Find out what's behind a link with SwiftPreview for Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 11, 2012
Updated • Aug 20, 2018
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

If you hang out on a site where image links get posted all the time, say on Reddit or 4chan or any of the other sites where that is happening, you are probably spending more time clicking on links than looking at the images as it is often a hit and miss kind of thing.

Finding out about link target -- read getting a preview -- without clicking on it can be beneficial in other circumstances as well.  Say you want to find out what's behind a short url on Twitter without loading the website in the browser to decide whether visiting the link is worth it or a waste of time.

Update: SwiftPreview is no longer available. The extension is no longer available on the official Chrome Web Store. You can use ezLinkPreview instead which offers similar functionality and is still maintained actively by its developer. End

SwiftPreview for Chrome

The Chrome extension SwiftPreview adds its link preview functionality to Chrome. All you need to do is install the extension in Google Chrome to use its functionality. It is activated on all websites by default, and hovering over any link will display a preview of the link in an overlay on the same page.

That's great for looking at full images on Reddit or 4Chan, or discovering what's behind a shortened url on Twitter.

find out whats behind a link

The window size is dynamic and changes when you move the mouse or increase the size of the browser window.It won't cross the actual browser window though, which you need to take into consideration when using the program as the preview area may be too small at times depending on the Chrome browser size.

The extension has been designed for all kinds of links, including image links. If you happen to be on a site on which thumbnail links get posted a lot, you may find the SwiftPreview extension helpful as well as you just have to hover over the thumbnail to display the full image on the screen.

Preview content can be pinned with a tap on the Ctrl key. This keeps the window open in the browser even if you move the mouse cursor away from the actual link. A side effect of this is that you can now scroll in the window, for instance if an article is displayed there, to read the full article without visiting the site in question.

Another interesting feature is the option to hover over YouTube video links to watch the videos right on the screen, and pinning works here as well.

You have got two options to manage when previews are shown on the screen. The first lets you block previews from being displayed on select domain names. That's useful if you want previews on the majority of sites you visit, but not on some.

The other option makes previews only available if you hold down the Shift key on the keyboard when you hover over links.

You may also want to visit the options of the extension at least once to change the default preview width and height, disable prerendering or change the preview creation delay. Prerendering takes away some of your bandwidth to load pages in advance for faster previews. This can be an over the top option, especially if your bandwidth is seriously limited or if you only have a certain quota available per month.

Closing Words

SwiftPreview is a great extension that combines the features of an image zoom extension with a broader link preview option that you can benefit from on the majority of websites.

software image
Author Rating
no rating based on 0 votes
Software Name
Software Category

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Matias S. Aquino said on September 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Martin, I just wanted to tell you about Imgtip, that does the same thing for Opera and has saved me a lot of time:

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks, will take a look.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.