iMacros for Chrome
Thank your for using iMacros for Chrome, the open-source web automation solution.
Note that this version is a Beta version, so please do not expect it to be as polished as its bigger siblings for IE and Firefox.
Having said that, iMacros for Chrome is ready to be used for web automation. Its a macro recorder for your Google Chrome browser. With iMacros for Chrome we are also testing an interesting new GUI layout and the concept of storing iMacros as bookmarklets. We look forward to your feedback!
- 1 Installation
- 2 First Steps
- 3 iMacros as Bookmarklets
- 4 Social Scripting
- 5 Demo and Test Macros
- 6 Command Line Support
- 7 Scripting Chrome
- 8 Getting Help
- 9 Limitations
- 10 Version History
- 11 Security
- 12 Known Issues
- 13 See Also
- Download the latest version iMacros_for_Chrome - this version fixes the Chrome V35 issues!
No administrative rights are required for the installation. All versions of Chrome (Win, Mac and Linux) are supported.
This installer supports storing macros inside bookmarks. If this is all you want, then there is nothing else to do. But if you prefer to store macros in regular text files (like iMacros for Firefox/IE do), then please install our new file access modules below.
Add File Access
iMacros for Chrome used a NPAPI plugin internally to access the file system. And because Chrome extensions can no longer use the NPAPI (since May 2014) we have to provide the alternative solution - using the new NativeMessaging API of Chrome.
This means the default install of iMacros for Chrome V8 and higher allows you to only store macros in bookmarks. If you want to store the macros in text files on your hard drive or you are using macros that access data files (via !DATASOURCE), please install one of these free file access enhancements:
Please install iMacros for Chrome before installing the file access module. The installers below contain ONLY the file access code, not the complete iMacros for Chrome extension.
- Windows: => Download File Access Installer - Beta version!
- Mac: => Download File Access Installer - Beta version!
- Linux: Download tar ball
- It can be used for both, Mac and Linux.
- The install script is inside the "gz" file. The command to unpack it from command line is
- tar -xvf imacros_fio.tar.gz
- After that command is executed the imacros_fio directory is created. Please move that directory to some place where it will be persistent, e.g. ~/iMacros
- then cd to that directory and execute ./install.sh
- (Checksum: MD5 (imacros_fio.tar.gz) = dc668d1b8265443e0ef7314a6bc92b3f)
How to install an extension from outside the Chrome gallery
Extensions that you download from the Chrome Web Store are installed automatically, which is great for distribution, but not so great for development. Recognizing this, Chrome gives you a quick way of loading up your working directory for testing. Let's do that now.
- Visit chrome://extensions in your browser (or open up the Chrome menu by clicking the icon to the far right of the Omnibox: The menu's icon is three horizontal bars.. and select Extensions under the Tools menu to get to the same place).
- Ensure that the Developer mode checkbox in the top right-hand corner is checked.
- Drag & drop the imacros-yyy.crx beta version on the extension page. This works only on the extension page. Chrome checks if the extension is valid, it'll be loaded up and active right away!
This does not work Chrome V36 Beta on Windows: That is caused by a new, upcoming security improvement: Starting with V36, Chrome will block all installs from outside the Google Chrome Gallery! So far this block seems to be only in the Windows version, not Chrome 36 for Linux or Mac. To work around this, install our beta version from the gallery.
After you installed iMacros for Chrome you will see the iMacros icon in the toolbar. First we recommend that you look at a few demo macros. After this start recording your first own macro. To get start, a simple website like this wiki or our company website are a good start. To record, open the iMacros panel and click record. When you are done recording, click the stop icon either in the panel or in the Chrome toolbar. The iMacros icon changes to a stop button with line counter during recording and replay.
The iMacros panel has a loop button to run macros repeatedly. This can be useful for checking a certain web page status or for web testing. While the loop is running, the current loop number is stored in the !LOOP internal variable.
Example usage: Create a macro that refreshes the current page every 5 seconds:
VERSION BUILD=1031208 RECORDER=CR REFRESH WAIT SECONDS=5
iMacros as Bookmarklets
If you are used to other iMacros versions, you might be surprised that iMacros for Chrome does not store its macros as text files. The reason for this is that Chrome extensions can not write or read files unless they use a special NPAPI dll (Update: iMacros for Chrome V2.0 Beta has such a DLL and can now read and write normal macros!). Instead we are testing a new concept and store macros as bookmarklets inside the regular Chrome bookmarking system.
This means you can take full advantage of the Google Bookmark Sync features or bookmark sync extensions such as Xmarks.
As the macros are packed as bookmarklets, you can just drag & drop them to your bookmarks folder or bookmarks bar.
Example: Search the German railway website for train connection from Frankfurt International Airport to Mannheim - Select "Proceed to this site" to run the macro!
iMacros for Chrome pioneers the social scripting concept. Users can embed the complete macro in a simple link that can be shared with friends and coworkers. Users can also embed the link on their homepage, blog and company Intranet. In this way, users can help website visitors perform certain tasks. Instead of telling visitors how to fill out a form, users can let iMacros fill out the form for them. All information is stored inside the link as a text string, and nothing is stored on our servers.
Tip: To send macros (bookmarklets) by email, use the TinyUrl.com link shortener service. Example usage:
"Hi Sandra, which of the available flights do you prefer? Just click the link to run the search and get up-to-date pricing."
Demo and Test Macros
For a list of demo and test macros please see http://www.iopus.com/imacros/chrome/. If these macros replay fine in your Google Chrome browser, then the basic installation of iMacros for Chrome is ok.
Command Line Support
The Google Chrome API does not provide command line information for extensions yet, but user "cammarin" suggested a great way to use iMacros for Chrome via the command line: Embed the iMacros bookmarklet in a local web page.
- Create a bookmark for the macro you want to launch
- Right-click on the bookmark in Chrome and select Edit
- Copy everything in the URL field starting with var e_m64 up to and including window.dispatchEvent(evt);
- Paste this code in place of the line starting with var e_m64 in the HTML file shown below
Example command line / batch file:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" www.google.com file:///D:/web/test.htm
"test.htm" is the local website with the bookmarklet. Note that you need to open another tab first, otherwise Chrome is not ready to start the bookmarklet. So the workaround is to simply open "www.google.com" before our local website with the bookmarklet. This way you can also start your macro via the Windows task scheduler or a Linux crown job.
Update: This approach is no longer working. We discovered that you can make it work by adding a call to alert() as the first line in the launchMacro() function. Obviously this is not acceptable since it would require user intervention to dismiss the dialog. If you know of a fix or other approach, please post the solution here.
Google Chrome, the complete browser, can be scripted with the commercial iMacros Enterprise Edition (= iMacros Scripting API). The API allows you to control Chrome from external software (C++, C#, Python, Perl,...). For details, see the chapter with the iimOpen command.
Using Chrome with the iMacros RunAs Agent (iimRunner)
- iimRunner only works with a non-default Chrome UserDataDir (aka profile)
- Make sure the iMacros add-on is installed in the new user profile.
- In order to launch Chrome with a different user profile via the iMacros scripting interface (e.g. iimOpen("-cr -crUserData C:\MyProfile")) or with iimRunner (e.g. iimOpen("-cr -runner -crUserData C:\MyProfile")), you need to allow access to file URLs:
- Go to Tools - Extensions and click the small triangle next to the iMacros add-on
- Make sure "Allow access to file URLs" is checked
Where is the iimDisplay message?
Due to Chrome's UI, we opted to show messages output by iimDisplay as a desktop notification pop-up window.
If you run into any issues, please don't hesitate to contact us on our support forum. Take a quick look through the forum before asking your question, we might already have a solution or work around available.
While iMacros for Chrome works well for many web automation tasks, some iMacros features are not yet implemented. But we are working on it.
Not yet available:
- Some of the built-in variables
- Dialog Manager* (ONDIALOG)
- DirectScreen Technology & Image Recognition
- What feature do you need most urgently? - Please let us know in the iMacros for Chrome user forum so we can prioritize our work.
(*) Feature requires updates to the Chrome extensions API before we can implement it.
Read what's new:
- 2014-05-28 V8.04 Download now
- New: Chrome V35 bug workaround
- New: New Scripting interface, workaround for Chrome's block of NPAPI dlls - requires separate installer.
Due to Chrome restrictions, the updated extension only supports macros inside bookmarks. For file access, please install our new file access modules - get them at iMacros_for_Chrome#Installation.
- 2014-03-10 V7.03 Download now
- Fixed: Shrinking sidebar bug (only Linux systems affected). This fix is actually a workaround for a Chrome bug.
- 2014-03-10 V7.02 Download now
- New: Significantly improved UI
- New: Upload support for AlertFox Website Monitoring
- Fixed: Many smaller bug fixes and tweaks
- 2013-07-05 V6.06 Download now
- New: New indicator for the recording/replay position
- Improved: Bookmarklet conversion
- Fixed: Many smaller bug fixes and tweaks
Important note for iMacros Enterprise Edition users: The updated iMacros Chrome Scripting Interface requires iMacros V9.02 or this patch. After downloading the patch, unzip and run "install.cmd" as administrator. It updates the Chrome connector to the latest version. This patch supports both, iMacros 8 and 9.
- 2012-10-08 V5.21
- Added: ONERRORDIALOG
- Added: EVAL
- Added: Performance log feature
- Added: SET !FILE_PROFILER
- Improved: iimTakeBrowserScreenshot support
- Improved: Bookmarklets support - now iMacros for Chrome and iMacros for Firefox bookmarklets have the same format.
- Fixed: MAC Chrome compatibility issues introduced by Chrome V22
- Fixed: BACK button not recorded
- Fixed: Many smaller bug fixes
- 2012-06-14 V5.11 Click here to download from the Chrome Gallery or Click here to download
- 2012-04-24 V5.01
- 2012-02-09 V4.01
- 2011-07-15 V3.5.3
- Added: Re-added support for iMacros in bookmarks
- Added: Conversion of macros between "stored as local file" and "stored as bookmarks". Bookmark storage is great for automated syncing.
- Added: Double treeview - view macros stored as files and in bookmarks.
- 2011-05-05 V3.5.1 Beta
- Added: Mac OSX support!
- Added: Improved iimInit ("-cr") support
- 2011-01-20 V3.0.2 Beta
- 2010-05-20 V2.0.1 Beta
- Added: Read/write/edit standard text based iMacros macro files ("*.iim" files).
- Added: Drag & Drop tree view
- Added: Run more than one instance (requires Google Chrome V5.x)
- Fixed: Several minor issues
- 2010-02-08 V1.1.1
- 2009-12-8 V1.0.3
- 2009-12-5 V1.0.0
- 2009-12-1 V0.6.5
- Added: Line numbers and WAIT time in seconds are displayed as text in the browser action icon
- Fixed: Another page load timing issue
- 2009-11-30 V0.6.1
- Fixed: Page load timing issue
- 2009-11-27 V0.6.0
- 2009-11-23 V0.5.0
- Added: Browser Action support
- Fixed: Encoding issue for Non-ASCII characters in macro. Bookmarklets now Base64 encoded.
- Fixed: Several smaller issues
- 2009-10-01 V0.3.2
- Added: Initial release
How to install an older version
As of Chrome V22 Google has blocked the installation of Chrome extensions that are not hosted in their web store. So if support emails you a iMacros for Chrome extension as beta version please install it this way:
How to install:
- Open Chrome, navigate to Tools > Extensions
- Drag and drop the imacros-xyz.crx extension on the extension page
Chrome displays a scary security warning when installing iMacros for Chrome. So we sometimes get questions like:
Q: When I click the link to install iMacros, Chrome pops up a warning with this message: "All data on your computer and the websites you visit". Is this actually true or is it an over reaction from Chrome programming?
A: iMacros for Chrome needs to read and write the macro files. So technically we need permission to access files on your PC - and thus we could access all files on your PC - just as any other program that you install. Of course, we don't do that. Also, our iMacros for Chrome code is open-source, so everyone can verify it.
To summarize, that is a very strong warning from the Chrome team for a simple thing. iMacros for Chrome does not do anything bad or unexpected.
Please report any problem in our user forum. We can only fix issues that you report! Thank you for your help.
All issues will be fixed as soon as possible.