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Tapas Adhikary
Tapas Adhikary

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DevTools - My Favorite Tips and Tricks

I was not so keen in publishing this article initially as I thought that, I would be repeating the things that you might be knowing already. After all, it is all about using Browser's Dev Tool Efficiently. But later I realized that, each of us must be having our own favorite set of tips and tricks that are fine to boast about. Thus the article happened!

Statutory Warning:

To me, Web Browser's Dev Tool and Chrome Browser's Dev tool are Synonyms.

Please note that, I am not going to mention things like, console.log('Hi'), how to debug Source files or How to inspect the DOM. Most of you must be doing it day in and out. All that I mentioned below are kind of least-used but, can make you a very productive and efficient Web Developer. Let's get started.

Elements Panel

Following Tricks are related to the Elements tab of Chrome's Debugger Tool

Re-arrange Position of Elements

You can just Drag-and-Drop the elements to move Up-and-Down in position. This is very helpful while editing/debugging the HTML structure.


Reference a Node in Elements panel

Do you have need to select a particular Node in Elements panel and refer it from Console panel? You may have if you want to do further processing(or debugging) on that Node.

Use $0 for it.

Note: if you’re using jQuery in your project, you can use $($0) to access and apply jQuery APIs on this element.

Doing lots with a single DOM Node, like taking a Screen Shot?

You can take a screen shot of a DOM node without going out of the Debugger tool, yeah Fancy! Press ctrl-shift-p(I think, it is cmd-shift-p in Mac) by selecting a node. You will be given lots of options to select from. One of those is to take a Screen Shot, Really!


  • Do not forget to explore other options available on pressing ctrl-shift-p for DOM Node.

Console Panel

This one is my favorite panel among all the available panels.

Go Multi Line

It is annoying at times to type multi lines in console panel. You can do it just by pressing shift-enter key combinations. Keep pressing shift-enter to continue with the execution for each lines. Once done, press enter key.


Console logs Formatting

If we go beyond the simple console.log('Hi'), there are few more useful versions of it for better formatting:

  • %s format a variable as a string
  • %d format a variable as an integer
  • %f format a variable as a floating point number
  • %o can be used to print a DOM Element
  • %O used to print an object representation
  • %c used to pass CSS to format a string

Let's see some of these as example below:

  '%c I have %d %s',
  'color: green; background:black; font-size: 20pt',
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Run the above code in console panel. You will see an output as,

Store as Global Variable

Often we get a bigger chunk of JSON object as a response. We might want to pick a portion of it and work on it. There is a way to save any portion of the JSON object as a Global Temporary Variable that can be accessed in console panel. See it how:


Advanced Logging in Console panel

console.log(['Apple', 'Orange]);
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Output is,

Now try,

console.dir(['Apple', 'Orange'])
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The output is almost same as above but, it explicitly says the type as an Array.



This prints a Table representation in console. It is very powerful when you deal with a complex object. Just print it as a table to view and inspect it with ease. See it in action:


Preserver Console Logs

Isn't it annoying that, the logs in console get cleared of on Navigating to other pages? You can preserve those just by checking a check-box:


Grouping Console logs

At times, keeping the logs loose can cause delays in debugging. Consider a situation that, you want to group all the logs together for a function and do not want it to be mixed with other log messages. Yes, you can do it easily.'Testing my calc function');
console.log('adding 1 + 1 is', 1 + 1);
console.log('adding 1 - 1 is', 1 - 1);
console.log('adding 2 * 3 is', 2 * 3);
console.log('adding 10 / 2 is', 10 / 2);
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Output is a grouped logs together:

You can really go as nested as you want. Use of console log grouping is highly recommended.

It is time for console.time

Often you will find a need of measuring how long a function takes to execute? How long a block of code takes to execute? console.time() and console.timeEnd() are very useful utilities to help here. Here is an example where I am calculating the time it takes to get the last name of billion objects(I have just mimicked the billion!)

function testTime() {
  var users= [
      firstname: "Tapas",
      lastname: "Adhikary",
      hobby: "Blogging"
      firstname: "David",
      lastname: "Williams",
      hobby: "Chess"
      firstname: "Brad",
      lastname: "Crets",
      hobby: "Swimming"
      firstname: "James",
      lastname: "Bond",
      hobby: "Spying"
      firstname: "Steve",
      lastname: "S",
      hobby: "Talking"

  var getName = function (user) {
    return user.lastname;

  // Start the time which will be bound to the string 'loopTime' 

  for (let counter = 0; counter < 1000 * 1000 * 1000; counter++) {
    getName(users[counter & 4]);

  // End the time tick for 'loopTime
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Once you run the above code from console panel or within node environment, you will be getting the output like,

loopTime: 2234.032958984375ms
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That's the total time taken in milliseconds to compute the last name of billion Users. Great!

$_ Refer to previous execution output

When you are in console panel, you can refer to the previous execution output with $_. You can feed this output as an input to your next execution logic.


This is just a small set that I am in love with. There are plenty of other panels to cover as well. You can find the full list from Google's Tools for Web Developers. It surely deserves a book-mark in your favorite browser.

I would love to hear from you on your favorite set. As they say, 'Sharing is Caring, please share some by posting a comment below.

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Hope you liked this post. Please hit the Follow button below to read my future articles. Happy Exploring!

This was originally posted on my HashNode Blog.

Top comments (4)

stereobooster profile image

Here is the trick:

store any variable as a global variable:

copy the global variable to the clipboard:

karataev profile image
Eugene Karataev

When debugging I like to clear the noise in network tab by filtering out requests I'm not interested in.

Here's the example to hide OPTIONS requests:

jecsham profile image

Nice post!

A very useful tool for me is in the Network Panel, you can simulate a bad connection for test loading stuff with api requests :p
In sa ne

antontsvil profile image
Anton T

Great stuff! Didn't know about group, that one's a game changer!