With just a few small tweaks, you get a lot more out of your Chromebook. These 12 tricks and tips will get you started.
Learn keyboard shortcuts
Chrome OS shares many of the keyboard shortcuts with Windows and macOS and adds a few brand new ones. Using these shortcuts will make your life easier and help you navigate your Chromebook faster.
To access all the available keyboard shortcuts, press and hold Ctrl + Alt and then press / (forward slash).
Make better use of screen space
The ability to quickly split the screen between two different programs has traditionally been a feature of window managers on Linux systems. Most operating systems offer split windows and tiling, and Chrome OS is no exception.
To snap a window to half of the screen, hold Alt and press the [to snap to the left side and the] key to snap to the right side. If possible, the split point will be in the middle to provide a good view of both screens.
Want to see something life-size for a moment? Holding Alt followed by = will maximize the focused window to its maximum. When you’re done, press Alt + = to bring him back to your side.
Use virtual desks
Virtual tables are like additional monitors, each with a different layout. They allow you to separate different screens for different tasks and reduce cluttered and crowded digital workplaces.
To create a new table, press the Show Windows key (it looks like a rectangle with two lines on the right). Click the + New Table button and a new table will be created at the top of the screen. Drag the windows you want to place on the new table and click the Show Windows button again to exit.
Now, when you hold down the search button and press], you will be taken to a new virtual table. You can go back by holding Search and pressing the [
Unlock the phone
Since the Chromebook is linked to a Google account, you need to enter your Google password when you sign in and when the screen is locked. You can avoid this with another useful Chromebook trick, using Android Smart Lock to unlock your Chromebook via Bluetooth when it’s around.
If you didn’t set up your phone when you created your Chromebook account, go to Settings> Connected Devices and click Set Up. After connecting your phone, select your device and then tap Smart Lock to enable this feature.
Convert web pages to Chrome apps
One of the biggest disappointments with Chrome OS is poor support for some Android apps Discord, Slack, Facebook and WhatsApp all have issues making them harder to use than their smartphone counterparts.
Applicationize Me solves this problem by allowing you to turn any web app into a Chrome app. After using the Applicationizer, you can pin applications to the shelf and they will open in a new window when selected.
Change your downloads to Google Drive
While you can store files locally on your Chromebook, this is not recommended. The operating system is designed to free up space when the internal drive is nearly full and deletes old files. If you need to run Powerwash on your Chromebook to restore to factory settings, you will also lose your data.
A much safer way is to set your Chromebook downloads folder to Google Drive so you always have a copy of your work in the cloud. To activate this setting, open the Chrome browser, click on the three dots in the upper right corner and select “Settings”.
In the left pane, select More> Downloads and under Location, click Edit. Select the Google Drive folder as the default download location.
If you’d rather use Dropbox or OneDrive over Google Drive, a helpful tip for Chromebooks is that you can add them to the Chromebook’s file menu. Open the Files app, click the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of the window, and choose Add New Service> Install New Service.
The list includes both Dropbox and OneDrive Once installed, they will appear as drives in the left pane of the Files app. You can combine this Chromebook tip with the previous one to keep your Chromebook in sync with your preferred cloud platform.
Use Linux features
To use the Linux virtual machine on Chrome OS, go to Settings> Linux (Beta). After selecting “Enable”, you will be prompted to follow several steps. This may take a few minutes, but once it is done, you can open Terminal by opening the Linux application in the application picture.
Get the Linux app store
Open a Linux application and enter the following:
sudo apt-get install gnome-software gnome-packagekit
After installation, you will need to enter the following commands:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get dist upgrade
When they’re done, restart your Chromebook and you’ll find the Gnome Software Center in the app drawer.
Share your files with Linux
To turn on file sharing, open the Files app and navigate to the file or folder that you want to share on Linux Right-click the file and select Share with Linux You can now open Linux terminal and type / mnt / chromeos to access shared files.
Sync your Linux files with Google Drive
Backing up Linux files on a Chromebook requires more steps than it does on a Chrome OS, but it’s possible. Both Rclone and Drive are command line tools for syncing data with Google Drive Once configured, you can choose how often your files will be backed up and which files and folders to ignore.
Install VS Code
The addition of Linux to Chrome OS has made the Chromebook a convenient machine for web development and general programming. A good code editor is essential, but until recently the options were few.
Headmelted provides the community with Visual Studio Code builds targeting nearly all platforms, including Chromebooks.
Feel free to experiment to get the perfect setting for you, and remember that if things go wrong, you can always rinse your Chromebook with Powerwash and start over!