Here’s What Every Chromebook User Should Know

If you have recently switched to Chromebook, it may take a while for you to adjust to the new operating system. A Chromebook is nothing like your traditional laptops. It is an online computer that solely functions on a web browser. You can’t use it as a traditional laptop to download files, use it for offline playback, or play games.

In order to give you a heads up, we have created this list of things that you should get yourself accustomed to. Here’s what every Chromebook user should know:

1. The Multiple User Profiles Feature

Got multiple users using your Chromebook? Make sure you keep your files and settings private by creating multiple user profiles. Each profile gets its own logins and keeps its own settings, apps, and preferences.

This is especially useful if you have kids using your Chromebook. You can install Google Family Link on your Chromebook to create a supervised account for your kids. It will be a safe account where you can control what they have access to.

2. The Guest Mode

The Guest Mode in Chromebooks is ideal for you if your friends or coworkers often ask you for your Chromebook to check their mail or for a quick browse. The Guest Mode allows anyone to use your devices without seeing your own data, including your downloads, apps, bookmarks, and browser history. So you can confidently hand over your device to them.

Once the guest has used your devices, you won’t have to manually wipe off their search history, etc., because the guest mode will automatically wipe away any traces of their usage. Remember, this is nothing like the Incognito Mode in Google Chrome.

3. Use Your Websites as Apps

If you know about Chromebooks, then you would know that the apps in Chromebooks are basically websites that look like apps. So you can basically use any website as an app and keep it open in a new window like you would for an app.

To turn your websites into apps, go to Chrome, go to your desired website, and on the top right corner of the page, click on the three-dot button. Now go to More Tools and click on Create Shortcut. Name your app and remember to check Open as Window to open it in a separate window. Lastly, click on Add.

4. The App Folders

If you use your Chromebook all the time, you will get annoyed by the hundreds of apps installed and accumulated on your Chromebook. You can use the App Launcher to quickly search and launch your desired app. But there’s also something else that you can do to organize your apps.

Use App Folders in Chromebook! Open App Launcher and go to All Apps. Now drag any app into another app icon to create a folder of the two. This is similar to iOS app folders. You can drag and drop as many app icons as you want to create app folders. Rename the folder by clicking on it and changing the “Unnamed Folder” to your desired name.

5. Use Separate Windows to Open Windows

As you know by now that Chromebook apps are basically websites in disguise, you may not like that each opens in the browser. But don’t worry. You can open any installed apps in separate windows.

To do so, go to App Launcher and navigate to your desired app. Right-click on the app and click on Open as Window. That’s how easily you can open that app in a new window and not in Chrome. It will make you feel like you have a traditional laptop.

6. The Preview Files Feature

You know how Finder on macOS lets you highlight any file and preview it by pressing Spacebar? You don’t even have to open the file to view it. Turns out, Chromebooks have a similar feature.

To preview your files without actually launching them on your Chromebook, go to Files, select your desired file without opening it, and press the Spacebar button. You will see a preview with some file details such as the file size, type, the time it was last modified, etc. You will also see details about specific file types, such as tags for MP3 files. You can even preview images and audio files.

7. Force Quit Frozen Apps

You may not find your apps freezing on the Chromebook as often as they do on a typical Mac or Windows laptop. But if you ever do have frozen apps, just open the Task Manager on your Chromebook by using the Search button and Escape shortcut on your keyboard.

Once the Task Manager is open, find the files that are frozen, click on them and then click on End Process. It is a crucial system feature in Chrome OS that you can use any time your apps are acting up. How convenient, right?

8. For Reboot a Frozen System

You will probably never run into frozen systems on your Chromebook, but in the rare case that you do, the Task Manager will either not open, or even if it opens, it won’t be able to unfreeze your system. In that case, your last option is to hard reboot your Chromebook.

Every Chromebook has a set of media keys on the keyboard which is above the number keys row. You will find a Refresh key among these media keys that resembles a circular arrow. You will also find a Power key in this row that resembles a circle with a vertical line on top of it.

Press both the Power and Refresh keys simultaneously to reboot your system. Hard rebooting your system will lose any data that is unsaved in open apps. So be prepared for it.

9. The Search Key

One thing that you would notice in any Chromebook is that it comes without a Command or a Windows key. Instead of these keys, Google has added a Search Key in place of the Caps Lock Key. This Search Key will quickly launch the App Launcher. Although you may find it weird that the Caps Lock key is missing and you have to use the Search Key instead, but you will get used to it.

Here are three cool ways you can use the Search Key.

  • Use it to immediately launch any app by entering the app name. It’s just like typing and finding the app in Windows Start Menu or Mac Spotlight.
  • Use it to immediately open a website by entering its URL or enter a search engine query.
  • Use it to activate voice search on your Chromebook once you click on the microphone button.

10. Rebind Special Keys

There are five special keys on Chrome OS that you can rebind according to your convenience. These keys include the Search, Ctrl, Alt, Backspace, and Escape keys. You can rebind these five keys to any of the other five special keys as well as Google Assistant, Disabled, and Caps Lock.

Don’t like the location of the Search key? No problem! You can rebind it to Caps Lock or disable it. To rebind the keys, click on the profile icon at the bottom right of the Chromebook and then click on the cog icon. A Settings window will open. Now go to Device > Keyboard.

Rebind the desired keys using the drop-down menus. There is also a checkbox to convert your top-row media keys into function keys.

11. Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts

In addition to having the rebind keys option, Chromebook also comes with various keyboard shortcuts that are going to prove quite useful for any Chromebook user. There are multiple keyboard shortcuts to carry out system functions using the keyboard.

And don’t worry! These shortcuts are not difficult to learn. Just hit the CTRL + ALT + ? keys simultaneously, and you will find the Chromebook shortcut glossary. Learn all the useful shortcuts from the glossary, or just open the glossary any time you want to enter a shortcut.

You can also type a letter in the glossary to immediately find your desired shortcuts. Either type in the letter or press the key to finding the shortcut. The glossary has every single shortcut there is in Chromebooks. So you can easily find the desired shortcuts that you are looking for.

Final Thoughts

So that’s a list of what every Chromebook User should know. Now that you know the most important things about Chromebooks and how you can use them more efficiently, go ahead and explore these options in your Chromebook! You will see how convenient and easy it is to use it.

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