Screen Scraper Chrome
How to Use Web Scraper Chrome Extension to Extract Data
This post is about DIY web scraping tools. If you are looking for a fully customizable web scraping solution, you can add your project on CrawlBoard.
How to Use Web Scraper Chrome Extension to Extract Data
Web scraping is becoming a vital ingredient in business and marketing planning regardless of the industry. There are several ways to crawl the web for useful data depending on your requirements and budget. Did you know that your favourite web browser could also act as a great web scraping tool?
You can install the Web Scraper extension from the chrome web store to make it an easy-to-use data scraping tool. The best part is, you can stay in the comfort zone of your browser while the scraping happens. This doesn’t demand much technical skills, which makes it a good option when you need to do some quick data scraping. Let’s get started with the tutorial on how to use web scraper chrome extension to extract data.
About the Web Scraper Chrome Extension
What You Need
Google Chrome browser
A working internet connection
A. Installation and setup
webscraper chrome extension by using link
For web scraper chrome extension download click on “Add”
Once this is done, you are ready to start scraping any website using your chrome browser. You just need to learn how to perform the scraping, which we are about to explain.
B. The Method
After installation, open the Google Chrome developer tools by pressing F12. (You can alternatively right-click on the screen and select inspect element). In the developer tools, you will find a new tab named ‘Web scraper’ as shown in the screenshot below.
Now let’s see how to use this on a live web page. We will use a site called for this tutorial. This site contains gif images and we will crawl these image URLs using our web scraper.
Step 1: Creating a Sitemap
Go to Open developer tools by right-clicking anywhere on the screen and then selecting inspect
Click on the web scraper tab in developer tools
Click on ‘create new sitemap’ and then select ‘create sitemap’
Give the sitemap a name and enter the URL of the site in the start URL field.
Click on ‘Create Sitemap’
To crawl multiple pages from a website, we need to understand the pagination structure of that site. You can easily do that by clicking the ‘Next’ button a few times from the homepage. Doing this on revealed that the pages are structured as, and so on. To switch to a different page, you only have to change the number at the end of this URL. Now, we need the scraper to do this automatically.
To do this, create a new sitemap with the start URL as 001-125]. The scraper will now open the URL repeatedly while incrementing the final value each time. This means the scraper will open pages starting from 1 to 125 and crawl the elements that we require from each page.
Step 2: Scraping Elements
Every time the scraper opens a page from the site, we need to extract some elements. In this case, it’s the gif image URLs. First, you have to find the CSS selector matching the images. You can find the CSS selector by looking at the source file of the web page (CTRL+U). An easier way is to use the selector tool to click and select any element on the screen. Click on the Sitemap that you just created, click on ‘Add new selector’. In the selector id field, give the selector a name. In the type field, you can select the type of data that you want to be extracted. Click on the select button and select any element on the web page that you want to be extracted. When you are done selecting, click on ‘Done selecting’. It’s easy as clicking on an icon with the mouse. You can check the ‘multiple’ checkbox to indicate that the element you want can be present multiple times on the page and that you want each instance of it to be scrapped.
Now you can save the selector if everything looks good. To start the scraping process, just click on the sitemap tab and select ‘Scrape’. A new window will pop up which will visit each page in the loop and crawl the required data. If you want to stop the data scraping process in between, just close this window and you will have the data that was extracted till then.
Once you stop scraping, go to the sitemap tab to browse the extracted data or export it to a CSV file. The only downside of such data extraction software is that you have to manually perform the scraping every time since it doesn’t have many automation features built-in.
If you want to crawl data on a large scale, it is better to go with a data scraping service instead of such free web scraper chrome extension data extraction tools like these. With the second part of this series, we will show you how to make a MySQL database using the extracted data. Stay tuned for that!
What is Screen Scraping and How Does it Work? – SearchDataCenter
Screen scraping is the act of copying information that shows on a digital display so it can be used for another purpose. Visual data can be collected as raw text from on-screen elements such as a text or images that appear on the desktop, in an application or on a website. Screen scraping can be performed automatically with a scraping program or manually with an individual extracting data.
Screen scraping has a variety of uses, both ethical and unethical. Brief examples of both include either an app for banking, for gathering data from multiple accounts for a user, or for stealing data from applications. A developer might be tempted to steal code from another application to make the process of development faster and easier for themselves.
What is it used for?
Screen scrapers have been applied in a broad number of fields for a variety of use cases. Some potential uses include:
banking applications and financial transactions;
saving meaningful data for later use;
to perform actions a user would on a website;
to translate data from a legacy application to a modern application;
for data aggregators such as price comparison websites;
to track user profiles to see online activities; and
to steal data.
One of the largest use cases has been in banking. Lenders may want to use screen scraping to gather a customer’s financial data. Financial-based applications may use screen scraping to access multiple accounts from a user, aggregating all the information in one place. Users would need to explicitly trust the application, however, as they are trusting that organization with their accounts, customer data and passwords. Screen scraping can also be used for mortgage provider applications.
An organization might also want to use screen scraping to translate between legacy application programs and new user interfaces (UIs) so that the logic and data associated with the legacy programs can continue to be used. This option is rarely used and is only seen as an option when other methods are impractical.
If an individual can gain access to the underlying code in an application, the user could use screen scraping to steal the code and use it in their own application. This would save the individual time and effort or allow them to learn how a feature in an application works without permission.
A portion of the time, screen scraping will involve a third-party system. For example, screen scraping would allow a third-party organization to access data on financial transactions in a budgeting app.
Screen scraping has changed its main use cases over time. A recent example of this comes from 2019 when screen scraping began to be phased out of one of its larger use cases, banking. This was done to ease security concerns surrounding the practice. Budgeting apps now must use a single, open banking technology.
How does screen scraping work?
Screen scraping can be accomplished in several ways, depending on what the process is being used for. For example, through Java, an individual can copy and paste source code from one application into their own if they have a pathway of direct access to it.
In general, screen scraping allows a user to extract screen display data from a specific UI element or documents. Different methods can be used to obtain all the text on a page, unformatted, or all the text on a page, formatted, with exact positioning. Screen scrapers can be based around applications such as Selenium or PhantomJS, which allows users to obtain information from HTML in a browser. Unix tools, such as Shell scripts, can also be used as a simple screen scraper.
In banking, a third-party will request users share their login information so they can access financial transaction data by logging into digital portals for the customers. A budgeting app can then retrieve the incoming and outgoing transactions across accounts.
Regarding the use of transferring data from a legacy program, a data scraping program must take the data coming from the legacy program that is formatted for the screen of an older type of terminal such as an IBM 3270 display and reformat it for Windows 10 or someone using a web browser. The program must also reformat user input from the newer user interfaces (such as a Windows graphical user interface or a web browser) so that the request can be handled by the legacy application as if it came from the user of the older device and user interface.
How to prevent screen scraping
To help deter screen scaping, an organization can:
use one-time passwords, because screen scrapers will not be able to see a password until it is used;
use web application firewalls, which can help detect signature- or behavior-based actions;
make sure endpoints or APIs aren’t exposed;
run fraud detection software to catch screen scraping potentially while it is happening; and/or
set content to be shown as an image, which won’t stop screen scraping from happening but will stop programs that can’t translate images.
All these methods can help deter screen scraping, but it won’t stop it completely. In addition, organizations must make sure that their actions won’t make the end-user experience worse. For example, setting a website’s content to appear as an image may make it difficult for individuals to find the page, because it will affect how search engines find the page to begin with.
Screen scraping tools
If individuals don’t want to screen scrape manually, there are several tools that can help automate the process, such as:
These tools include automation features such as automated user interfaces, macro recorders and editors. They work with Windows or web applications. Some tools have specific features over others and focus on specific platforms.
Screen scraping vs. web scraping
While screen scraping is the process of extracting data shown on a screen, web scraping extracts data from the web. The two concepts share many similarities to the point where it can be said that web scraping is like a specific type of screen scraping. The main differences lie in where the data is being taken from and what is it being used for.
Web scraping is used to extract data exclusively from the web — unlike screen scraping, which can also scrape data from a user’s desktop or applications. This form of data extraction can be used to compare prices for goods on an e-commerce shop, for web indexing and data mining.
The process accesses the web through HTTP over a web browser and can either be done manually or automatically through a bot or web crawler.
Difference between screen scraping and data scraping
Data scraping is a variant of screen scraping that is used to copy data from documents and web applications. Data scraping is a technique where structured, human-readable data is extracted. This method is mostly used for exchanging data with a legacy system and making it readable by modern applications.
Screen scraping and open banking
Open banking is the concept of sharing secured financial information to be used by third-party developers for the creation of banking applications. This concept is based on the sharing of APIs, which allows an application to use the same API to aggregate information from different accounts into one place. This is what allows a banking app to let users look at their multiple accounts from different banks in one place.
In the past, some banking apps would gather information using screen scraping. This process would require a user to share their bank logon credentials to the third-party app. The application would then log on to the user’s accounts on his or her behalf and screen scrape the needed data to show in-app.
By contrast, open banking now uses shared APIs, meaning the exact data needed is copied without requiring the user to share logon credentials. The concept was introduced in 2018 and is now becoming a standard over the use of screen scraping.
This was last updated in February 2020
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Web Scraping 101: 10 Myths that Everyone Should Know | Octoparse
1. Web Scraping is illegal
Many people have false impressions about web scraping. It is because there are people don’t respect the great work on the internet and use it by stealing the content. Web scraping isn’t illegal by itself, yet the problem comes when people use it without the site owner’s permission and disregard of the ToS (Terms of Service). According to the report, 2% of online revenues can be lost due to the misuse of content through web scraping. Even though web scraping doesn’t have a clear law and terms to address its application, it’s encompassed with legal regulations. For example:
Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Trespass to Chattel
Copy right infringement
Breach of contract
Photo by Amel Majanovic on Unsplash
2. Web scraping and web crawling are the same
Web scraping involves specific data extraction on a targeted webpage, for instance, extract data about sales leads, real estate listing and product pricing. In contrast, web crawling is what search engines do. It scans and indexes the whole website along with its internal links. “Crawler” navigates through the web pages without a specific goal.
3. You can scrape any website
It is often the case that people ask for scraping things like email addresses, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn information. According to an article titled “Is web crawling legal? ” it is important to note the rules before conduct web scraping:
Private data that requires username and passcodes can not be scrapped.
Compliance with the ToS (Terms of Service) which explicitly prohibits the action of web scraping.
Don’t copy data that is copyrighted.
One person can be prosecuted under several laws. For example, one scraped some confidential information and sold it to a third party disregarding the desist letter sent by the site owner. This person can be prosecuted under the law of Trespass to Chattel, Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and Misappropriation.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t scrape social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. They are friendly to scraping services that follow the provisions of the file. For Facebook, you need to get its written permission before conducting the behavior of automated data collection.
4. You need to know how to code
A web scraping tool (data extraction tool) is very useful regarding non-tech professionals like marketers, statisticians, financial consultant, bitcoin investors, researchers, journalists, etc. Octoparse launched a one of a kind feature – web scraping templates that are preformatted scrapers that cover over 14 categories on over 30 websites including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Instagram and more. All you have to do is to enter the keywords/URLs at the parameter without any complex task configuration. Web scraping with Python is time-consuming. On the other side, a web scraping template is efficient and convenient to capture the data you need.
5. You can use scraped data for anything
It is perfectly legal if you scrape data from websites for public consumption and use it for analysis. However, it is not legal if you scrape confidential information for profit. For example, scraping private contact information without permission, and sell them to a 3rd party for profit is illegal. Besides, repackaging scraped content as your own without citing the source is not ethical as well. You should follow the idea of no spamming, no plagiarism, or any fraudulent use of data is prohibited according to the law.
Check Below Video: 10 Myths About Web Scraping!
6. A web scraper is versatile
Maybe you’ve experienced particular websites that change their layouts or structure once in a while. Don’t get frustrated when you come across such websites that your scraper fails to read for the second time. There are many reasons. It isn’t necessarily triggered by identifying you as a suspicious bot. It also may be caused by different geo-locations or machine access. In these cases, it is normal for a web scraper to fail to parse the website before we set the adjustment.
Read this article: How to Scrape Websites Without Being Blocked in 5 Mins?
7. You can scrape at a fast speed
You may have seen scraper ads saying how speedy their crawlers are. It does sound good as they tell you they can collect data in seconds. However, you are the lawbreaker who will be prosecuted if damages are caused. It is because a scalable data request at a fast speed will overload a web server which might lead to a server crash. In this case, the person is responsible for the damage under the law of “trespass to chattels” law (Dryer and Stockton 2013). If you are not sure whether the website is scrapable or not, please ask the web scraping service provider. Octoparse is a responsible web scraping service provider who places clients’ satisfaction in the first place. It is crucial for Octoparse to help our clients get the problem solved and to be successful.
8. API and Web scraping are the same
API is like a channel to send your data request to a web server and get desired data. API will return the data in JSON format over the HTTP protocol. For example, Facebook API, Twitter API, and Instagram API. However, it doesn’t mean you can get any data you ask for. Web scraping can visualize the process as it allows you to interact with the websites. Octoparse has web scraping templates. It is even more convenient for non-tech professionals to extract data by filling out the parameters with keywords/URLs.
9. The scraped data only works for our business after being cleaned and analyzed
Many data integration platforms can help visualize and analyze the data. In comparison, it looks like data scraping doesn’t have a direct impact on business decision making. Web scraping indeed extracts raw data of the webpage that needs to be processed to gain insights like sentiment analysis. However, some raw data can be extremely valuable in the hands of gold miners.
With Octoparse Google Search web scraping template to search for an organic search result, you can extract information including the titles and meta descriptions about your competitors to determine your SEO strategies; For retail industries, web scraping can be used to monitor product pricing and distributions. For example, Amazon may crawl Flipkart and Walmart under the “Electronic” catalog to assess the performance of electronic items.
10. Web scraping can only be used in business
Web scraping is widely used in various fields besides lead generation, price monitoring, price tracking, market analysis for business. Students can also leverage a Google scholar web scraping template to conduct paper research. Realtors are able to conduct housing research and predict the housing market. You will be able to find Youtube influencers or Twitter evangelists to promote your brand or your own news aggregation that covers the only topics you want by scraping news media and RSS feeds.
Dryer, A. J., and Stockton, J. 2013. “Internet ‘Data Scraping’: A Primer for Counseling Clients, ” New York Law Journal. Retrieved from
Frequently Asked Questions about screen scraper chrome
How do I scrape in Chrome?
To start the scraping process, just click on the sitemap tab and select ‘Scrape’. A new window will pop up which will visit each page in the loop and crawl the required data. If you want to stop the data scraping process in between, just close this window and you will have the data that was extracted till then.
What is screen scraping?
Screen scraping is the act of copying information that shows on a digital display so it can be used for another purpose. Visual data can be collected as raw text from on-screen elements such as a text or images that appear on the desktop, in an application or on a website.
Is screen scraping legal?
It is perfectly legal if you scrape data from websites for public consumption and use it for analysis. However, it is not legal if you scrape confidential information for profit. For example, scraping private contact information without permission, and sell them to a 3rd party for profit is illegal.Aug 16, 2021