Reactotron - Inspect your React and React Native apps
If you've never peeked at a website's code out of curiosity, you might wonder why you should learn how to use Inspect Element. For these and dozens of other use cases, Inspect Element is a handy tool to keep around. It's part of the Developer Tools in your browser, which includes a number of extra features: You can explore all those on your own, but for now, let's see how to use the main Elements tab to tweak a webpage on our own. There are a few ways to access Google Chrome Inspect Element. Just open a website you want to try editing to follow along with this tutorial, open Zapier. By default, the Developer Tools open in a pane at the very bottom of your browser and will show the Elements tab—that's the famed Inspect Element tool we've been looking for.
You won't have much space to work with Inspect Element at the bottom of your screen, so click the three vertical dots on the top right-hand side of the inspect element pane near the "X" which you'd click to close the pane. Now, you'll see an option to move the pane to the right-hand side of your browser right-dock view or to open the pane in a completely separate window undock view.
For this tutorial, let's dock the pane on the right side of your browser window to give us more space to work. You can make the Developer Tools panel wider or more narrow by hovering over the left-side border. Now that we're in Inspect Element, there an array of useful tools at our fingertips that we can use to make any site look exactly how we want. For this tutorial, we will focus on the Elements, Emulation, and Search tabs.
It's a bit hidden: Then you'll be able to search through every file in a webpage for anything you want. Or, click the " Elements " tab in the Developer Tools to get back to it if you've been exploring elsewhere. It's almost the same as just viewing the source of a website, with one crucial difference: Once you re-load the page, though, all of your changes will be gone forever. Ever wanted to preview a webpage on a phone without pulling your phone out of your pocket?
The " Emulation " tab lets you view a web page as it would look on any device, with presets for popular devices or an option to set screen resolution and aspect ratio. You can even set an emulated internet speed, to see how quickly a site would load over dial-up.
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It's also a bit hidden: Then, you'll have a perfect tool to understand how others experience a webpage. It's time to get to work.
We'll first use Search to find things on a webpage, then use Elements to edit text and more on a site, and finally will use Emulation to see how our site would look on a phone from a specific location. Wondering what goes into your favorite sites? Search is your best tool for that, aside from reading a site's entire source code. To get started, open Zapier. Remember how to open Inspect Element? Let's see how we can use this. Type meta name into the search field, press your Enter key, and you'll immediately see every occurrence of "meta name" in the code on this page.
Now, you can see this page's metadata, the SEO keywords its targeting, and whether or not it's configured to let Google index it for search. That's an easy way to see what your competitors are targeting—and to make sure you didn't mess anything up on your site. Let's try another query. Delete meta name , type h2 into the search field instead, and press "enter. Search is an effective tool for designers as well since you can search by color, too.
Type ff4a00 into the search field and press "enter" and make sure to check the box beside "Ignore case" to see all of the results. Then, just click the line that reads "color: This is a handy way for designers to make sure that a site is following their brand's style guide. With the "Search" tool, designers can easily check the CSS of a web page to see if a color is applied to the wrong element, if an incorrect font-family is used on a web page, or if you're still using your old color somewhere on your site.
The "Search" tool is also the perfect way to communicate with developers better since you can show them exactly where you've found a mistake or exactly what needs changing. Just tell them the line number where the problem exists, and you'll get your fix that much quicker. Or, you can change the web page yourself with the Elements , the core part of Chrome's Developer Tools. Front-end developers use the Inspect Element tool every day to modify the appearance of a web page and experiment with new ideas—and you can, too. Once you close or reload the page, your changes will be gone; you'll only see the changes on your computer and aren't actually editing the real website itself.
That way, you can feel free to experiment and change anything—and then copy and save the very best changes to use again later. Click the "Elements" tab in the Developer Tools pane—and if you want more room, tap your "Esc" key to close the search box you had open before. You should see the HTML for this page—now you know how the sausage gets made. In the top-left corner of the developer pane, you will see an icon of a mouse on top of a square. Click it, then you can select any element on the page that you would like to change.
So let's change some things!
- Wait, Why Should I Use Inspect Element?.
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Ever wanted to change text on a site—perhaps to see how a new tagline would look on your homepage, or to take your email address off of a Gmail screenshot? Click the "mouse on top of a square" icon, then click any text on the page—perhaps the tagline on the Zapier homepage. In your Developer Tools pane, you will see a line of text with a blue highlight that looks something like this:. Double-click the "Connect Your Apps" text that's highlighted blue in the Developer Tools pane, and it will turn into an editable text field. Type anything you like in this text field "Auri is a genius" should work just fine , and press enter.
You've just changed the text on the web page. Your Developer Tools pane re-loads with the page, but let's close it. Press the "X" in the top-right corner of the page. Now we're going open it back up—right at the text we want to edit. All you have to do is right-click on the part of the page you want to change, then click the Inspect or Inspect Element link that appears on the bottom of the right-click menu.
When your Developer Tools pane opens, it should automatically highlight that sentence. It's the little things that count. To the right of this sentence in the Developer Tools pane, you will see a sub-pane with 3 additional tabs: Styles, Computed, and Event Listeners. Each allows you to change how this sentence looks on the page.
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Let's get started on "Styles" tab. You may notice that some things are crossed out in the "Styles" tab. This means that these styles are not active for the element we've selected them, so changing these values will have no effect. We can ignore these for our purposes.
How to Get Started with Inspect Element
Let's try changing something. Click the arrow icon in the top of Inspect Element again, and select the text right under the "Sign Up" button on the page. Find "text-align" in the "Styles" tab you may have to scroll a bit to find this. Right now, it is set to "center," but double-click "center" and type left.
This makes the text left-aligned on the page. Now let's play around with the color. Use the mouse icon in Inspect Element to select the button this time, then in the Styles tab find this line:. We just changed the color of our button from orange to blue! Now let's try something really cool. Want to see how a button or link will look once someone hovers over or clicks it? Chrome Inspect Element can show that too with its force element state tools. Let's try this out. Trying to ignore someone?
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What can people see on your Facebook profile? To find out, go to your profile, and select View As… from the menu button on the bottom right corner of your cover photo. So how do you know which embarrassing photos might be visible to non-friends or friends? On the left-hand column, click on Photos , then select Photos of You.