Chrome tips

Helpful Chrome OS Shortcuts

While there are endless keyboard shortcuts on Chrome OS, here are some crucial ones that will help you navigate through Chrome OS like a pro.

  • Search for anything: Press the Search button
  • Trigger Google Assistant: Search + A
  • Lock your Chromebook: Search + L
  • Take a Screenshot: Ctrl + Overview button (you will find it just above the 6 key)
  • Delete: Alt + Backspace
  • Snap Windows to left/right: Alt + ] and Alt + [
  • Keyboard Cheatsheet: Ctrl + Alt + ?

Virtual Desktop

Users have been asking for a virtual desktop environment on Chrome OS for quite some time. Finally, it’s available in the stable channel starting with Chrome OS 78. For multi-taskers, it’s a huge help as it lets them focus on important things first. So here is how you can access it. Just do a 3-finger slide up gesture and you will find the “New Desk” option on the top-right corner. Alternatively, you can use these shortcuts as well: Shift + Search + = to create new virtual desktop and Shift + Search + – to delete one. You can switch between them using Search + ] and Search + [ shortcuts.

Set a Pin for a Seamless Login

As we already know, Chromebook is deeply tied to our Google account. So, before accessing anything, we have to enter our Google account password every single time. I find it very tiring and frankly a chore. Coming from a Windows PC, I want to set a pin for hassle-free login and thankfully, now Google allows you to set a PIN. To create a PIN, open Settings (Cogwheel icon) from Quick Settings menu and open “Screen lock and sign-in” under the “You and Google” section. Here, enter your Google account password for the last time and set a 6-digit Pin. Voila, you are done.

Enable Offline Mode

You can enable Offline Mode on Chromebook for Google Docs and Drive. For Google Docs, install this extension first and turn on the checkbox for “Offline” Mode from here. You can also make a particular document offline by going to the Files menu and checking the option for “Make available Offline”. However, make sure to modify all these settings while you are connected to the internet.

Master Search on Chromebook

The best part about Chromebook is that Google Search is integrated across the system and the web. So, just press the dedicated search button on your keyboard and start typing and hit enter. No need to open Chrome then open a new Chrome tab and look for things. No matter where you are– under the Settings page or in Chrome itself– the search button always opens the result in a new tab instantly. I would say it’s better than opening a tab through Ctrl + T shortcut. Other than that, you can also search for Chrome apps and settings through the search button.

Summon Google Assistant

You can also get your things done through Google Assistant, similar to what you can do on your smartphone. It works quite well and does not have any limitation in comparison to the Assistant on our Android smartphones. Just press “Search” and “A” keys simultaneously on your keyboard and Google Assistant will pop-up, ready to listen to your command. You can also trigger Google Assistant through voice. Open Settings and click on “Search and Assistants” in the left-pane menu. Here, click on “Google Assistant” and enable the toggle for “Ok Google”.

Enable Caps Lock

I know the frustration when you find out Chromebooks don’t have a dedicated Caps Lock button. But worry not, you can enable it easily by pressing the “Search” and “Alt” keys at once. A notification will pop-up that Caps Lock has been turned on it will remain there until you turn off Caps Lock using the same shortcut. I know it’s not straightforward, but at least there is a way out.

Navigate Chrome OS Through Gestures

Unlike Windows and macOS, you don’t have a range of gestures on Chrome OS. However, you can access the overview window by a simple 3-finger slide up/down gesture. Also, if you are in the Chrome browser, you can use the 3-finger slide in the left and right direction to move between the tabs effortlessly. This is one of the best gestures I have found on Chrome OS and I use it regularly while multi-tasking. Apart from that, you can close a tab by simply tapping 3 fingers at once on a Chrome tab.

Preview Files Quickly

Sure, the file manager is not that great on Chrome OS, but I love the fact that it has a quick preview shortcut for any file, similar to what we have on macOS. Just select a file and press the “Space” key. Instantly, the file will be previewed in a large window with all the details (file size, format, etc.) in the right pane. Besides that, you can also switch between files while being in the preview mode and exit it by pressing the “Esc” key. It’s these small things that make Chrome OS a delight to use.

Touchpad Scrolling Behavior

Many people who are coming from Windows PC find the default scrolling behavior on Chrome OS the opposite and frankly, it was quite jarring for me too. However, there is a way to change the scrolling behavior from the Settings page. Click on “Device” from the left menu and open “Mouse and touchpad”. Here, scroll down and change the scrolling to “Australian” which is also called natural scrolling on macOS.

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