11 tips for super-fast web browsing on Chromebook

Chromebooks may not be everything on the web like they were in their early days, but you better believe the browser still plays a central role in the Chrome OS experience.

And aside from the standard browser basics, Chromebooks have some pretty nifty shortcuts for navigating those old internet networks and getting things done. In fact, some of the best Chromebook timesavers explicitly relate to the “Chrome” part of the equation.

Take note of these not-at-all-obvious Chromebook browsing tips and prepare to shave all sorts of seconds when browsing the web (for purely business reasons, of course).

1. Got a Chromebook with a touchscreen? Note: In any standard browser window, you can swipe in from the left side of the screen to go back one page in your browsing history. Swiping to the right, meanwhile, will propel you forward.

2. No touch screen? No problem: You can accomplish the same site-hopping feat by swiping inward on either side of your trackpad on any Chromebook — or by pressing Alt and the left or right arrow key on your keyboard.

3. Speaking of trackpad, in a window with multiple tabs, try swiping left or right on your trackpad with Three fingers. This will take you from tab to tab – no clicks or mouse moves required.

4. Here’s another three-digit trick for you: Next time you want to open a link as a new tab, save a step and just click the link with three fingers side-by-side on your trackpad. This will instantly open the link in a new tab in the background, without all the typical extra steps.

5. When it’s time to close a specific tab on your Chrome OS computer, first launch this song Semisonic from 1998, then move your mouse to the tab title bar and click your trackpad with three fingers. The tab will be gone before those angelic voices even come into play.

6. Attention, Chromebook tablet mode worshippers: Swipe down from the top of your screen when a tab is open to reveal a special touch-sensitive tab strip that makes it easier than ever to view and move between everything of your open tabs.

06 tab bar chrome os JR Raphael/IDG

The tab bar in Chrome OS tablet mode is a great tool – if you know how to find it.

7. The next time you need to open the main Chrome browser menu, remember this helpful rhyme: the key to joy isn’t a pony; he uses a Chromebook and presses Alt-E. (Hey, give me a break, will you? I never claimed to be a professional poet.)

8. Another key combination to remember is Ctrl-N. This will open a new browser window from the Chrome OS desktop and many other parts of the operating system.

9. Give yourself easy on-demand access to any website you visit often by adding it to your Chromebook’s shelf — you know, that strip of pinned icons along the bottom edge of your screen. All you need to do is open the Chrome browser menu when viewing the site (remember our little rhyme?!), then select “More tools” followed by “Create shortcut”.

10. If you have a shortcut to a website in your Chromebook’s shelf and you want it to look more like a standard app – without the traditional browser-oriented elements – right-click or long-press its icon, hover over the arrow next to “New Tab” and select “New Window” from the panel that appears.

10 chrome os site like window JR Raphael/IDG

You can make any website look more like an app with your Chromebook’s option to open it as a window.

11. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can take it a step further and turn any website into a real Chrome extension – with any icon and color scheme you want – by following the steps in this guide .

Want even more next-level Chrome OS knowledge? Then check out my collection of 50 tips for maximum Chromebook productivity. Your journey of improving the Chromebook has only just begun, and more tasty time-savers are just around the corner.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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