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There’s more to Chrome settings than the basic tweaks you made when you first set up your browser. Let’s see what that involves.

Mark walked you through the most important browser settings Ultimate Browser Settings: Must-Change Items In Chrome, Firefox, & Internet Explorer Ultimate Browser Settings: Must-Change Items In Chrome, Firefox, & Internet Explorer Let's take a look at those must-change browser items. Maybe you do the same, or perhaps you think that the settings should be different? Read More that you should focus on when you start out with a clean slate…er…we mean browser. Sandy followed that up with some advanced Chrome settings The Advanced Chrome Settings You Should Be Using The Advanced Chrome Settings You Should Be Using How much do you really know about your privacy, autofill, and history settings in Chrome? You may not use these settings often, but they have options that can help improve your browsing experience. Read More that you should be using. Now let’s dig even deeper and see which hidden settings you can change to polish your Chrome experience to a shine.

1. Flash Behavior

Flash is evil. Flash needs to die Why Flash Needs to Die (And How You Can Get Rid of It) Why Flash Needs to Die (And How You Can Get Rid of It) The Internet's relationship with Flash has been rocky for a while. Once, it was a universal standard on the web. Now, it looks like it may be headed to the chopping block. What changed? Read More  and Adobe is working on killing it. But until Flash goes away completely, you can kill it at least within Chrome by going to chrome://plugins/ and clicking on the disable link under Adobe Flash Player. You should be fine without it because many websites now use HTML5 What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few years, you may have heard the term HTML5 every once in a while. Whether you know anything about web development or not, the concept can be somewhat nebulous and confusing. Obviously,... Read More instead of Flash to embed content.

chrome-plugin-behavior

Want to have the option to run Flash content on a case by case basis? Instead of disabling Flash as we showed you, try this: go to Settings > Show advanced settings > Privacy > Content settings > Plugins and select the radio button next to Let me choose when to run plugin content. This keeps the Flash plugin as well as other plugins like Chrome PDF Viewer blocked by default, but gives you a click-to-play option for each.

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2. Keyboard Shortcuts for Extensions

Speed up your workflow by assigning shortcuts to the tasks that your installed Chrome extensions are set to perform.

To set up shortcuts, go to chrome://extensions or bring up the extensions page via the hamburger icon on the toolbar and click on the Keyboard Shortcuts link at the bottom right in Extensions. This brings up a dialog with a list of all your enabled extensions.

keyboard-shortcuts-for-extensions

Click on the field next to any extension and type in an easy-to-remember shortcut that you’d like to use for it. Now instead of clicking on that extension’s toolbar button, you can press this shortcut instead. Feel free to get rid of the toolbar buttons for a cleaner Chrome interface and switch over to shortcuts completely.

3. Extension-Specific Settings

Do you install extensions and start using them just as they are? If you answered yes, you might be missing out on some great customization options that come bundled with the extensions.

To explore them now, go to the Extensions page, look for the tiny Options link beneath any extension, and click on it. You’ll be able to tweak how the extension behaves and make room for more laziness, of course.

pocket-options

For example, if you have installed Pocket, you can tweak its options to enable quick saving from services like Twitter and Hacker News.

4. Parental Controls

If you share your computer with your children, you can monitor their browser usage 4 Ways to Manage Your Kids' Internet Use With Your Router 4 Ways to Manage Your Kids' Internet Use With Your Router How do you make sure that your kids are actually up in their room sleeping on a school night, and not staying up all night streaming Internet videos? Read More if you wish to by setting up supervised Chrome accounts for them.

chrome-create-supervised-user

The process for creating a supervised user is nearly the same as it is for creating a regular user: you go to Settings > People > Add person… and select a name and a picture for the new user. The only difference here is that you have to check the box next to Control and view the websites this person visits from…. You won’t see this option unless you’re signed in to your own Google account.

You can manage these child accounts from any device by going to chrome.com/manage. If you have more questions about creating and managing supervised users, visit this Chrome support page. Note that the supervised accounts feature is still in beta.

5. Chrome Password Generation

Now let’s move on to some settings hidden under chrome://flags. You should keep in mind that these are experimental features, so they might not work as expected at times. But if they pass the test, you’ll see them make an appearance as defaults in future versions of Chrome.

Every time you change a setting in chrome://flags, you’ll have to relaunch Chrome for the new setting to take effect. We recommend restarting Chrome just once after you have tweaked all that you want to tweak.

password-manager

If you rely on Chrome’s Password Manager to take care of your logins, it’s time to make things even simpler and let Chrome also take care of coming up with passwords for you.

Look in chrome://flags for the Enable password generation setting and set it to Enabled. The next time you’re on an account creation page, you’ll be able to use and save a random password generated by Chrome.

I must say that this didn’t work as expected for me. I relaunched Chrome several times, but the password generation popup never popped up. Maybe you’ll have better luck with it.

6. Tab Discarding to Save Memory

If you wish Chrome had some system in place to monitor and auto-regulate its memory usage, this setting is for you. In chrome://flags, turn on Enable tab discarding to let Chrome monitor your tabs and discard the low priority background tabs automatically.

Don’t worry about the tabs disappearing. They won’t. The discarded tabs will stay in the tab bar and you can reload them anytime by clicking on them.

chrome-discards

You also have the option to discard select tabs manually via chrome://discards. If you’re not too impressed with the built-in tab discard setting, try these two extensions to deal with Chrome’s RAM hogging Is Chrome Hogging All Your RAM? Make It Behave With These 2 Extensions Is Chrome Hogging All Your RAM? Make It Behave With These 2 Extensions Chrome or Firefox? This might be the hottest question in today’s tech community, and one you’ll never find a straight answer for. Personally, I think both browsers are great, but have been using Firefox more... Read More .

7. Autofill Predictions

If you use Chrome’s Autofill feature to fill out web forms, you know how convenient and time saving it is. You can make it even more so with this simple tweak in chrome://flags: enable Show Autofill predictions.

What this does is that it turns relevant autofill predictions into placeholder text based on the field type.

8. Autosaving for Web Pages to View Them Offline

chrome-enable-show-saved-copy-button

Whether its forced or voluntary, Internet downtime is not a bad thing on occasion. But it pays to stay well prepared for Internet outages 6 Things You Can Prepare For Internet Downtime 6 Things You Can Prepare For Internet Downtime The Internet’s down, everybody panic! If you’ve ever said that, out loud, maybe it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare for outages. Read More , especially if you’re a web worker. Keeping cached copies of websites handy is one way to do that, and Chrome does it for you if you enable this little flag in chrome://flags: Enable Show Saved Copy Button. Choose Primary from the dropdown menu for this option and relaunch Chrome.

chrome-show-saved-copy

Now when you try to load web pages without an Internet connection, for pages that you have visited before you’ll see a Show saved copy button in addition to the usual Unable to connect to the Internet message.

Here are a couple of things to note:

  1. You can choose Secondary from the Enable Show Saved Copy dropdown. The only difference this will make is that you’ll get an inconspicuous Show Saved Copy button instead of a bright blue one.
  2. If you have enabled Enable Offline Auto-Reload Mode and/or Only Auto-Reload Visible Tabs, you won’t see the Show Saved Copy button at all. The page will reload automatically to show you the cached copy.

9. Download Resumption

If in chrome://flags you set the Enable Download Resumption flag, you can resume interrupted downloads via the context menu. I have been using it on my computer for quite some time without tweaking the setting to enable resumption, so I’m wondering what exactly is the function of this flag. Even so, the ability to resume downloads comes in super useful, so you might want to enable it if you can’t see the context menu option to resume downloads.

10. Material UI

chrome-material-design

Material Design is a big deal these days. If you want a taste of it in Chrome, enable these two flags in chrome://flags: Enable material UI for PDF and Enable Material Design Downloads. It’s a small tweak, but make it anyway if you’re craving the goodness of Material Design Craving Some Material Design? Download These Great Android Apps Craving Some Material Design? Download These Great Android Apps Android 5.0 Lollipop is here, but to get the full effect, you need apps that stay true to the Material Design philosophy. We can help you find the best of them. Read More .

What Have We Missed?

Chrome has its flaws and its share of things that users hate 5 Things I Hate About Chrome 5 Things I Hate About Chrome Chrome, the operating system, is apparently pretty great – but Chrome, the operating system, is the worst thing that ever happened to Chrome, the browser. Read More . But don’t you just love it when Chrome does redeem itself with awesome extensions 25 Chrome Extensions to Make You More Productive 25 Chrome Extensions to Make You More Productive We hear so much about productivity. How do we become more productive? What can help us be extra productive? Which tools make us the most productive? Read More and time-saving tricks 11 Quick Tricks To Become A Chrome Omnibox Power User 11 Quick Tricks To Become A Chrome Omnibox Power User Do you want to become an Omnibox power user and save plenty of time and keystrokes? All you need are a few good extensions and a little knowledge of how to tweak the search settings.... Read More and secret settings? We certainly do.

Which hidden Chrome setting has totally changed the way you surf? Is a similar one available in other browsers? Tell us the Chrome secrets that you know and we don’t!

Image Credits:mechanic doing repairs by Ronald Sumners via Shutterstock

  1. Liew CheonFong
    May 29, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Force reader mode

  2. Mark Davies
    May 29, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Re #6 Tab Discarding to Save Memory

    "Tab Discarding to Save Memory"
    should read
    "Automatic Discarding to Save Memory"

  3. Ian
    May 29, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Overlay Scrollbars is also a nice flag to enable.

  4. rk
    March 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Pls fix the darn pin it button on makeuseof articles! Each time you hover over it, it moves! I can pin it in other ways but that requires a few more clicks.

  5. dobs
    March 4, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Alas, some of us need evil Fplayer for online listening of Sirius radio.

  6. Rene Baron
    March 4, 2016 at 6:51 am

    "Flash is evil. Flash needs to die and Adobe is working on killing it. But until Flash goes away completely ..." - this might be enough to file a legal case. The only reason I do not do, is that the writer seems to now know anything about Flash at all. She just copied a mainstream sentence without understanding. She's just an idiot.
    Flash is a whole ecosystem that comprises many platforms (including Desktop Apps, TV, industry Dashboards, etc. that cannot be replaced by anything).
    What this lady is referring to is just the Flash PLAYER. However, the problem is not the Player, but the content some wanna-be Flash programmers have not achieved in a safe, secure way.
    So, when there is something wrong with Flash, then it is not the Flash Player, but specific Flash Programmers that will fail with HTML5 the same way with the only difference, that you cannot stop HTML5 advertisment. And that's why all the advertisement industry tries to ban Flash: They want to push their HTML5 crap in a way, that you cannot stop it any longer!

    • Axle Grease
      March 4, 2016 at 8:06 am

      “Flash is evil. Flash needs to die and Adobe is working on killing it. But until Flash goes away completely …” – this might be enough to file a legal case. The only reason I do not do, is that the writer seems to now know anything about Flash at all."

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP4Va75FLBo

    • Ben Stegner
      March 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      It's well-documented the ways that the Flash plug-in is less than beneficial for your PC. It can slow down your browser, suck up bandwidth, destroy your battery on a laptop, and has potential for infected content. So I think you're splitting hairs here.

      Also, it's not cool to call writers idiots. I get that you like Flash and there are a lot of intricacies in its many facets. But there's no need for that kind of poisonous talk in the comments. Also, how is expressing disdain for a lousy browser plug-in cause for a legal case? Are you kidding me?

    • Angela Randall
      March 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Calm down, people. Yes, of course she meant the flash player. But you knew that — because it's quite common for people to just call it "Flash".

      And yes, those were pretty disdainful comments, but I saw it as a sort of sarcastic summary of every anti-Adobe-Flash-Player article ever written. Then she just moved on and told people how to get rid of it.

      And while you're right that it's usually the programming of Flash that causes the trouble, often people get annoyed with the Flash Player just for bothering them all the time with updates and the like.

      Anyway, peace.

    • Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries
      March 9, 2016 at 5:34 am

      "– this might be enough to file a legal case. The only reason I do not do,"...

      ...is that I have no standing, and opinions are protected speech (in the US, where Adobe is sited) anyway.

      Bottom line: avoid specious lawsuits. It's a waste of time and money, and you'll look like a blithering idiot at the end of the day.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      March 14, 2016 at 3:53 am

      Rene, even without your personal attack on me, I would have been inclined to agree that Flash Player might have been a better choice of words than the commonly used shortened version, Flash, because it makes sense (and I'm all for that).

  7. A41202813GMAIL ..
    March 4, 2016 at 6:21 am

    #6 Is Still Unknown For All The Other CHROME Clones I Also Use:

    OPERA15+, YANDEX And BAIDU.

    Thank You Very Much.

    • alan
      March 5, 2016 at 12:52 am

      Yea, #6 is non-existent for me as well. I might know that's the only setting I was actually interested in out of the ten.

      • A41202813GMAIL ..
        March 5, 2016 at 1:42 am

        Was Your Email Address Visible For A While After Your UserName ?

        MUO Bug Or Redacted By A MUO Mod ?

        Maybe It Was Just Me.

        Cheers.

        WAS YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS VISIBLE FOR A WHILE AFTER YOUR USERNAME ?

        MUO BUG OR REDACTED BY A MUO MOD ?

        MAYBE IT WAS JUST ME.

        CHEERS.

        • A41202813GMAIL ..
          March 5, 2016 at 1:44 am

          Sorry.

          Remove The All Caps Part, Please.

        • alan
          March 6, 2016 at 10:16 am

          Seemed to be a glitch in my settings. My email address was showing in the field where my last name is supposed to go for some reason. I had to delete it. A mod must have deleted it from the post because I posted before I changed my settings.

        • A41202813GMAIL ..
          March 6, 2016 at 11:13 am

          Same Problem For Me Right In This Thread.

          An Edit Feature Here Can Not Come Soon Enough.

          Cheers.

  8. Peter Fitzsimmons
    March 3, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Great list of tips. Putting some of these to use!

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      March 14, 2016 at 3:56 am

      Thank you, Peter :)

  9. fcd76218
    March 3, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    "1. Flash Behavior"
    Yes, Flash is evil but until the vast majority (<95%) of sites switch to HTML 5, Flash will remain necessary.

    "2. Keyboard Shortcuts for Extensions"
    May be a great idea when one uses 2 or 3 extensions. But when the number of extensions gets to 10, 15 or more, KB shortcuts get to be a PITA. The more extensions, the harder it is to assign unique keystroke combinations, especially when more than one extension name starts with the same letter. The more shortcuts, the harder it is to remember them, especially those for extensions starting with the same letter. In solving one problem, you are creating another one.

    In Firefox, once an extension/add-on is install, it is active. One does not have to be clicking on any icons when one wishes to use extension(s).

    "7. Autofill Predictions"
    I find Autofill to be another PITA. It is similar to Autocorrect. I always have to be watching what is being inserted. For me it is quicker just to type in whatever I have to type than to be forever checking Autofill suggestions.

    • Kajsa
      March 4, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Thanks for the sanity. Much appreciated.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      March 14, 2016 at 4:09 am

      1. Yes, Flash will remain necessary for some time to come. But many people can do without it (and use it on a case-by-case basis) if their web usage does not involve websites that insist on using Flash. I'm one of those people, by the way :) In the past year, the only time I have used Flash was when I occasionally needed to use the online image editors PicMonkey and Pixlr.

      2. That's true for any set of keyboard shortcuts...the more they're in number, the harder it is to assign new ones and remember the entire set. Also, different browsers have different advantages. Firefox's way of handling extensions might be useful, but there isn't a similar workaround for Chrome at least for now.

      3. I agree with you there. Autofill can be annoying for some people and in specific instances.

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