The Chromebooks have conquered a vast slice of the market in recent years. These are lightweight, space-saving, and inexpensive tools that allow you to perform all basic PC-related operations in the best possible way.
The best Chromebooks on the market are refined tools, capable of competing with laptops for power and utility. However, if you own one of these amazing products, you are probably not using it to its full potential.
In this article, we’ve collected 22 tips for pushing your machine to the max.
1- Use third party DNS
There are many reasons to use third-party DNS when you are on the web and no matter what type of computer you are using. Some say they are faster, some claim to be more secure, still, others use them to avoid blocks related to the origin of their IP.
The fact is, activating them on your Chromebook is anything but complicated. Open the Settings page and click on the name of the network you want to change. In the window that appears, choose your network card. Below, you can choose which nameservers to use. You will see the automatic options or those offered by Google, or you can enter some manually if you know exactly how to do it (if you are new to it, stick to the previous two choices to avoid making trouble).
2- How to type Unicode characters
Your Chromebook has a full keyboard, but sometimes you want to type a character that doesn’t have its key, like æ or Ü or ʓ. You can even put several together to get fun “emojis”: to do that, you’ll need to type in what’s called a Unicode character.
Knowing what Unicode characters are is not something fundamental, since the only information of interest to you is the Unicode code for the symbol of your interest. Once you know, typing them is easy – just press Ctrl + U + the appropriate numbers, and the specific character will appear at that precise location.
3- Overview of using Chrome
There’s a built-in panorama mode on the Chromebook that lets you see every open window with a single glance. If you’ve ever used a Mac, it’s the equivalent of Expose, even when it comes to extreme utility.
On the top row of the keyboard, press the  key (above the 6 key ) or swipe up and down with three fingers on the trackpad or touchscreen to access the feature. Clicking on one of the thumbnails will open that window and clicking in space will return you to the last window you were viewing. If you find yourself with a lot of windowed apps always running, this is a great way to save time.
Not only that: while in panorama mode, you can type to filter what you are seeing. For example, typing Google will only display windows with the word Google in the title.
4- See all your keyboard shortcuts
By now you know that Chrome OS is full of handy keyboard shortcuts for things like reloading a page or going to your home page in the browser. There are so many of them that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them.
Fortunately, there is a mode that comes to the rescue: press Ctrl + Alt + ? and you’ll see a list of all the shortcuts available on your Chromebook.
5- Update the Google Drive cache
Chromebooks can use Google Drive as additional storage, and this works much like a common local hard drive / SSD. If you know there’s a change in your saved Google Drive files but you don’t see it, you may need to manually refresh the local Drive cache from your Chromebook.
In Omnibar, type chrome: // drive-internals / and click the Clear Local Cache button. The next time you open the file manager, do the sync again and the problem should be resolved.
6- Take advantage of the benefits of the Chromebook
Part of the value of a Chromebook lies in the extras you get with the purchase of this machine. When you buy a computer with Chrome OS, you don’t just get a computer – Google also offers you some pretty cool freebies. To directly view the perks offered by Google, we recommend that you visit the special page dedicated to offers.
Among the many we can mention:
- Up to 15% discount on a Western Digital or SanDisk storage device applicable to your Chromebook
- One-month trial of Quicken’s Simplified
- A three-month trial of SoundCloud Go +
- One month free of Artboard Studio
- One month free of Codeacademy
- One month free of Framer
- Two months free of Clipchamp Business Platinum
- Two months free of DocuSign
- Three months free of Stadio Pro
- Three months free of Clip Studio Paint
- Two free months of Adobe Spark
- A free copy of the Tayasui Sketches app
- Three months free of Canva Pro
- Two months free of Kapwing Pro
- Three months free of YouTube Premium
- 12 months of 100GB Google One storage
- One month trial of PicsArt Gold
- A free copy of Old School Runescape
- Two months free of BeFunky Plus
- Three months free of KineMaster Premium
- 12 months subscription to VSCO
- Six months free of Squid Premium
- 12 months of 100GB Dropbox space
- A free copy of Project Highrise.
Please note: Offers expire 60 days after you first associate a Google account with your Chromebook, so be sure to use them before they run out. They change from time to time too, but you will always find some interesting freebies that are worth getting your hands on.
7- Change the position of the shelf
By default, the Chromebook shelf (the taskbar) is at the bottom of the screen, but you can also set it to the right or left side.
Just right-click on it and select the Shelf Position menu to choose a placement that best suits your needs.
8- Use an SD card for additional storage
Most Chromebooks offer an SD card slot, be it microSD or standard. While the SD card slot is useful for transferring images from your camera and uploading them to Google Drive, or for moving files between computers, for many people it can be more useful as semi-permanent external storage.
Since you often won’t have more than 32GB of internal storage (unless you’ve already “upgraded”) on your Chromebook, you may find yourself wanting more. In the case of adding, the SD card appears in the Files app, just like another folder, which you can then use as you like.
9- Show hidden files and folders
The file manager hides the names of folders and files starting with a period (such as . Filename, for example). They are usually files and folders that you shouldn’t change unless you know what you are doing.
If you want to see hidden files, open the File Manager and press Ctrl + . (period) to view them along with other files and folders.
10- Share your Chromebook with others (safely)
When you first set up your Chromebook, it appears to be tied to your personal Google account. But one of the advantages of Chrome OS is the ability for any machine to work with any Google account.
When you’re on your Chromebook’s lock screen, you can click Sign Out in the bottom left corner and allow someone else to sign in with their Google account. They will not have access to your primary account and all their previous activities on any other Chrome device will be configured on this new computer in their profile.
If you just want to hand your Chromebook over to someone else for a quick search or something simple, use guest mode from the lock screen. Nothing done in guest mode will be linked to your Google account and everything will be completely deleted as soon as the guest account logs out.
If you prefer to lock your Chromebook so that only specific people (or only you) can access it, go to the settings menu and, in the Users area, limit access on the device to specific accounts only.
11- Take a screenshot
You can take a screenshot on a Chromebook as easily as you can on any other computer. Whether you need to save the information or just help someone by showing a picture of what’s going on on your display, taking a screenshot is super easy.
Hold down the control key and press the activity switch key ]] to capture the screen. You’ll get a desktop notification to click and view the screenshot, or you can always locate the “snap” later by opening the Files app.
12- View all information about your system
This option can be considered a nerd thread since it allows you to deepen the characteristics of the system in use in an almost maniacal way.
In the Omnibox, type chrome: // system to see a GUI full of system information. You will find everything there is to know about your CPU, memory, current session, and more: it’s all structured in an easy-to-read way and you will discover all the “secrets” of your Chromebook.
We can’t promise you will understand everything you see in there, as Google hasn’t gone too far to accurately explain each rumor, but a lot of this information can help understand the Chromebook’s true potential.
13- Use Powerwash to reset the Chromebook
If you want to remove your Google account and information from your Chromebook and restore it to its original state, it only takes two mouse clicks in the settings to use a feature called Powerwash.
Go into your settings and search for Powerwash in the search bar, or go to advanced settings and find it at the bottom. Click the button, then confirm and your Chromebook will reset, returning exactly as it did the day you unpacked it.
14- Open a new tab easily
Whenever you are in the web browser and want to open a new tab, there is an easy way to do it!
Hover over the shortcut, use the three-finger tap gesture on the trackpad. This is much faster than right-clicking (with two fingers on the trackpad) and choosing to open the link in a new tab.
15- Learn to love the launcher
Chrome OS has a launcher just like an Android phone: it is a sort of “drawer” that opens every time you tap search or click on the circular icon near the lower-left corner of the screen. And it’s pretty useful as a function.
A great tip is to know that as soon as it opens, you can start typing (just like the Windows 10 Win key interface) things like “ How much is 20 degrees Celsius in Fahrenheit? “Or” what is 112,564 divided by 11? ”And you will have a quick answer. Searches can be internal to the operating system or done directly on the web.
16- Quick opening of your apps
You can add any app to the Chromebook shelf by right-clicking (two fingers on the trackpad) on its icon while the app is open and choosing the appropriate item from the menu. This will leave the icon there as a shortcut even when you close the app.
You can also quickly open these apps by pressing the Alt key and the app number, depending on where it is on the shelf. For example, pressing Alt and 2 will open the second app you added to the shelf. Of course, this shortcut works for up to nine apps.
17- Check your open windows
While you have a window open, you can dock it to the edge of the screen using the keyboard. While the mouse cursor is anywhere in the window, press Alt and [ to snap it left or Alt and ] to snap it right.
You can minimize any open window by pressing Alt and – or maximize any window by pressing Alt and =. Repeating any of these commands will return the window to the size and position it was in before.
18- Organize your folders
Just like the Android launcher, you can organize apps within folders that appear in the launcher, this is useful for keeping similar apps (or games) together.
Just drag an app icon over another icon and the folder will be created, which you can then name by clicking on it and opening it. To move an app out of a folder, grab it and drag it to a space within the launcher window.
19- Lock your Chromebook
When you have to get away and do not want anyone can keep an eye on your Chromebook while it’s connected to your account, you can activate the lock screen by pressing Search and L . All your apps and windows are still open, but to access anything, you’ll need to log back into the device.
If you need to take it a step further, pressing Ctrl-Shift and Q twice will close all apps and log you out of your account completely.
20- Take total control of your notifications
If notifications start to tire you out or if they disturb you at work, there is a Do Not Disturb mode that can be activated on your Chromebook.
To activate it, open the notification panel and click on the icon that looks like a crossed-out circle. To turn it off, click the same icon again. For precise control over which apps can notify you, click the word Notifications in the notification panel. You will see a list of apps that can send a notification. Uncheck the ones you don’t think are necessary for a less disturbing work environment.
21- Protect your eyes
Chrome has a built-in Night Light mode, ideal when using your Chromebook in the dark, and even the lowest brightness setting is too much. It works almost identical to what happens with smartphones, with the operating system acting by changing the color temperature of the display (it makes whites more orange and less tiring).
To turn it on, find the Night Light button in the Quick Settings panel. You can customize it a bit and configure it to turn on or off automatically based on the time of day in the Display section of the Chromebook’s Settings menu.
22- Darken your keyboard too!
If your Chromebook has a backlit keyboard, you can adjust the brightness that it emits.
Just press the Alt button and use the brightness increase and brightness decrease buttons in the top row, customizing the light level to your liking.