100 Best Chromebook Tips, Tricks and Time Savers

Getting started with a Google Chromebook is very easy so is being a normal Google Chromebook user. But to be a power user, you need to know some tips, tricks and secrets. Here is a few to get you started!

Towards the end of the list you will find tips mostly found on development channel or beta channel of Chrome OS. So if you are using stable version of Chrome OS and find a feature not working, do not worry, it will be there in few weeks time when Chrome team updates stable version.

Thanks everyone who shared these tips on various forums and communities. A big thankyou to François Beaufort and all my Google Plus friends!


Chromebook Tips, Tricks and Time Savers

  1. My first Google Chromebook tip is, 100 Chrome tips. Confused? Since Chrome OS is mostly Chrome browser, most of the tips that I have listed for Chrome will work for Google Chromebook too. So checkout my 100 Chrome Tips.
  2. Here is a free PDF guide on “Getting Started with Chromebook
  3. What to do When Your Chromebook is Offline
  4. Looking for caps  lock? press ALT + SEARCH
  5. You can configure the Search key to do other things. Go to the settings page and search for Keyboard Settings. On Keyboard Settings page, Search dropdown menu is what you are looking for. You can set it to work as Alt, Ctrl , Caps Lock or disable it.
  6. For Home key, press  CTRL + ALT + Up Arrow. For End key, press CTRL + ALT + Down Arrow.  For Delete key, press ALT + Backspace. You can use the same keyboard shortcut for deleting files from the file manager and Google Drive.
  7. To lock your Chromebook screen, press Ctrl+Shift+L
  8. You can open apps pinned on the taskbar using a keyboard shortcut. ALT + Number, where Number is the position of the app. For example, on the taskbar, the first icon is always the Chrome icon which opens a new tab. Ignore that, assume that the second app pinned there is Gmail. Press ALT + 1 and you will see Gmail opening in a new tab.
  9. How to view BIOS version on your Google Chromebook
  10. How to print from your Google Chromebook
  11. How to access your iTunes library from Google Chromebook by importing your playlists to Google Music
  12. How To Reset Your Chromebook (Factory Reset or Wipe) Easily 
  13. How to Diagnose Wifi and 3G Connection Issues on Your Google Chromebook 
  14. How To Download Torrents on Your Google Chromebook 
  15. Switch To HTML5 for Better Google Music Experience on your Google Chromebook 
  16. Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Reload will make your Chromebook do a barrel roll. Its cool!
  17. To find hundreds of offline apps visit the offline apps section of the Chrome Web Store,  click here.
  18. To take a screenshot, Ctrlwindow switcher.  Take a partial screenshot by selecting the area you want to capture, CtrlShiftoverview. If you are on a Chromebook with touchscreen, go to Settings > More tools > Take screenshot to take screenshot using the touchscreen.
  19. Refresh google drive cache (hold control and press refresh)
  20. Changing your chromebook’s release channel, (software version) is a good idea if you want to experiment or check out new features waiting for general release. To change channels, visit chrome://help and click More Info. You can switch channels here, and with one re-start, you will be on the new release channel you picked.
  21. To insert Unicode characters, press  <Ctrl> + <Shift> + U + The number for the unicode character.
  22. To clear local cache and reload Google Drive, hold Ctrl and then click the Google Drive settings key on Google Drive. You will see those additional options showing up in the settings menu.Update: This does not seem to work now. Go to chrome://drive-internals/ and click “Clear local data” to clear cache.
  23. To open a command prompt, press CTRL + ALT+ T. Once you are on the command prompt, type shell and hit enter to go to shell prompt.
  24. Once you are in the command prompt (CTRL + ALT + T ) you can do SSH using the following format.  ssh username computernameORipaddress. To view available SSH options, type ssh hit enter, and then hit enter one more time.
  25. On an ARM Chromebook, Hold ESC + Refresh buttons then push power to enter developer mode
  26. To view hardware information of your Chromebook while it is booting, press Ctrl + i or Tab + i
  27. To get the version of chrome your Google Chromebook is running using CLI in dev-mode [crosh/shell] type: /opt/google/chrome/chrome –version
  28. To view free space available on your Google Chromebook’s local drive (HDD or SSD) visit chrome://quota-internals/. Alternatively, you can click the gear icon on the Files app to view remaining space.
  29. To enable accessibility options on your Google Chromebook, visit chrome://settings/search#accessibility. You can enable the accessibility menu, spoken feedback and other accessibility options.
  30. Enable tap dragging from settings (accessbility). Search tap dragging from the settings page.
  31. Press Shift + Alt + M to open the file manager
  32. While viewing pictures from the Chrome OS File Manager, press E (as in Editor) to quickly edit the picture using the inbuilt image editor.
  33. If you are experience trouble with 3G or Wifi internet connection on your Google Chromebook, here is a way to start your diagnostic. Visit chrome://diagnostics and test your connection status.
  34. You can create a recovery media right from the Google Chromebook. You need a 4 GB or larger USB flash drive or SD card. This card needs to be wiped completely so make sure you don’t have any data on it. Open up chrome://imageburner and follow on screen instructions.
  35. To view total amount of RAM, open chrome://system, find meminfo and click expand.
  36. To view the mac address of your device, go to Settings, search for Internet Connection. Now, click on the name of the network that you are currently connected to. A popup box with the network information will be displayed. The Hardware address listed there is the MAC address.
  37. To know the bandwidth used by your Chromebook/Chromebox, open chrome://net-internals/#bandwidth
  38. Hold Shift key and click on any app to open it in a separate window,without the addressbar. This makes it look like an app, instead of a website!. You can right click any app to change the way they open by default, for example,  full screen, new tab, new window etc.
  39. How to change MAC address of your Chromebook.
  40. To change the launcher/taskbar position, right click the taskbar and go to Launcher position menu.
  41. Ctrl + S to save webpages for offline reading. (Yes, it works!)
  42. A Simple Method to Upload Music to Google Play from a Chromebook.
  43. How To Add Locally Managed Users in Chrome OS.
  44. On the Ash Try (The small pop up menu you get by clicking the time and profile icon on the bottom right corner of Chrome OS desktop) click the profile icon to easily access profile pic changing settings.
  45. On the file manager, right click Downloads drive to see available space on your Chromebook’s HDD/SD
  46. In Settings search for “Use High Contrast Mode” and enable  to view Google Chrome OS in high resolution.
  47. If you try to open a .swf file (flash) from the Files app, you will get an error saying it is unsupported. Drag the file to a Chrome tab, and it will work fine!
  48. <Alt> + <Shift> + N opens the new messaging/notifications center
  49. Do a Powerwash to Factory Reset your Chrome OS device.
  50. Looking for some help with Chrome OS File Manager? Its here.
  51. 7 things you can do right now to make Chromebook secure.
  52. Accessibility options on Chrome OS, a guide.
  53. Ctrl + M once, minimizes current window, and displays any other window that is open. Keep pressing Alt + – (Alt Key and minus (-) to minimize each open window, till you see the desktop!. On HTML5 videos, this keyboard shortcut works as toggle between fullscreen mode.
  54. On the file manager, Ctrl + E creates a new folder
  55. You can create a new folder (also) by clicking the gear icon on the top right corner of the file manager
  56. On the file manager, while you are dragging and dropping files, hovering over a folder will open it. To open the folder immediately without waiting for it, press the spacebar
  57. To quickly get the IP address and MAC ID of your Google Chromebook, click the Ash Tray (the right end of your taskbar where time and your profile icon) and click the wifi icon, and then the “i” icon.
  58. How To Stop Chromebook From Grouping Windows Per Application
  59. You can access files present on the inbuilt Google Drive app from Chrome omnibar too. Open drive:drive/root/ followed by the file name. Note: it will not work without a file name.
  60. An hidden folder is actually a folder that starts with a dot like “.hidden_folder” for instance. By pressing <Ctrl> + “.” in the Files App, you can quickly toggle hidden folders visibility. It also works with files.
  61. To remove wallpaper images that you added through “Custom” section, right click the image and select Delete.
  62. On the Chrome OS wallpaper picker screen, you can check “Surprise me” to see a random wallpaper each time you login. In future, it will download wallpapers from an RSS feed located at https://commondatastorage.googleapis.com/chromeos-wallpaper-public/wallpaper.rss (not working yet)
  63. How To Use Google DNS Servers On Your Chromebook
  64. How To Keep Chromebook Stay Awake with Screen On
  65. You can rotate Chrome OS screen using this keyboard shortcut. <Ctrl> + <Shift> + <Refresh> . Try portrait mode now!
  66. Here is a very good looking Chromebook User Guide from Samsung.
  67. The keyboard shortcut to rename a file in the Chrome OS Files app is Ctrl + Enter
  68. <Refresh> + <Power> does a cold reboot.
  69. Press Ctrl + Shift + Q , twice (second time for confirmation) to exit
  70. <Shift> + [ ] (F4 or the full screen key) to make a packaged (native) app full screen.
  71. If you are on Developer Mode (not developer channel) you can force an update to Chrome OS by typing the following command in Chrome OS shell update_engine_client -update
  72. If you have a Chromebook Pixel, you can play with the lightbar, control its colors and have fun!
  73. When you open the notifications bar, press the pause button to pause notifications for a day. You can click the Android like clear notifications icon (those three lines!) to clear all notifications at once.
  74. On the Files app (file manager) use the following keyboard shortcuts to navigate: <ctrl> + 1 switches to Google Drive <ctrl> + 2 switches to Downloads <ctrl> + 3 switches to USB Drive
  75. In the latest dev channel release of Chrome OS, enable the chrome://flags/#file-manager-no-checkboxes  flag removes all check boxes from the Files app.
  76. By clicking the Play button or the video while holding <Ctrl>, the video will play in a looped mode.
  77. Here’s a cool keyboard shortcut to manually control the keyboard backlight of your Chromebook Pixel:- <Alt> + <Bright Down> decreases key brightness – <Alt> + <Bright Up> increases key brightness
  78. Pressing the <Ctrl> + <Shift> + 9 keyboard shortcut toggles the Projection Touch HUD. This is useful when you are doing a presentation on a external display, and wants to show your interactions with the touchscreen.
  79. Open chrome://gesture to tweak gesture settings in Chrome OS
  80. You can create shortcuts (on the left sidebar) in the Files app to certain folders. Right click and choose Create shortcut. You can remove the folder by right clicking and choosing “Remove folder” (Currently behind the flag hrome://flags/#file-manager-enable-folder-shortcuts )
  81. If you want to disable touchscreen on your Chromebook, (read Pixel for now) chrome://flags and set the “Touch Events” flag to “Disabled”.
  82. Here is how to use the new “overview mode” on Chromebook. Overview mode is OSX Like Mission Controls Exposé  for Chrome OS. It now works with ALT + TAB
  83. You can access the overview mode with three finger swipe.
  84. Quickly manage displays connected to your Chromebook  with these keyboard shortcuts: <Alt>  + <FullScreen> = Swap primary monitor
    <Ctrl> + <FullScreen> = Mirror monitors
  85. To switch  the virutual keyboard layout, tap long on the keyboard icon to trigger the layout switcher overlay and pick the one you want among the hardcoded System QWERTY ¹ , QWERTY and Dvorak for now.
  86. Under keyboard settings, enable “Treat top-row keys as function keys” to get windows like function keys on your Chromeook.
  87. From settings, check “Enable stick keys” to perform keyboard shortcuts by typing even them sequentially in Chrome OS. In this mode, you can press and release a modifier key such as <Ctrl>, <Alt> or <Shift> and have it remain active until any other key is pressed.
  88. Open chrome://power to  display battery charge percentage over time. This page will be updated soon with more power/battery related information.
  89. While using Chromecast with a Chromebook (ie, casting from a Chromebook), you can close the lid without worrying about losing your content. Chrome OS considers Chromecast similar to an external display and conitnues to cast.
  90. Pressing <shift> while clicking on a Chrome Hosted App in the App Launcher opens it in a window instead of a regular tab by default.
  91. Press and Hold Power Key For a Second to Lock Chromebook’s Screen
  92. On the Camera app, type CRAZYPONY (in caps) to make it a video player and take funny screenshots of the video. Read more here.
  93.  Here is how you switch between multiple accounts on Google Chromebook, <Ctrl> + <Alt> + <Period> and <Ctrl> + <Alt> + <Comma> (keyboard shortcuts.)
  94. You can  do a Power Wash and reset your Chromebook without logging in the device. This is useful if you ever get locked out of a Chromebook. At the first login screen, press Alt+Ctrl+Shift+R and tap the Restart button.
  95. If you have the “Multi Profile” mode enabled, click the dropdown arrow on the profile icon on the login screen to choose another account.
  96. Click and hold your mouse’s middle button on the maximize icon, you will see two arrows, use these to dock the window to the right or left.
  97. Right Click And Pin Your Google Drive Folders on Your Chromebook’s Files App
  98. On the Files app, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-E to eject a removable device.
  99. Turn on/off the touch screen using this keyboard shortcut:  <Search> + <Shift> + T
  100. Turn the touch pad on/off using this keyboard shortcut: <Search> + <Shift> + P

Hope you learned a thing or two here. Please do share this resource with your friends and fellow Chromies!

  • Benji

    Thanks for these! You appeared near the top of searches when I was looking for help with my new CB, and this has been brilliant. Thanks!

  • moe

    very helpful, thanks but now newer version of chrome os came out (version 28) with it a lot of new features however no one is showing how to enable them..

  • Tonnna`y

    Thanks man :-) very helpful indeed….

  • GregF

    I am a computer professional (programmer and systems analyst) and I think Chromebooks are just fantastic, simple, elegance. They do what they do perfectly.

    Thanks so much for all your tips and guides here and for your very well produced PDF guide to using ChromeOS.

    Excellent resource and permanently bookmarked :)

  • http://Google+CommunityChromebookDeutschland thommes

    Minimizing a window with ctrl+m don’t work anymore. Only alt+– does the job, now.

    • http://chromestory.com Dinsan Francis

      thanks! I will update this!

  • Lee

    Thank you for sharing these tips; I’ve only read about 1/3 of the tips so far and it has already helped to enhance my experience.

    Thank once more