Category Archives: Tutorials

Six Useful Tips For Your Chromebook

Here’s some hints and tips.

Six Useful Chromebook Tricks You Might Not Know About

Know Your Mobile – By: Michael Grothaus – “Use these tricks and tips to get more out of your Chromebook

For years laptops have been rapidly eating into the desktop marketplace, becoming the preferred version of the PC most people want to own. And why not? After all, it’s great to be able to take your entire computer with you instead of being chained to your desk with it. And when it comes to laptops there’s no denying that some of the hottest and most genre-defining have been Chromebooks–laptops which are known as a ‘thin client’ notebooks.

But what is a Chromebook exactly? Many manufactures make Chromebooks (ASUS, HP, Lenovo) but the concept of a Chromebook itself was invented by Google, which makes it own Chromebook–the Pixel. Chromebooks are referred to as a ‘thin client’ notebook because for the most part it relies on a constant internet connection–or technically a connection to the millions of servers that make up ‘the internet’–to get anything done.

And you have TONS of choice when it comes to Chromebooks.

Even Samsung has joined the party now with a selection of very impressive Chromebooks.

Chromebooks run the Chrome OS, which is essentially Google’s Chrome web browser in OS form. On a Chromebook most of your files live online via Google’s services like Drive, Photos, Documents, and more and you just access them using the Chrome OS on the Chromebook device. Without an internet connection the Chromebook can’t access a lot of data, making it pretty limited in its uses.

But with an internet connection a Chromebook is probably all 95% of the population needs. And whether you use a Chromebook or are thinking about getting one, you’ll be able to take your Chromebook experience to the mx with these tips and tricks.

1) Talk to your Chromebook
This is probably my favorite Chromebook tip–because it really reflects where the future of human-computer interaction is going. You’ll already probably familiar with Google’s ‘Google Now’ voice assistant on smartphones, but did you know Google Now is backed into your Chromebook? You just need to enable it. To do so go the Settings dialog and under the Search heading check the box marked Enable ‘OK Google’ to start a voice search.

2) Learn your Chromebook keyboard shortcuts
If you look at a Chromebook keyboard you’ll notice it’s got a few differences from the keyboard of a normal laptop. Most notably, it has a Search key instead of a caps lock button. Because of its different keyboard, the Chromebook posts some different keyboard shortcuts than you’re used to. To find all the keyboard shortcuts specific to your Chromebook press Ctrl+Alt+? and a keyboard shortcut key map will appear on your screen. Alternately, hold down Alt, Ctrl, Shift or Search to see the shortcuts associated with each key.

3) Save files right to Google Drive
All Chromebooks have limited storage to save files locally on your device, but the real advantage of Chromebooks come when using them with cloud services to store files. By default a Chromebook will save files locally, but you can set up your Chromebook to always save files to Google Drive in the cloud by going to your settings and clicking ‘Show advanced settings’.

Under the Downloads header, click Change, and then select your Google Drive and click on the Open button. Finally, back on the Settings screen, uncheck the box marked ‘Ask where to save each file before downloading’ and next time you save a file it will automatically be saved to Drive.

4) Use Google Drive offline
Most people think you need to have an internet connection to create, edit, and save Google Documents on a Chromebook. However, you can actually work with all your Google Drive documents when your Chromebook is offline–you just need to enable this feature. Do so by going to the My Drive view in Google Drive, and then click on the gear icon and click Settings. Next check the box labelled ‘Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer’ next to the Offline header. Now any changes made to your documents while your Chromebook is offline are automatically synced back when you next have an internet connection.

5) Use your smartphone to unlock Chrome OS
One of my favorite tricks is using a smartphone to authenticate yourself and log into your Chromebook automatically instead of having to enter a password each time. To set this up go to the Settings page then click ‘Show advanced settings’. In the Smart Lock option, click Set up. Next you’ll pair your Chromebook to phone via Bluetooth. Once this is done the next time your phone is in range of your Chromebook, you’ll only need to click on your Chromebook user avatar to log in.

6) Mirror your Chromebook’s display with a Chromecast
As their name implies, Chromebooks only come in the laptop form factor. But what if you want a bigger display? Not to worry, if you also have a Chromecast plugged into a local TV you can mirror your Chromebook’s display right on your television. To do so simply click the status bar in the lower right-hand corner of your Chromebook’s screen. Select the Chromecast option and then choose your Chromecast from the list. Now your display will be mirrored to the TV connected to the Chromecast you chose.”

12 Great Keyboard Shortcuts for your Chromebook!

Check out these great keyboard shortcuts for your Chromebook!

12 keyboard shortcuts every Chromebook owner needs to know

CNet – By: Matt Elliott – “Chrome OS is a blissfully streamlined operating system that is easy to use. Keyboard shortcuts, however, can make navigating your Chromebook even easier. Here are the top dozen shortcuts.

1. Alt + Search

One of the first things you’ll notice about a Chromebook’s keyboard is the caps-lock key has a magnifying glass on it. Instead of locking caps, this key calls up Chrome OS’s search window. You can still do caps lock, however, by hitting the search key while holding down the Alt key.

2. Shift + Escape

This is the Chrome OS equivalent of Windows’ Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Shift-Esc calls up Chrome’s Task Manager where you can see which apps are using the most system resources and force quit an unresponsive app. This keyboard shortcut only works when Chrome is your active window; it won’t work if you have an app as its own window as your top-most, active window.

3. Search + L

Hit this combo when you get up from your Chromebook to lock it. You’ll need to enter you password upon your return to unlock it.

4. Ctrl + Shift + Q(x2)

Hold down Ctrl and Shift and hit the Q key twice to log out of your Chromebook.

5. Alt + 1-9

If you have pinned your favorite apps to Chrome OS’s shelf, then you can use these shortcuts to open them. Alt-1 opens the leftmost app pinned to the shelf, for example, while Alt-9 opens the rightmost app.

7. Alt + [ or ]

These two shortcuts are great for multitasking. The left bracket combo docks the active window to the left side of your screen, and the right bracket does the opposite, letting you quickly set up side-by-side windows.

8. Alt + –

Alt plus the minus-sign key minimizes your active window. With your desktop clear, this combo will the restore the last window you minimized.

9. Alt + =

Alt plus the equals key stretches your current active window across your desktop. It’s not quite full-screen mode because it leaves the header at the top of the window. You can use the full-screen key (found in the F4 spot) to go full screen.

10. Alt + backspace

The backspace key deletes the character to the left of your cursor. Windows PCs, however, have a separate delete key that deletes characters to the right of the cursor. To get this Windows delete-key functionality on a Chromebook, just hold down the Alt key when you backspace.

11. Ctrl + ‘switch window’ key

The switch window key is usually found in the F5 spot on a Chromebook keyboard. Combined with the Ctrl key, it takes a screenshot of your entire desktop and saves it to your Downloads folder. To take a screenshot of only a portion of your desktop, use Ctrl + Shift + switch window key.

12. Ctrl + Alt + /

It’s easier to think of this combo as using the ? symbol, which is the shifted version of the forward-slash. If you have a question about keyboard shortcuts, this combo calls up a keyboard overlay to show you the various keyboard shortcuts available for Chrome OS.”

You Can “Force-Quit” Apps on Chromebooks!

Do you ever get “stuck” with an app that won’t close on your Chromebook? There is a way to Force-Quit!

How to force quit apps on a Chromebook

CNET – By: Matt Elliott – “When things go sideways with Windows, there’s Ctrl-Alt-Delete to get you to the Task Manager where you can investigate what’s causing the problem and end any unresponsive apps. When something goes wrong on a Mac, there’s Command-Option-Escape to call up the Force Quit Applications window. But when an app freezes or starts acting sluggish on a Chromebook, where do you turn? Is there a keyboard shortcut that can put an end to your troubles?

Chromebook Task Manager

I have good news for Chromebook users. There is such a keyboard shortcut, and it’s quite simple. When something is amiss on your Chromebook and you need to force quit an app, hit Shift-Escape. This keyboard shortcut calls up Chrome’s Task Manager. Since Chrome apps are the only kinds of apps that a Chromebook runs, Chrome’s Task Manager is the only task manager you need on a Chromebook. Just click on the app that’s giving you problems and hit the End Process button.

At the top of the Task Manager, you’ll see Chrome listed. You can’t select it and force quit it because Chrome OS isn’t anything more than the Chrome browser with a bit of window dressing, which means that quitting Chrome would amount to shutting down your Chromebook. If you are experiencing an issue that force quitting an app can’t solve, then shut down your Chromebook by clicking the system tray in the bottom-right corner of your display and then clicking the power button. Or if you’re really stuck, hold down the power button for 3 seconds to power down your system.”

How to Add Filesystem Connections

Last week I mentioned the “File System for Dropbox” app, now you can connect even more in the way of file services to your ChromeOS file system on your Chromebook:

SMB/CIFS
Microsoft OneDrive
SFTP Sites
WebDAV Sites

Simply go to your “Files” app on your Chromebook, then choose “Add new services”… if you don’t see this option, be sure to do an update of your ChromeOS, as it is a recent feature.

Even more external file system support is available via Jollicloud Drive. The free version of the Jollicloud Drive app allows a few connections, but the paid version offers many more!

Secure Your Chromebook!

You may just close your Chromebook when you are using it, and then lay it down. Anyone could come along, pick it up, and resume your session, UNLESS you enable password upon waking! This is a neat way to protect your information and enhance your Chromebook’s security!

To enable Password on Waking, do these steps:

1) Open your Chrome “Settings” option,

2) Go to your “Users” section,

3) Check the option “Require password to wake from sleep.”

Now, your session will be password protected!

If you don’t want to enable this option, you can also simply remember, when you lay your Chromebook aside, to manually lock your Chromebook by clicking on the “padlock” button in the menu area, or hold down the Power Button until the screen flashes and your login screen appears.