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Quick Access to Screenshots and Downloads from Shelf – new Chromebook Productivity Feature

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Google is adding a new productivity feature to Chrome OS. This will be called “Holding Space” and will give quick access to screenshots and downloaded files from the system tray (shelf).

Update: Video

First Look - 'Holding Space' for Chromebooks

Holding Space

2020 seems to be the year of productivity features for Chrome OS. We recently saw the plans to add screen recording. We will also see improvements to the Expose feature (ALT + TAB) soon.

Today, however, I want to talk to you about Holding Space.

I spotted this code change request and the experimental flag for Holding Space today.

I’ll start with the flag name and description because that gives a complete picture of what this feature can do.

Quick access to screenshots, downloads, and files test: Enables quick access to screenshots, downloads, and important files which aims to increase productivity by saving time. When enabled, access recent screenshots and downloads from the shelf. Pin important files with the Files App context menu to keep them one click away.”

Quick access to screenshots and downloads

We do not know how the “Holding Space” bar will look like. It is safe to assume that it will resemble the Phone Hub implementation.

Here is a screenshot from the recent Canary channel update:

At present, we have the option to access screenshots from the notification area. Downloads appear on the Chrome toolbar at the bottom.

This, however, is not very productivity friendly.

Your screenshot will be buried among other notifications. Accessing downloaded files from the Chrome bar at the bottom will get difficult as you download more files. (Unless you clear downloads from the bar.)

Now, imagine an icon on your taskbar where you can find your recent downloads and screenshots. You will easily develop muscle memory to access it because the position will not change.

You don’t have to go looking for your screenshots from the long list of notifications.

As a bonus, you will be able to drag and drop files from Holding Space.

Pin important files

Another productivity-friendly feature of the Holding Space will be the ability to pin files.

Imagine you have a file that you might need throughout the day. You can right-click the file from the Files app and choose “Pin”. This file will be available in the Holding Space.


To me, Holding Space sounds like a productivity-boosting feature. As someone who writes a lot from (and about) Chromebooks, I can see this improving my workflow.

However, this feature might change its name or features before it reaches the Stable channel.

We will keep an eye on this for you as this feature progresses. Subscribe to Chrome Story’s YouTube channel for an early look hands-on video when that happens.

Do you think this will improve your productivity? Let me know in the comments section below.

Source: Chromium Gerrit.

One response to “Quick Access to Screenshots and Downloads from Shelf – new Chromebook Productivity Feature”

  1. Pooja Avatar

    I accidentally clicked the hide preview button on the shelf, how do I get them back?

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