For those of you who are just starting to love your Chromebook, it’s time to learn how to get super-productive with your Google OS device.
Here’s a guide to the best keyboard shortcuts for your Chromebook, along with a few other powerful hints and tips.
Why Use Shortcuts?
We often use a mouse out of habit, not because it’s inherently easier or faster. Sure, it might be easier or faster right now because you’re so used to it, but if you can learn some keyboard shortcuts you’ll be more productive in no time.
If you think how much widely-known shortcuts like CTRL + A improve your efficiency when compared to performing the same action on a mouse, just think how much more efficient you could be if you knew lots more.
There is also the health benefits of not using a mouse. It’s oft-overlooked, but extensive mouse usage is associated with repetitive syndrome injury far more frequently than excessive keyboard usage.
Pro-Tip: Find All Your Chromebook’s Shortcuts in One Place
Before we run down the shortcuts that we believe to be most useful, it’s important to share this pro tip.
Press CTRL + ALT + ? to reveal the ultimate cheat sheet of Chromebook shortcuts. As per the message on the screen, press variations of CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT to reveal all the individual modifiers.
You can also head to an official Google webpage that lists all the shortcuts in a printable text format.
So, without further ado, here’s our list of the nine most useful Chromebook shortcuts…
Launch Apps from the Shelf
Shortcut: Alt + 1 to 8
Pinning your most-used apps to the shelf is a key part of Chromebook productivity. The app launcher isn’t particularly easy to use, especially since the redesign introduced an extra click to get to the list of all your apps.
The importance of using the shelf is especially pertinent if you have lots of apps but don’t use folders to keep your launcher organized.
One drawback is you can only use shortcuts for the first eight slots. ALT + 9 will open your most recently used app.
Lock Your Machine
Shortcut: Power Button (or CTRL + Shift + L)
Windows users who work in an office environment will no doubt be highly familiar with the WIN + L shortcut to lock their screens but remain signed in. Whether you’re going for a coffee, a cigarette, or a sandwich, the last thing you want is for your boss to see that you’ve got 42 Reddit tabs open.
A lot of Chromebook users don’t realize that Chromebooks have a similar feature. Sure, you can log out completely by pressing CTRL + Shift + Q, but did you know you can lock the screen and remain signed in by briefly pressing the power button? (The official Google line is that you need to press it for 400 milliseconds!)
Dock a Window to the Side of a Screen
Shortcut: ALT + [ / ALT + ]
Chromebooks have always been a bit fiddly when it comes to docking Windows with a mouse, and some apps still take up more than half of the screen.
Using ALT + [ (snap to left) or ALT + ] (snap to right) overcomes this problem.
Take a Partial Screenshot
Shortcut: CTRL + Shift + F5
It’s well known that CTRL + F5 takes a screenshot and saves it to your Downloads folder, but did you know it’s also possible to take a cropped screenshot of the exact area you want to grab.
Press CTRL + Shift + F5, and the mouse pointer will turn into a cross-hair. Just click and drag the cursor over the area you want, and as soon as you release the mouse the snippet will be saved.
Zoom Screen In / Out
Shortcut: CTRL + Shift + + / CTRL + Shift + –
The ability to zoom your screen in and out can be useful for all sorts of reasons – for example, if you’re doing fine graphical work that requires more precision, or if you want to fit more apps on your shelf.
CTRL + Shift + ) will reset the zoom to default.
Toggle Caps Lock
Shortcut: ALT + Search
Chromebooks have done away with a traditional caps lock key, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the same functionality if you need it. Just press ALT + Search and you’ll see a notification pop up in the bottom-right corner, along with a new icon by the clock.
You can permanently convert the search key into a caps lock key if you miss the convenience – just head to Settings > Device > Keyboard settings and choose your functionality from the drop down menu.
Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down
Shortcuts: ALT + Up, ALT + Down, CTRL + ALT + Up, and CTRL + ALT + Down
If you do a lot of work on long documents or in spreadsheets, the Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down functions will be vital to your ability to be productive.
Luckily, they are present in Chromebooks, even though the buttons aren’t physically on the keyboards.
Change Input Method
Shortcut: ALT + Shift
If you do a lot of work in multiple languages, or work on a lot of documents that require two (or more) different languages in the same text, this is a super time saver.
To set up additional keyboards, go to Settings > Advanced settings > Languages > Language and input settings > Add.
Save Open Webpages in New Folder
Shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + D
If you’re researching a project, there’s a good chance you might want to temporarily save all the webpages you’ve got open so that you can close Chrome and resume from where you were up to at a later date.
To reopen all the bookmarked pages in a folder at the same time, click right click on the folder and select “Open all bookmarks in new window“.
What Are Your Must-Know Shortcuts?
Are you a shortcut user, or are you stuck in your ways with an old-fashioned mouse?
What about your favorite shortcuts? Which Chromebook shortcuts do you use regularly to speed up your workflow?
What have we missed? Let us know in the comments below.