9 Effective Chromebooks Tricks You Should Know In 2021

Millions of people are using Chromebooks because they are great for cheap, easy-to-use internet access. Google’s Chrome OS as a stand-alone platform is far newer than Windows and macOS. But despite their simple and “for everyone” nature, not every power feature is easily accessible.

If you’re new or even experienced with the Chromebooks and want to familiarize yourself with all the Chromebook tips for an overall better experience then this post can be suitable for you. To help you to get started, here are a few Chromebook tips and tricks that will advance you to “power user” status in no time.

1. Using the Chrome App launcher as a Calculator

As a starter for the Chromebook tricks, you need to know about Chrome as a Calculator. If you are not so good with numbers we often resort to double-checking our sums using a calculator. In Chrome, you can lessen the hassle of opening an app or launching a website or even reaching for your phone by using the Chrome App Launcher to perform the simple sums instead.

Just like Google the search engine basic sums can be calculated immediately, and it supports the semi-advanced features like the brackets, tan, cos and sine.

2. Phone Unlock

Since Google Chromebooks are tied to your Google account, you need to enter your Google login credentials when the screen is locked. You can avoid this situation with another useful Chromebook trick by using the Android Smart Lock to unlock your Chromebook via Bluetooth whenever it is near to you.

If you haven’t set up your smartphone when you created your Chromebook account, move to Settings, then choose Connected Devices and click on Set Up. Once your android phone is connected, you need to select your device which is followed by Smart Lock to enable the feature.

3. Turn Web Pages Into Chrome Apps

One of the major frustrations you will deal with Chrome OS is poor support for some Android apps. Apps like Discord, Slack, Facebook, and WhatsApp all have some issues, thus making them harder to use than their smartphone counterparts.

Applicationize Me helps you to solve this problem by allowing you to turn any web app into a Chrome App. You can pin apps to the shelf and they will open in a new window when selected after using the ‘Applicationizer’. 

4. Close tabs immediately and open the links in background

Another Chromebook tip, you can easily speed up two common activities that are opening links in background tabs and closing tabs that are already open on the system. This is possible when you own a mouse with a clickable middle button or a Chromebook with a gesture-enabled touchpad. 

If you open the links using Right-Click > Open Link in Background Tab, you should stop that method. It is far faster to just “click” on the link in question with the help of three-finger tap on your trackpad or by clicking the scroll-wheel on your mouse.

The same methods go for closing tabs. You just need to hover over the tab you wish to close and tap with your three fingers or click with your mouses’ third button and it is done!

5. Search Gmail from Omnibar

Google Chrome’s omnibar is far more powerful and extensible than most of you realise. If you add a custom search engine for a specific site, you can quickly drill down to what you need from the URL bar without the need to visit the site first.

Custom search engines’ is the most useful to set up Gmail. With a simple phrase and a tap on the Tab key, you can immediately find what you need, thus cutting out a step or two in the entire process.

If you to set Gmail as a custom search engine in Chrome, follow the steps mentioned below: 

  1. Firstly, Right-click on Google Chrome’s Omni-bar
  2. Now select the ‘Edit Search Engines’
  3. Then Scroll down to the bottom of the window that appears on the system

Now you need to enter the following info:

  • Name as Gmail
  • Keyword as gms
  • And, URL as https://mail.google.com/mail/ca/u/0/#search/%s.
  • You can pick any ‘keyword’ of your choice.

No, you can hit ‘done’. To use the head to the address bar you need to enter ‘gms’, then hit the Tab key and query away!

chromebook tips

6. Learn the keyboard shortcuts

You might know that chrome OS shares many keyboard shortcuts with Windows and macOS and adds a few completely new ones very frequently. Mastering these shortcuts will make your work easier, and help you navigate your Chromebook more quickly. 

For a handy reference to all of the shortcut keys available you need to press and hold Ctrl + Alt and then press / (forward slash).

7. Use third-party DNS

There are several reasons to use third-party DNS or Domain Name Server when you are on the web. Some say it is faster; while others claim they are more secure, and using this is a great way to get around any silly content blocks that may be in place on the servers of the people who provide you with your Internet connection.

Using third party DNS on your Chromebook is pretty easy. Launch the settings page and then click on the name of the network you want to change. In the window that is launched, select the network tab. You can choose which name servers to use at the bottom. You will see automatic and Google options, alternatively you can enter some manually if you know specifically what you want.

8. Use Chrome overview

There is an inbuilt overview mode on your Chromebook that helps you to view every open window at a glance. If you have ever used a Mac, then this is just like Expose. Likewise, it is also just as useful!

Firstly, on the top row of the keyboard, you need to press the []]] button available at the above the 6 key or you can just swipe down from the top with three fingers on your trackpad or touchscreen to move into the overview. Just clicking any of the thumbnails will open that window, and clicking in a blank space will return you to the last window you were on. If you find yourself with a lot of windowed apps running almost every time, then this is a great time-saver.

You can also type to filter what you’re seeing while you are in overview mode. For instance, typing “Google” will only show the windows with the word Google in the title.

9. Refresh your Google Drive cache

Yet another Chromebook tip is to refresh your google drive cache. Just like the local storages, google drive can be used as extra storage by Chromebooks. If you know there is a change in your saved Google Drive files but do not see it, you can yourself refresh your Chromebook’s local Drive cache.

To do so you need to type chrome://drive-internals/ in the omnibar and click the Clear local cache button and the next time you open the file manager you will sync again.

So that was our list of Chromebook tips and tricks that you should know before using Chrome OS. In the past few years, many features have been added to the Chrome OS and it has thus improved by leaps and bounds. We tried to list the best Chromebook tips which can prove to be beneficial for you. 

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