Besides the minimal user interface, the extensions are another reason why many people use the Chrome browser. To install a Chrome extension all you have to do is visit the extension page and click on the “Add to Chrome” button. However, this approach doesn’t allow you to save the chrome extension as a CRX file. Sometimes you may want to download the extension file so that you can install the extension even if it is not available in the Chrome store, see and analyze how the extension actually works, etc. No matter what the reason is, if you ever want to download and save a Chrome extension as a CRX file, here is how to do it.
Generally there are three different ways to download the Chrome extensions. I will show you all three ways; just follow the one that you are most comfortable with.
1. Pack the Extension After Installing
If you’ve already installed the extension that you want to download, you can just repack the extension into a CRX file. Before you do anything you need to know the Extension ID of the extension you want to download. Since you’ve already installed the extension, you can get the extension ID directly from the Chrome extensions settings page.
To start, click on the menu icon, and select the “Extensions” option from the “More tools” options.
The above action will open the Extensions page. Select the “Developer mode” checkbox, scroll down, find the extension you want to repack and note the extension ID.
Once you have the extension ID, press “Win + E,” and navigate to the following location in the File Explorer:
Don’t forget to replace “<Username>” with your actual username. Find the folder with the extension ID, and copy it to your desktop.
Note: if you are using other operating systems like macOS (usually inside
~/Library/Application Support/ folder) or Linux (usually inside
~/.config/ folder), you need to find the relevant application folder.
Back on the extensions page, click on the “Pack extension” button.
This action will open a pop-up. Simply click on the “Browse” button.
In the Browse window, find the folder you copied earlier, expand it, select the folder with the version number and click on the “OK” button.
Click on the “Pack Extension” button. You can just ignore the Private Key field.
With the above instructions, you’ve successfully created the CRX file. In fact, if you open the extension folder on your desktop, you will see your CRX file.
2. Download Using A Special Google URL
If you don’t like the long procedure of packing the extension yourself, then you can simply download it using a special extension download URL and the extension ID. Just like in the previous method, you can copy the extension ID from the Extensions page.
If you haven’t already installed the extension ID, then visit the official extension download page and copy the extension ID. Usually, the extension ID is the last part of the URL.
Once you have the extension ID, execute the below URL in another browser like Firefox, Edge or Opera while replacing “<Extension_ID>” with the actual extension ID. If you execute the URL in the Chrome browser, it will not allow you to download the extension.
As soon as you execute the URL, you should have the CRX file on your desktop. Accept the download prompt to complete the download procedure.
3. Using Chrome Extension Downloader
If you don’t want to go through all the hassle, then you can simply use the Chrome Extension Downloader service. Just visit the website, enter the URL or the extension ID of the Chrome extension you want to download and click on the “Download” button. In my case, I’ve entered the extension ID.
You may receive a warning message if you are downloading in Chrome. Just click on the “Keep” button.
Do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above methods to download the Chrome extensions.