Tips And Tricks For Chromebooks And Chrome OS

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Chromebooks are excellent for accessing the internet at a low cost and with ease. On the other hand, Chrome OS is much newer than Windows and macOS as a stand-alone platform. When moving away from Apple and Microsoft, there is a steep learning curve.

If you’re new to Chromebooks, get to know all of the nooks and crannies for a better overall experience. Here are a few pointers to get you started on your way to becoming a “power user” in no time.

Make use of the map of shortcuts.

We could write an entire post listing all of Chrome OS’s keyboard shortcuts, but why bother? You can see them all at any time by pressing the following keys at the same time:

Ctrl + Alt +? is a combination of the keys Ctrl and Alt.

This brings up a window that divides all keyboard shortcuts into six categories. Click the X button to close the shortcut map.

Make use of Unicode characters.

Do you require the use of Unicode characters? On a Chromebook, you can do that. All you need is the Unicode number, which is listed here, and the key combination. Here’s what you should type:

Ctrl + U + number is a combination of the keys Ctrl and U.

Type Ctrl + U + 2122 to get the trademark symbol, for example.

Make use of the overview mode.

Want to see all of your open windows and desktops on one screen? To activate this mode, swipe three fingers down on your touchscreen or trackpad.

You can also use the F5 key or the Show windows button.

Check Out: Using a Chromebook To Take a Screenshot

Make a new desktop.

Chromebooks, like Windows and macOS, can create new virtual desktops out of the box. This enables you to assign different windows to different desktops, allowing you to organize more complex projects without becoming disorganized or overburdening any single desktop.

To create a virtual desktop, press and hold the following keys at the same time:

= Shift + Search

You can also use the steps below to create and manage virtual desktops:

Step 1: Swipe down on your touchscreen or trackpad with three fingers. Alternatively, press the F5 key or the Show windows button.

Step 2: In the top right corner, tap or click New Desk.

In a ribbon running along the top edge of your screen, you’ll see the new desktop listed next to your original desktop. By clicking the “x” on the virtual desktop’s thumbnail, you can delete it.

Change the position of the Shelf.

The Shelf is placed at the bottom of the screen by default, but it does not have to stay there indefinitely. Chrome OS also allows you to move your taskbar to the top or sides if you prefer.

Step 1: Right-click on the Shelf and select Properties.

Step 2: Hover the cursor over the popup menu’s Shelf Position option.

Step 3: From the extended menu, choose Left, Bottom, or Right.

Zoom and change the resolution.

You have two options if text or images on your Chromebook are difficult to see (especially on newer high-resolution screens).

The first is display scaling, which scales fonts, icons, and other elements without sacrificing visual fidelity, regardless of the setting. This is distinct from changing the resolution in Windows, which can result in unattractive visuals if the resolution is reduced below your screen’s native resolution.

Step 1: Go to the system clock and click it.

Step 2: On the popup menu, select the gear icon. This brings up the settings menu.

Step 3: On the left, click the Device.

Step 4: On the right, click to expand the Displays list.

You’ll notice a slider ranging from Small to Large, as shown above. It’s set to Small or 100 percent by default, which is the native resolution of your display. The slider can be moved in nine increments up to 200 percent, but it is still based on the native resolution of your screen.

A 1,920 x 1,080 screen scaled at 200 percent, for example, appears to be 960 x 540, but everything is scaled up and crisp. Despite all the larger elements, the resulting image is still 1,920 x 1,080 if you took a screenshot.

There are keyboard shortcuts that accomplish the same thing:

Ctrl + Shift + “plus” to scale up

Ctrl + Shift + “minus” = scale down

Ctrl + Shift + 0 = Reset scale

If the menus and other interface elements are acceptable, but you want to change the text and image scale on a single website, type:

Ctrl + “plus” to zoom in

Ctrl + “minus” to zoom out

Ctrl + 0 to reset zoom

Do the following to change the default zoom and font size for all web pages:

Step 1: Launch Chrome.

Step 2: In the top right corner, click the three-dot Customize and Control icon.

Step 3: From the drop-down menu, choose Settings.

Step 4: On the left, click Appearance.

Step 5: Toggle between five font sizes using the drop-down menu next to Font Size.

Step 6: Toggle the zoom between 25 and 500 percent using the popup menu next to Page Zoom.

As a pro, you’ll be able to multitask with ease.

Chrome OS, like Windows 10, allows you to “snap” windows to the sides of your screen, effectively splitting your screen in half. For example, you can have a browser on the left and Google Docs on the right, both taking up the entire screen — no stacked or floating windows necessary.

Step 1: To snap your first window to the left, press Alt + [ on your Keyboard. To “un-snap,” type it again later.

Step 2: To snap your second window to the right, select it and press Alt + ]. To “un-snap,” type it again later.

Alternatively, you can click and drag a window to your screen’s left or right edge by holding down the left or right mouse button. When the target half is filled, release the mouse button. Replace the second window and repeat the process.

Take a screenshot.

Every operating system handles screenshot capture differently, which can be aggravating if you’re using a Chromebook keyboard that doesn’t support the Print Screen key. But don’t worry: capturing a screenshot is just as simple, albeit in a slightly different way:

Ctrl + Shift to another window (F5)

Check out our dedicated guide for more information on taking a screenshot on a Chromebook.

Activate Caps Lock once more.

Chromebooks’ default keyboard layout replaces the Caps Lock key with a Search button that launches the Google Search popup. There’s an easy way to get your Caps Lock key back if you use it (or if you just like shouting at people with all-caps text).

Step 1: Go to the system clock and click it.

Step 2: On the popup menu, select the gear icon. This brings up the settings menu.

Step 3: On the left menu, select Device.

Step 4: On the right, under Device, click to expand Keyboard.

Step 5: Select Caps Lock from the drop-down menu next to Search.

You can remap the Ctrl, Alt, Esc, and Backspace keys in addition to the Search key. You can also turn off all five.

Activate the Task Manager.

Despite its web-based origins, Chrome OS, like Windows and macOS, includes a Task Manager. You can see what’s eating up your Chromebook’s memory, CPU, and network bandwidth with this tool. Type the following to open Task Manager:

Esc + Search

You can also use Chrome to access Task Manager:

Step 1: In the top right corner, click the three-dot Customize and Control button.

Step 2: In the drop-down menu, select More Tools until a roll-out menu appears.

Step 3: Select Task Manager from the drop-down menu.

Select a task from the list and click the End Process button to complete it.

Examine the system’s data.

Unlike Windows and macOS, there is no comprehensive hardware list. Instead, open Chrome and navigate to the About System page. Besides the current Chrome OS version, the average Chromebook owner may not understand what the information provides.

Type the following into Chrome’s Omnibox to get this information:

https://system/chrome

Examine your storage options.

Because it is primarily web-focused, a Chromebook isn’t ideal if you need a lot of storage. Chromebooks typically have 16GB or 32GB of storage, even if they have Android functionality. If your Chromebook supports it, you can expand the storage with an SD card. They’re simple to locate and even simpler to set up.

Do the following to see how much space is available on your local drive:

Step 1: On the Shelf, click the Files icon. It has the appearance of a folder.

Step 2: Open the app and tap the three-dot More button in the top right corner. The total amount of storage is shown at the bottom of the menu.

To find out how much space you have on an SD card, perform the following steps:

Step 1: On the Shelf, click the Files icon. It has the appearance of a folder.

Step 2: Select the SD Card from the left-hand menu.

Step 3: With the app open, go to the top right corner and tap the three-dot More button. The total amount of storage is shown at the bottom of the menu.

Files and folders that are hidden should be visible.

By default, Chrome OS hides all files and folders with names that begin with a period. Following these two steps will help you find them:

Step 1: On the Shelf, click the folder icon. This launches the Files application.

Step 2: Hold down the Ctrl and Period keys.

The files will be hidden if you repeat these steps.

Chromebook advantages are available.

Google gives you a number of benefits when you get your new Chromebook. As a result, you have an excellent opportunity to test apps and services that you would not otherwise have access to. While the list of perks is constantly changing, here is a list of current perks:

  • Calm Premium for one month
  • Clipchamp Business Platinum for two months
  • Disney+ for three months
  • YouTube Premium for three months
  • Squid Premium for six months
  • Dropbox storage for 12 months (100GB)
  • Google One has been running for twelve months (100GB)
  • VSCO membership for a year
  • Stadia Pro for three months
  • Nvidia GeForce Now for three months
  • Project Highrise is a free online game.
  • Da Vinci’s House is a free game.
  • An in-app item pack for Fallout Shelter is available for free.
  • Duet Display is a free app.

Read Also: Resetting a Chromebook

Wipe your Chromebook

If you want to sell your computer, you’ll need to delete all of your files as well as any other unnecessary apps or downloads. Powerwash is a feature that restores your computer to its original state by removing personal information and restoring it its original state. However, unlike Windows 10, you can’t keep files on the Device and only reset the operating system settings. To use Powerwash, you must first back up all of your files and save them to an external hard drive.

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