividing open tabs across browser windows seems to help. In my experience, at least, three Chrome windows each with three tabs open seems to function better than one window with nine open tabs.

What I typically do is have one window open for each of my accounts. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to manage multiple users in Chrome, and I’ve created a user profile for each of my accounts. When I sit down to work, I just open up Chrome; if the first window I open isn’t signed into the correct account, I just click on the user icon at the top of my browser window, and select the appropriate user account from the menu that pops up. So that I don’t have to remember which color user icon belongs to which account, I’ve enabled a setting in Chrome that allows me to replace the user icon with my Google profile picture.

What I end up with, then, is an account-specific window for each account that brings together all of its Google services, along with its specific bookmarks, Chrome apps, and extensions. I find it very useful for keeping the right bits of information in the right places — with this arrangement, I’m not very likely to accidentally get the accounts mixed up. And, of course, these profiles sync across computers and platforms, so I can keep things straight no matter what computer I’m using.

Those who prefer Firefox should be able to put together a similar setup. In fact, it seems to be possible to use multiple user profiles with many of the most commonly-used browsers (though Safari, alas, doesn’t seem to be among them). The How-To Geek provides instructions for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera.

Do you use multiple user profiles in your browser? If you do, why — what do you find most useful about having multiple profiles? Do you have other suggestions for managing multiple accounts efficiently? Let us know in the comments!

[Lead image CC-licensed by Chris Blow]

from ProfHacker » Amy CavenderProfHacker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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