Tips and Tricks for Google's Chrome Browser
Google's Chrome browser offers basic features for finding what you need online. Type a search term into the omnibox (also known as search box) and get a list of Google search results. Or enter a URL and the browser takes you there. But did you know Chrome offers a multitude of advanced functions as well? Try those listed here to use Chrome to its fullest potential.
Chrome has many great features, but you can add even more with extensions. For example, the Pinterest extension enables you to save something from the page you're on to Pinterest with just a couple clicks. The Honey extension searches for discount codes every time you shop. Adblock Plus removes most ads. To find extensions, go to chrome.google.com/ webstore/category/extensions.
Sync with Google
Want to see all your bookmarks, account settings, passwords, and recent searches no matter which device you're using Chrome on? It's easy. Just log on to your Google account from each device. In the upper-right corner of the browser, select the Menu (three stacked dots) icon. Select Settings. On the Settings page, under People, select Turn on sync > Yes, I'm in.
Change the Look
You can change the color or theme of Chrome. To do it, open a new tab and, at the bottom of the screen, select Customize. In the dialog box, in the Background tab, choose a standard background or upload your own photo. In the Shortcuts tab, indicate whether you want shortcuts on new Chrome tabs. In the Color and theme tab, choose a color palette that appeals to you. When finished with your selections, choose Done.
You've probably heard by now that a password manager is almost essential for helping you create secure credentials and stay safe online. There are many good ones out there and Chrome is one of them. Its benefits include high security and no cost. To set it up, go to passwords.google.com.
Use Keyboard Shortcuts
If you want to keep your fingers on the keyboard, learn about Chrome's keyboard shortcuts. A few of them for Windows users are listed below. For a full listing (including keyboard shortcuts for Mac users), go to support.google.com/chrome/answer/157179?hl=en.
Ctrl-H = Show browsing history
Ctrl-K = Move the cursor to the omnibox
Ctrl-N = Open a new window
Ctrl-T = Open a new tab
Ctrl-F4 = Close the current tab
Google is notorious for keeping track of all your search activities. But there's a way to search on Chrome without Google collecting any data. It's called Incognito Mode. To use it, in the upper-right corner of the browser, select the Menu (three stacked dots) icon, then choose New incognito window. Perform your search as usual from there.
Delete Your History
Another way to maintain more privacy for your searches is to delete your Chrome browsing history. To do it, in the upper-right corner of the browser, select the Menu (three stacked dots) icon, then choose More tools > Clear browsing data. In the dialog box, use the Basic and Advanced tabs to select which data to clear, then select Clear data.
Search Within Sites
This handy feature allows you to search within sites without having to navigate to those sites. It works well for services like Wikipedia, in which you would normally do a separate search. To use it, first set up the site as a search engine. Select the Menu (three stacked dots) icon, then choose Settings > Search engine > Manage search engines. Add the site if it's not already there.
Now, type the search term into the omnibox. You'll see a small "Tab" tag within the box. That means you can press the Tab key on your keyboard and type in your search term. For example, you could type amazon.com [Tab] women's shirts.
Use Google Tools
Some functionality you would normally seek at a website is built into Chrome. For example, you can get measurement conversions, do math problems, or request word definitions. To practice, try typing the following terms into the omnibox:
- How many pounds to the dollar (conversion)
- Define obsequious (definition)
- What is how are you in Spanish (translation)
- 34 * 53 (math problem)
Create New Bookmarks
You're probably already familiar with bookmarks in Chrome but did you realize you can create a new one simply by dragging a URL to the Bookmarks bar? First, highlight the entire URL in the omnibox. Then, select it and drag it to the location you want. Right-click the new bookmark and select Edit to adjust the name and other details. Note that you can alternatively drag the URL to your desktop.
Assign Startup Pages
If you find yourself navigating to the same websites every time you open Chrome, save yourself some time and set them to open automatically. To do it, first go to each site you want in a separate tab. Then, in the upper-right corner of the browser, select the Menu (three stacked dots) icon. Choose Settings and scroll down to the On startup section. Select Use current pages. Next time you open Chrome, these pages will start automatically.
Search From Content
The internet is great for helping you understand topics within content via hyperlinks. But sometimes there isn't a hyperlink when you need one. Thankfully, you can create your own. For example, say you're reading an article about painting and you come across a mention of Impressionism. Use your mouse to highlight the word "Impressionism," then right-click it and select Search Google for "Impressionism". Continue your search as usual from there.
For the Love of Tabs
The debate rages on! No, we're not talking about gold dress versus blue dress or Team Edward versus Team Jacob. We're talking about whether it's okay to have multiple Chrome tabs open at one time. If you love to use your browser this way, here are some tips for managing many tabs.
- Right-click a link to open it in a new tab. Now, click each tab to select it and easily switch between them. This method is perfect for comparing items while shopping.
- Switch the position of tabs by clicking and dragging them to a different location. Choose multiple tabs to move by holding down the Ctrl key as you select them. (Use the Command key on a Mac.)
- If you want an open tab to be on its own, click and drag the tab until it forms a new browser window.
- If you have so many tabs open that you can't easily find one, search for it by typing the URL into the omnibox. When your tab comes up in the search list, select Switch to this tab.
- To open an accidentally closed tab, press Ctrl-Shift-T on your Windows keyboard or Command-Shift-T on a Mac.
On a related note, to pick up the tab at a restaurant, simply hand your card to the server.
These Browsers Protect Your Privacy
If you're concerned about privacy, know that Google's Chrome browser — while offering many useful features — does collect your browsing activity. Incognito Mode allows you to browse without tracking but, if you want to browse privately all the time, you might want to consider using one of the following browsers instead.
Tor Browser. Windows users can take advantage of this browser, which includes extra encryption and anonymity measures.
DuckDuckGo. A well-known Chrome alternative, DuckDuckGo blocks ads and disallows third-party trackers.
Ghostery. This browser blocks ads and cookies that are annoying at best and privacy-invading at worst.
Firefox. A browser that's almost as well-known as Chrome, Firefox now blocks third-party cookies by default.
Brave. Usable with both Windows and macOS, this browser is like Chrome but outside of the Google ecosystem.
Safari. For macOS users, Safari includes anti-tracking technology that includes blocking third-party tracking cookies.