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10 Best Chromebook Tips And Tricks: Keyboard Shortcuts, Google Drive As Default, Easy Login And More

26 February 2017, 9:00 am EST By Luan Chan Tech Times
Some are apprehensive to make the switch from traditional laptops to Chromebooks but here are neat tricks to help new owners maximize the Chromebooks’ potential.  ( Google )

More technology companies are coming out with their own versions of Chromebooks, especially after Google announced that the sleek devices would be able to run Android applications beginning 2017. While the experts are still split in their opinions with regard the upcoming batch of Chromebooks, those who simply need a fully functional and convenient device would benefit greatly from it.

Chromebooks may confuse new users at first since they function differently with the Chrome Operating System and a new keyboard design but Tech Times has listed down some neat tricks that would allow new users to become a pro quickly.

Here are the 10 best tricks that will transform a Chromebook newbie to a Chromebook pro.

1. CAPS LOCK

It may look like a weird trick but anyone would understand why a Caps Lock trick is needed in this list when they take a look at the Chromebook's keyboard. Here's a visual for you.

OMG, WHY DON'T CHROMEBOOKS HAVE A CAPS LOCK BUTTON?! HOW CAN I SHOW MY EXCITEMENT WITHOUT A CAPS LOCK BUTTON?!
(Photo : Google) OMG, WHY DON'T CHROMEBOOKS HAVE A CAPS LOCK BUTTON?! HOW CAN I SHOW MY EXCITEMENT WITHOUT A CAPS LOCK BUTTON?!

Google is probably tired of seeing all-caps in search boxes so, in order to keep overly excited texts at bay, the Caps Lock button has been removed in Chromebooks. This is a neat design for those whose pinky fingers keep hitting the caps lock instead of 'A' when typing but, when the time comes that you need to type in block letters, it is a pain. Luckily, Chromebooks did not remove this function entirely, though users will have to manually set it.

It's easy, actually. All a user has to do is to go to their account (it can be found at the bottom-right of the home screen) then click "Settings" and choose "Keyboard Settings." From there, users will see a drop down menu where they can choose the "Ctrl," "Shift," or "Alt" buttons to function as the caps lock button. That's it, you've got caps lock again to express your anger or excitement.

2. Keyboard Shortcuts

Since Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, users should not expect them to have similar shortcuts. They can, however, just press and hold Ctrl+Alt+? and a list of keyboard shortcuts should pop up.

3. Screenshot

If you go back to the photo of the Chromebook keyboard above, you would notice that another convenient key is missing: the screen capture (PrtSc) button.

Don't worry, we've got your back. If you don't want to press and hold Ctr+Alt+? and search for it everytime you need to take a screencap, all you have to do is press the Ctrl and windows switcher button at the same time — it's that button above '6' with a drawing of a tiny rectangle with two vertical lines on its right side.

4. Access Google Drive When Offline

Most users are apprehensive because much of the Chromebooks functionality seem to depend on internet connection but that is not always the case. Users can still access files saved to Google Drive by enabling this feature in the Google Drive Settings page.

Just open Google Drive then go to "My Drive" and click "Settings" from the list under the gear icon. Look for the "Offline" header and check "Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer." With that done, you can edit your files even when offline and all changes that you have made will be automatically synced once you go back online.

5. Make Google Drive Your Default Save Location

This one is a good way to ensure that you always have access to your files by saving it in the cloud instead of a local directory. All you have to do is go to "Settings" then click "Show Advanced Settings." Look for the "Downloads" header and click change. From there, choose "Google Drive" and click "Open."

But wait, there's more!

To make the process automatic, go back to the "Settings" page and uncheck "Ask where to save each file before downloading." Now you're good to go.

6. Easy Login And Authentication

If you don't like being required to type in your password every single time you log in to your Chromebook, take out your smartphone for this one and enable Bluetooth. Now follow the simple instructions below:

Go to Settings > Show Advanced Settings > Smart Lock

Now, set up Smart Lock by pairing your smartphone with the Chromebook via Bluetooth. After this, everytime your phone is within range — assuming you keep Bluetooth on — it will unlock your Chromebook for you.

7. Control User Access

Unlike traditional laptops, Chrome OS is web based so, whoever has a Chrome account can also access their own accounts using your Chromebook, which is neat but can be annoying if someone's already abusing your generosity. Just remember that you can control everyone else's access to your device so you don't need to watch it like a hawk 24/7. Here's what you need to do:

Go to Settings > Scroll down to "People" > click "Manage other users"

You can choose to what extent you can restrict other users from there and you can even restrict usage to specific users like a personal blacklist.

8. Switch To Beta Version Or Developer Mode

Chromebooks don't limit users to stable version, especially when they want a little risk in their digital lives. Users can change their Chrome versions to Beta or Developer mode by following the instructions below:

Go to account (bottom-right of the home screen) > Settings > About Chrome OS

Make your choice.

9. Recover Chrome OS

Uh-oh, you went full developer mode and messed up the system. Luckily, you can fix that by creating a recovery image using a 4.0 GB USB device. All you need to do is download the Chromebook Recovery Utility from the Chrome web store and run it. You just have to follow the app's instructions from there and make sure you correctly identify your device. The actual recovery image is between 3.5 GB and 4.0 GB and creating a recovery image will delete all other data in your USB so it would be best to dedicate a spare USB for this one.

Another important advice we can offer is that users should consider doing this trick first before making actual changes in developer mode.

10. Easy Wipe With Powerwash

It sounds like a laundry technique but Powerwash is actually a very useful and very easy feature to use in Chromebooks. Think of it as instant reformat with zero hassle.

Powerwash will wipe all your traces clean from your Chromebook in an "I want to give away my Chromebook to someone else" and not just an "if I die, delete my browser history" kind of way. In order to Powerwash your Chromebook device, all you have to do is go to Settings and scroll down. You will find a "Powerwash" button there and just one click will remove your profile, custom settings, etc. from the system.

Now you can enjoy your Chromebook better.

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