Chromebooks may be all about simplicity, but don’t be fooled: Below their intuitive outer layer lies a spider web of advanced options. And yous don’t have to be a power user to embrace information technology.
Make your style through this massive collection of next-level tips, and yous’ll exist zipping around Chrome Os like a pro in no fourth dimension.
Getting effectually Chrome Os
1. The Chrome OS launcher — the drawer-similar interface that appears when you tap the Everything key (a.grand.a. the Search primal or Launcher key)
when yous hit the circle icon in the lower-left corner of the screen — is actually a powerful universal search tool. Just start typing as shortly as it appears, and you can discover and open apps, pull up websites, and fifty-fifty get answers to specific questions right and so and there — no clicking or excavation required.
2. The launcher has some easily overlooked extra powers, too. Attempt typing in calculations like
172.iv/3, for instance, or unit conversions similar
14.9 anxiety to meters
to put Google to work at the system level.
3. On most electric current Chromebooks, that same launcher panel is
a portal for interacting with the Google Assistant. And that opens up the door to some interesting Chrome-Os-specific possibilities. Yous could ask Assistant to create a new document, spreadsheet, or presentation, for instance, or inquire it what’south on your agenda for a specific upcoming solar day. (See my listing of 22 worthwhile ways to use Google Banana on a Chromebook for even more useful commands to consider.)
four. Chrome OS has a hidden gesture for accessing the fully expanded app drawer expanse of the launcher, which is especially advantageous when you’re using a Chromebook equally a tablet: Only swipe upward from an open area at the bottom of the screen, and — just like with Android on Google’south Pixel phones — your full listing of installed applications will appear.
5. Desire to become to the fully expanded app drawer area of the launcher without touching your screen? Striking Shift and the Everything key together. Shazam!
6. You tin hibernate the shelf — the row of pinned favorites at the bottom of your screen — either by right-clicking it or long-pressing on information technology and then selecting the “Autohide shelf” option that appears. That’ll cause the shelf to disappear anytime yous have an app or window open and then reappear when yous mouse over its surface area or swipe upward from the bottom of the screen. The shelf will yet always bear witness upward when you lot’re viewing your desktop, likewise.
7. Quickly open up any item on your shelf by pressing Alt and then the number cardinal that corresponds with its position: Alt-ane for the outset app in the listing, Alt-ii for the 2d, and so on.
8. Right-click or long-printing on whatever app in your shelf or within the main launcher to reveal a series of program-specific shortcuts. You lot’ll find the most options with Android apps, many of which offer one-touch links to functions similar composing new messages, starting new documents, or jumping to specific folders or accounts.
ix. Chrome OS boasts a distinctly Android-like combined Quick Settings and notification console in its lower-right corner, and accept note: Y’all tin can open information technology without moving your hands off your keyboard by pressing Shift-Alt-N from anywhere in the system.
Managing apps and windows
ten. Yous might not realize it, but your Chromebook has a handy Overview interface for juggling open apps and windows. Y’all tin can go to it past pressing the button that looks like a box with 2 lines on your keyboard (in the function row, directly to the left of the effulgence controls) — and once there, you can move to whatever other app past clicking its thumbnail or using the Tab primal to focus on it and so hitting Enter.
You tin can close any app, meanwhile, by clicking the “10” in its upper right corner or past swiping upwardly or downwards on it directly on the screen (provided y’all have a Chromebook with a touch on-enabled display, that is; otherwise, all you lot’ll accomplish is creating a smudge and making yourself look empty-headed).
11. Adopt to get effectually with your trackpad? Make a mental note of this handy hidden trick: You lot can swipe upward with iii fingers on your trackpad from anywhere in the system to open the Overview interface and see all of your open apps and windows. You lot can and then swipe downward with 3 fingers to return to your most recently used procedure.
12. When your convertible Chromebook is in its tablet manner (with the keyboard either detached or swiveled around the back), swiping up once from the bottom of the screen will reveal your shelf of pinned favorites. Swiping up again and property your finger down will open that Overview interface, but like information technology does with the electric current Android gesture system, while swiping upwardly and letting become will take you dorsum to your desktop home screen.
xiii. Too in tablet fashion, you can open two apps adjacent in a carve up-screen system by going into the Overview screen and so dragging any app’s thumbnail to the left or correct side of the screen. When you lot see that half of the screen light up, let go — and so either select another active app from the Overview interface or open a new app from your launcher to make full the other half. You lot can gear up this up with any combination of websites, Chrome apps, Android apps, and fifty-fifty Linux apps (more on those in a moment).
xiv. While viewing two apps in that split-screen setup, printing and hold the black bar in the center and drag information technology in either direction to make either side larger or smaller.
15. Prefer a snappier Alt-Tab-like method of switching between processes? Your Chromebook has that, too — quite literally: Merely press Alt-Tab once to toggle dorsum and along between your two most recently used apps or windows, or press and hold Alt-Tab to pull upwardly a quick switching utility that’ll let you move among all of your actively open items.
16. Should yous ever experience the urge to motility backwards in your Alt-Tab list — from right to left instead of left to correct — holding downward Shift along with Alt and Tab will put you in contrary and allow you get it washed.
17. Snap any app or window to the side of your screen by striking either Alt and [ (left bracket) for the left side or Alt and ] (correct subclass) for the right side. Repeat the command a 2d time to return the app or window to its default centered position.
18. You tin minimize an app or window by pressing Alt and – (the minus key). Press that same cardinal sequence again to bring the app or window back upwardly into its previous position.
nineteen. Maximize an app or window by pressing Alt and = (the equals key). Printing that same key sequence again to move the app back into its default centered position.
20. If you tend to go on a lot of stuff open at one time and work on multiple projects at the aforementioned time, remember about using Chrome Os’s Virtual Desks characteristic. Similar the virtual desktop systems on Windows and macOS, Virtual Desks lets yous organize your open up apps and windows into separate work environments. You can create new desks and switch between your current desks by looking for the commands at the acme of the Overview screen. Note, likewise, that you can rename any desk from its default “Desk-bound ane”-style proper noun past clicking on its proper noun and typing whatever you desire into that space.
21. Give your Chromebook’s principal app list some extra organization by creating folders inside the Chrome Os launcher. All you’ve gotta do is click or tap on any app and and then drag it on pinnacle of some other app’due south icon. You can and so click or tap to open the folder and give it a name. And if you always want to take an app
of a folder, just click or tap the app in question and drag it out.
Improving your text input
22. Don’t make yourself utilize that awkwardly oversized on-screen keyboard that comes up past default in a Chromebook’due south tablet way. Instead, tap the tertiary icon forth the keyboard’s peak row — the one that looks like a rectangle with a smaller, darker rectangle within it. That’ll shrink Chrome OS’s keyboard down into a far more than manageable phone-like keyboard that you tin can then move effectually (using the “handle” at the keyboard’s bottom) and identify anywhere you lot like.
23. If handwriting is more your thing, be it with a stylus, your finger, or whatever other appendage, tap the 2nd icon forth the Chrome OS keyboard’s superlative row — the 1 that looks like a hand-drawn squiggle. That’ll requite you an open canvas on which yous can write anything you want past hand and have it converted into text as you become.
24. Chrome Bone’s on-screen keyboard has a built-in microphone icon that makes voice-to-text elementary for tablet use, but you tin actually tap into the same superb dictation system fifty-fifty when using your Chromebook with its physical keyboard. Simply open your Chromebook’s settings (by clicking the clock area in the lower-correct corner of the screen and and then clicking the gear icon in the panel that pops upwards). Click “Avant-garde” and so “Accessibility” in the left-sidebar menu, then click “Manage accessibility features” and activate the toggle next to “Enable dictation (speak to type).”
That’ll put a pocket-size microphone icon in the lower-right corner of your screen, next to the notification panel, and you tin then tap it anytime to start speaking and have your words transcribed wherever your cursor is active.
25. Find yourself missing the Caps Lock key? Printing the Everything key and Alt together to actuate Caps Lock. When yous’re gear up to STOP SHOUTING, use that same fundamental sequence to switch back to normal text.
26. Alternatively, if you
miss Caps Lock — and don’t mind giving up Chrome Bone’s Everything key to take it — yous can remap the Everything key then that it functions as Caps Lock by opening your Chromebook’s settings, clicking “Device” in the sidebar, and so selecting “Keyboard.”
27. You’d be forgiven for declining to notice, merely your Chromebook has a born clipboard history function you can use to glance at your most recently copied items and and then pull whatsoever of ’em upward on need. But hit the Everything primal and V together. You’ll encounter your nigh recently copied items, whether they’re text or images, and yous can then click on whichever ane you want to insert into an open field.
28. Find the perfect emoji to lighten upwardly an email, visitor tweet, or Slack conversation past pressing the Everything key, Shift, and the space bar together. That’ll open up Chrome OS’south handy emoji picker, and from there, selecting the symbol you want is as easy equally 🥧.
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