10 essential Chromebook keyboard shortcuts you need to know

Android Central

Android Central
Android Central

Getting to know your Chromebook's keyboard can save time and make you more productive.

If you're one of those people who want to keep their hands on the keyboard when they're sitting in front of a computer — I know I am — then you need to check out the keyboard shortcuts built into your Chromebook.

There are over 100 different things you can do with the keys alone. You can access menus, start apps, switch between things, check your notifications and do just about anything you would ever need in the browser using a combination of the modifier keys (Control, Alt, and Shift) combined with other keys. Some of them you already know because they are universal across most things with a keyboard, like copying text with the Control + c key combo. Others you might not know — like switching languages with Control + Shift + space bar. Even shortcuts you should never need to use, like Alt + Search for CAPS LOCK are there. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH THE CAPS LOCK.

Of course very few of us will memorize all the different things we can do through our Chromebook keyboard or which keys we need to press to do them. But I do have a few I use every day, and I think you'll benefit from knowing my top ten. Here they are, in no specific order.

  • See all the shortcuts with Control + Alt + / (see a full keyboard overlay with Control + Alt + ?)
  • Open the file manager with Alt + Shift + m
  • Launch an app from your shelf with Alt + 1 through 8
  • Open the browser menu with Alt + e
  • Snap open windows with Alt + [ (snap to the left side) and Alt + ] (snap to the right side)
  • Turn a word into a URL by typing it into the Ominbar then pressing Control + Enter
  • Move the cursor by the word instead of the letter in a text field with Control + right/left arrows (highlight each word as you move through them with Control + Shift + right/left arrow)
  • Open your notifications with Control + Alt + n
  • Switch tabs with Control + 1 through 8 (open the last tab on the right with Control + 9)
  • Reopen the last tab you closed with Control + Shift + T

Protip: If you use the same tab(s) day in and day out, drop it in the number one (furthest left) spot. I keep three tabs I always have open in positions one, two, and three. And none of them are Android Central because it stays at the very end at all times. With my pinky finger on the Control key, I can get to them without ever moving the cursor.

These are the ones I know by heart — my brain just can't hold any more of them in memory — my RAM is full. I know there are shortcuts for changing screen zoom (Control + and - because I just looked. Again.) but I can never remember them when I need them. Instead, I know Alt + e opens the menu where I can click the tiny button to do it. Thankfully, you can bookmark a page that has them all at Google's Chromebook Help center or just memorize the first one in my list.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets plenty of mileage from my keyboard. If you have any shortcuts you use every day, let us know in the comments!

Update, September 2017: Nothing has changed, so we can stay productive on our Chromebooks!


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