How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions

Aaron Couch 03-04-2013

chrome power userGoogle Chrome has built a huge user base that other competing browsers could only dream about. And although there are still some good alternatives Are You Really Using The Best Web Browser For Windows? Ask anyone about the best browsers in the web browsing market and you’ll likely get the following list - IE, Chrome, Firefox. Those who are more tech-savvy might list Opera as an alternative. Those are... Read More , Chrome still has won many of us over. If you’ve coming here from part one of this series How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 1 - Master The Keyboard Google Chrome for some time has been the browser of choice for many and although the majority of our web browsers can do some pretty impressive things, Chrome has continued to snatch up power users,... Read More , welcome! If this is the first article you’re reading, you don’t have to read part one first as this one can stand alone by itself. That said, you still should read it as using keyboard shortcuts is a huge asset to Chrome.


Moving on, let’s cover some of the other Chrome power user tips and tricks.

Spice Up Your Interface

Chrome already has an awesome minimalistic design, so it’s taken care of the hard work for you. However there are a few things that I recommend.

Toggle Your Bookmarks Bar

If you are someone who is not always accessing your bookmarks, but still uses them frequently and want them easily accessible, consider hiding the bar using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+B , which was covered in Part 1 How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 1 - Master The Keyboard Google Chrome for some time has been the browser of choice for many and although the majority of our web browsers can do some pretty impressive things, Chrome has continued to snatch up power users,... Read More . This gives you a tad bit more screen space for webpages and makes it look cleaner as well.

Pin Tabs You Access Frequently

chrome power user

If you routinely visit the same websites upon opening your Chrome browser, consider pinning them and they will open automatically next time you launch your browser. Pinned tabs also add to a minimalistic design. I also use them to differentiate between the ones I want to remain open and the ones that can be closed during a session of using Chrome. To do this, right click on the tab and choose Pin Tab.


Personalize Your Browser With A Theme

chrome power user tips

Perhaps you already do this one – it’s not difficult at all. If you haven’t already done so, take a look at the themes in the Chrome Web Store. There are a lot of different styles, so choose the one that fits you best. Personally, I wanted one that was modern, but not too busy so I went with a theme with varying colors of grey.

chrome power user tips

Customize Your Start Page

chrome power user tips


Sure you could have a boring Google Search start page, and maybe that’s what you like, but why not make it a bit more useful? There are plenty of web-based options that don’t require installing an extension. Such examples are and I personally use (pictured above), but I recently discovered Keyboardr and really like its simplicity.

google chrome power user tips

Alternatively, you can just have a blank page, which there is nothing wrong with as it provides the ultimate minimalistic approach to Chrome. To do this, use about:blank. And don’t worry if you don’t know how to set the start page, we’ll cover that in a bit.

Further Reading:

Organize & Manage Your Bookmarks

Having organized bookmarks just makes using your browser way more efficient, so why not? If you currently have unorganized bookmarks, don’t worry – I do too. In general, I recommend using a folder system like you might for your computer files.


google chrome power user tips

This might take some time to organize it all, but there are three excellent MakeUseOf articles which you can use as resources to really help you:

Understand & Customize The Settings (AKA Under The Hood)

google chrome power user tips

If you’re using Chrome without customizing these settings, you aren’t getting the most out of Chrome. And it’s not complicated, so don’t worry. I’m going to cover many of the major ones, but if you haven’t poked around in the Chrome Settings before, you will find some other features and settings that will be useful to you too.


Sync Your Data

google chrome power user tips

If you’re not signing into Chrome, you definitely should. By doing so, you can sync any or all of your data to your Google profile. This allows you to literally access your personal settings from any Chrome browser. A huge benefit of this is when you get a new computer, as you can make the transition very easily Getting a New Computer, Part 1: How to Transition From Your Old PC to Your New One Ahhh! The joy of a new computer! An opportunity to start fresh and leave all the worries of your slow, dusty, old computer in the past. However, whether you've just purchased a new computer or... Read More . No need to back up and save your bookmarks or move over your existing browser files to have the same settings. Just download Chrome and sign in and you’ve got the browser you’ve always known on your brand new computer.

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Advanced Sync Settings

Under Advanced Sync Settings you have the option to sync everything or choose what you sync. Depending on if you use extensions for saving your bookmarks and passwords, you may want to uncheck those to prevent duplicates, especially with the bookmarks.

You’re also able to choose what you want to encrypt and what the passphrase is.

Change/Set Up Chrome’s Startup Behavior

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings startup

Remember when we were talking about what you set as your homepage? This is where you set that. You have three choices as to what Chrome will do when it starts up – Open a New Tab page, continue where I left off, or open a specific page or set of pages.

To add pages just click Set Pages, which is after the third option.

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings Startup pages Google Chrome

Manage & Customize Search Engines

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings Search

Did you know Google Chrome lets you set other search engines, other than Google Search, as the default search in the Omnibox? Under the Search headline in the settings you can choose others from the dropdown menu, or if the one you want isn’t present, you can add (and delete others) by clicking Manage search engines.

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Chrome Search Settings

Create Multiple Google Profiles

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings Users

Next you can create multiple users in Chrome. Guy wrote an awesome article on setting these up 6 Custom Google Chrome Profiles You Should Start Using What are Chrome profiles and how do you use them? Here are several useful ideas for Chrome browser profiles you should try. Read More  and their benefits for greater productivity and organization.

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings Create user Google Chrome

This is also where you’re able to import bookmarks and settings from other browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or the Google Toolbar.

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings import bookmarks and settings

Manage Privacy Settings

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings Privacy

One you’ve scrolled all the way down, you’ll see the link Show advanced settings. By clicking this you are given even more, many of which I don’t really feel are that “advanced” and shouldn’t be hidden, but that’s just my take. One of these important settings is the privacy portion, which contains settings that protect you from malware and phishing to URL prediction in the address bar.

But there are a lot more settings there and under the Content settings button.

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings Content settings

Also, you can clear your browsing data by clicking the Clear browsing data button.

Set Up Google Cloud Print

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Settings Cloud Print

If you find yourself wanting to print from your computer while away from your printer or needing to share your printer with others, Google Cloud Print is about to make your life a whole lot easier and it already has been for lots of Chrome users. Chris wrote an excellent article How To Share Your Printer With Anyone On The Internet Windows 7’s Homegroup feature makes sharing printers on your local network easy, but what if you want to share a printer over the Internet? This has traditionally been very complicated, involving print drivers, firewall rules... Read More  explaining how to set it up and use it.

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions Google Cloud Print

Use Extensions And/Or Bookmarklets

Manager Your Bookmarks With Xmarks

Chrome does have bookmark sync, yes, but I prefer Xmarks, as it allows you to sync bookmarks between different browsers XMarks Syncs Bookmarks & Passwords Between All Major Browsers Read More  as well. Also, it allows you to be portable How To Be Completely Portable Without Your Own Computer Or Smartphone This day and age it’s pretty uncommon to not see someone with a smartphone, tablet or laptop in a public place like a library. We’ve become quite reliant on them, wouldn’t you say? So reliant,... Read More , should you need to access your bookmarks from a public computer.

Manage Your Passwords

Having secure passwords How to Create a Strong Password That You Will Not Forget Do you know how to create and remember a good password? Here are some tips and tricks to maintain strong, separate passwords for all of your online accounts. Read More  is crucial. And password managers make it incredible easy to have secure passwords and remember them efficiently Use A Password Management Strategy To Simplify Your Life Much of the advice around passwords has been near-impossible to follow: use a strong password containing numbers, letters and special characters; change it regularly; come up with a completely unique password for each account etc.... Read More . Such extensions like Dashlane Dashlane - A Slick New Password Manager, Form Filler & Online Shopping Assistant If you've tried a few password managers before, you've probably learned to expect some roughness around the edges. They're solid, useful applications, but their interfaces can be overly complex and inconvenient. Dashlane doesn’t just reduce... Read More Roboform RoboForm Desktop - Keep Your Passwords Safe & Secure If you use a different password for every website, how will you ever be able to remember them all? You won't, of course, and that's where a password manager comes in, where you only need... Read More  and LastPass LastPass for Firefox: The Ideal Password Management System If you've not yet decided to use a password manager for your myriad logins online, it's time you took a look at one of the best options around: LastPass. Many people are cautious about using... Read More  are the top contenders in this area. Again, Chrome can sync your passwords as well, and if you prefer that method, that’s fine, but I feel a password manager is much more secure.

Clip Webpages And Save Them To Read Later

There are a lot of tools that can do this, but I think it’s important to have at least one go-to extension that you use to save content from around the Internet. This is great for all areas of web use, from researching Conquer Your Next Research Project The Easy Way With These Tools Whether you’re in school or you have a job, you likely have or will have to research at one point or another. And if you’re like most people, you will have to do it several... Read More  to just every day usage. We covered 9 tools you can use to save stuff from around the web 5 Better Alternatives to Pocket That Bookmark Anything for Later Pocket has long held the crown of being the internet's best digital bookmarking service. But is it time to scrap it and search for better read-it-later bookmarking alternatives? Read More . Such tools include Evernote Why You Should Be Using Evernote As Your Go-To Place For Remembering Everything Remember Everything. That’s the Evernote motto and that’s what it allows you to do best. If you aren't familiar yet with Evernote, you’re in for a real treat! If you have heard of it, but... Read More , Readability, Instapaper, Springpad and so on.

You should also consider sending webpages to your Kindle How To Save Web Articles To Read Later On Your Non-Tablet Kindle We’ve all been there — you’re surfing the Internet and find a great article that you’d like to read. But there’s so much to do and you know you shouldn’t take the time to read... Read More , with a tool such as Send To Kindle By Take All Your "To Read" Articles On The Go Without An Internet Connection [Chrome] Before the time of Kindles, we usually read everything solely on our computers. And perhaps you still do this. However, if you own a Kindle, such as the Kindle Touch which doesn’t have the best... Read More , but there are many others too.

Read Webpages Easier

If you want to read the web page right away, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. Many websites are cluttered with various fonts, busy formats, ads, etc. To pull all that away and leave only the text might some complicated, but there are a couple excellent Chrome extensions that do very well at this. Ones I recommend looking into are iReader iReader - Instant Clutter-free Reading on Chrome & Firefox Read More and Clearly.

Manage Your Tabs

If you’re like me, you might have an embarrassing amount of tabs open. Let’s just say it’s common for me to have around 20 or so, so tab management is crucial. There are a lot of extensions available that help you do this, but some raise above the others and those are OneTab OneTab: Easily Share Your Browser’s Open Tabs Read More , Session Buddy, The Great Suspender, Tab Wrangler, TooManyTabs and so on.

The two I personally use and recommend are OneTab and Session Buddy – both have their strong points. While OneTab is great for quickly combining all tabs down into links into one tab, Session Buddy has quite a few more features and really give you a solid amount of options.

For more information, check out the articles The 10 Best Extensions For Chrome Tab Management The 10 Best Extensions for Chrome Tab Management If you’re a multi-tasker, you love tabs. Maybe a little too much. Here are 10 extensions that will help you deal with the tab overload. Read More  and 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 .

Easily Share Links To Social Networks

I could recommend a lot of extensions for this category, but instead I’m going to recommend just one – Buffer. I’ve mentioned Buffer before in articles like Distributing Your Blog Content: The Best Auto-Posting Services Distributing Your Blog Content: The Best Auto-Posting Services Are you a blogger? What about a blogger of multiple blogs? If you have several blogs to share and all of the popular social networks (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to share them on, you... Read More  and 5 Ways To Easily Access Social Networks From A Single App 5 Ways to Easily Access Social Networks From a Single App Nowadays, we’re spread pretty thin on all the social network accounts that we have: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. so managing them can either take a considerable amount of time, or they just don’t... Read More . It truly is the best way to share to social networks right from your browser.

Customize Your Start & New Tab Pages

Besides using websites like we talked about previously, extensions can also play a role in improving your Chrome experience. Ones like Currently, Awesome New Tabs Page and Speed Dial 2 are all excellent extensions that you should consider trying.

Below is an image of Currently.

chrome power user

Quick Access To Chrome Settings

Accessing Chrome’s hidden settings Using Google Chrome? Here's How to Reach Under The Hood & Customize Special Settings Chrome is one of my favorite Google products. Google got a few core, basic principles right in its design, and instead of becoming bloated over time like most software, Chrome remained svelte, secure, and very,... Read More , many of which you might not even know about, is a huge benefit. But how? Do you just know what to type in? What if you forget? A Google Search? That’s a hassle every time you want to access these kinds of settings.

Plus there are others that it would be nice to access quicker as well like the History, Downloads, etc. Look no further than the Mega Button, which we’ve reviewed already.

Browse The Web Safely

Lastly, it’s important to be browsing the web safely. There’s no better tool to help you with this than Web Of Trust Browse Safely With Your Own Internet Bodyguard Called WOT Read More  (WOT), which we really like here at MakeUseOf. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the idea behind it is a community-based rating system for websites that are color coded – green, yellow and red – green being the best, red the worst in privacy and security.

How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 2: Bookmarks, Settings & Extensions WOT


As you can tell, there’s a lot that Chrome can do – a lot – from keyboard shortcuts to minor interface changes to in-depth customizable settings. But now you have these tips and tools. So go on, become the power user you’ve always dreamed of becoming. All kidding aside, these will allow you to be more efficient and perhaps impress a few people in the process.

Do you have a favorite Chrome power user tip or trick that I left out or perhaps an interesting experience or even a question? Share them in the comments.

Related topics: Google Chrome, Online Bookmarks.

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  1. Fernando Lachica
    April 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Really, it's been three years now that I'm using this GoogleChrome and used some of it's features!Great indeed!

  2. Victor Ong
    April 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Pinned Tabs also flash when they get updated. It's a nice way to notify you.

  3. Eric Jay P
    April 4, 2013 at 12:12 am

    i also prefer xmarks over the google bookmark sync to sync bookmarks in different browsers. for my new tab page i just drag and drop the favicon in my new tab page, maybe i should try and the likes, thanks for mentioning.

  4. Marek S?owikowski
    April 3, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    You should mention about synchronization requirements. Computer time should be synchronized with internet. If not there will be login problems.

  5. dragonmouth
    April 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    "Google Chrome has built a huge user base that other competing browsers could only dream about."
    They have built their "huge" user base the same way Microsoft did, by forcing the use of their product. For some features Google does not recognize the use of any browser but Chrome. I usually use the latest version of Firefox, although sometimes I am one version behind. Currently I am at version 19. When I try to use some features of Google, I get a snotty message on the screen saying "To use this feature you must have a modern browser, such as Chrome. Do you wish to downloaded it?" Hey, Google, I use FF for a reason!

    • Aaron Couch
      April 4, 2013 at 6:49 pm


      Can you elaborate on the features that Google doesn't allow you to use without Chrome?

      • dragonmouth
        April 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm

        When I come across one, I'll let you know. I do not use Google that much so I don't run into the problem too often. But I do remember the message since it seemed kind of Microsoftish (arrogant and/or impertinent.) :)

  6. ken aquino
    April 3, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    cool tricks! never thought that i can customize my start page in chrome! thanks!