30 Hidden Chrome Features That Will Make Your Life Easier

Hidden Chrome Features

Browsers have evolved far beyond their original mission of providing one-way windows into the world wide webosphere. Indeed, as more services migrate to the cloud, browsers only reinforce their new role as multi-function boxes of digital magic.

All the important Internet things are available in browser form—fromcommunication tools to productivity suites to disposable escapist entertainment. It’s almost like the browser has become an OS in and of itself. In fact, you could say that’s exactly where things are headed.

While there is plenty of debate out there as to which browser is best, for my money it’s the sleek, minimalist package known as Google Chrome. And the data shows that most users agree: According to the latest numbers from W3Schools, 71.4 percent of people are using Chrome, more than double the next highest, Firefox (16.9 percent), with IE (5.7 percent) and Safari (3.6 percent) trailing far behind.

These numbers are based on visitors to W3’s site, so they aren’t a definitive representation of the greater population; Net Applications gave Chrome about 48.65 percent of the global browser market share in June, for example. But numbers aside, Chrome is a popular browser, and if you’re not using it, you should at least consider checking it out.

One of the reasons for Chrome’s popularity is its clean, polished UI and its versatility. While Chrome’s abilities multiply greatly when you consider the near-bottomless library of extensions, there’s a bounty of stock functionality embedded all throughout Chrome’s guts that you may not even know about.

Click through our slideshow for a list of 30 hidden tricks hidden inside Chrome that you really need to be using.

1-Search Directly Into Individual Sites Using the Omnibox

You can automatically search through many websites without actually going to those sites, as long as they’re in your list of search engines (if not, we’ll get to that below).

This is beneficial if you wanted, for example, to go directly to the Wikipedia article on orangutans and skip the stops of going to Google or Wikipedia’s front pages first. If this trick is enabled, you simply start typing “Wikipedia,” and the far right side of the omnibox will prompt you to press tab to search within the site (in this case, Wikipedia).

Once you press tab, a solid block will appear in the left side of the omnibox that says “search Wikipedia” after which you can type your search within in that site (in this case, “orangutans”).

Hit return, and you’ll be taking in the Internet’s collected knowledge about our fuzzy orange friends.This function isn’t even just specific to reference or search sites.

You can use the omnibox to search directly through nearly any site, even PCMag.com—as long as it’s included in your managed list of search engines.

Google will automatically add these “keyword searches” to any site you visit. If a site is not included in your list, or you want to change the prompt keyword (its typically the website’s name), just go to Settings > scroll down to Search and click the “Managesearch engines…” button.

2-Drag Multiple Tabs at Once

Most people are familiar with the ability to drag and drop Chrome tabs into their own browser windows, or mix and match them between browser windows, but they may not know that it can be done with more than one tab at a time. Just hold down the Ctrl key and click on all the tabs you wish to move and you can move them as one. If you’re on a Mac, hold the Command key.

3-A Simpler Way to Search Words or Phrases

Highlighting a word and performing a drag and drop is fundamentally the same as performing a cut and paste, so it stands to reason that you could just highlight a word or phrase and drag it into the omnibox to perform a Web search. Conversely, you can also just right-click on highlighted word or phrase and you will prompt a pop-up option to conduct a Google search (on a Mac, Control-click on a highlighted word).

4-Open Accidentally Closed Tabs

Have you ever mistakenly closed a tab? We all have. BUT thankfully Chrome is a forgiving browser and makes it possible to get it all back. All you have to do is press Control-Shift-T (Command-Shift-T on a Mac) and Chrome will reopen any recently closed tabs. You can keep hitting it for more closed tabs working your way back through your browsing history.

5-Drag a URL to the Bookmarks Bar

If you come across a website you will want continual and easy access to, you can quickly add it to your Bookmarks Bar by highlighting the URL and dragging directly down to the Bar. Boom. You can edit it later if you want to change the name. You can drag a URL in from sources other than Chrome as well.

6-Browse Through Tabs Using Key Commands

If you ever need to read something quick on another tab, hold down the Control key (Command on Macs) and a number 1 through 9. Each number is associated with a different tab starting with 1 all the way to the left and moving incrementally through 9 tabs as you move to the right.

7-Open Specific Pages at Start

If you use the Web like me, you end up going to the same sites every time you log on. Conveniently, you can set Chrome up to open those same websites every time you start up. In the Settings menu, go to the section “On Startup” (or just type chrome://settings/startup in the omnibox) and click on the option to “Open a specific page or set of pages.” Next to that option is a “Set pages” link, which allows you to choose your starting sites (it will even auto fill from sites in your recent history or you can choose the tabs you currently have open).

8-Open a Search in New Tab

By default, searching in the omnibox for “taco” and hitting return opens a search for everything “taco” in your current tab. However, sometimes you want to look up information, but don’t want to lose the site you are on. Fortunately there is a key command workaround: Hold down the Alt button and hit return on your search and this will open in a new tab. Mac users, press the Command button instead.

9-Create a Profile for Your Kid (That You Control and Supervise)

You wouldn’t let the tiny little people in your world run free without supervision, and you shouldn’t let them run wild in the digital world unsupervised either. Chrome allows you to set up a separate profile for your kid, which YOU monitor and control.

First, create a new profile by going to Settings > People > Add person. Make sure to click the box next to “Control and view the websites this person visits from [your log-on account] and click Add. These supervised identities will not be set up with their own Google identity (which means they are theoretically not being tracked and targeted by Google’s ad business).

A few minutes later (in my experience, it may be up to 10 minutes later), you’ll receive an email link leading you to the supervised user’s page. Once there, you’ll have the ability to block certain sites, keep SafeSearch on lock, and view that user’s Web activities.

You can then log your kid into Chrome under their own identity by clicking the identity tag up in the top-right corner of the browser window. You also have the ability to set up multiple identities for multiple kids.

10-Secret Pages in Chrome

If you get bored of surfing the traditional Web, there are a few dozen hidden Chrome pages that you can check out on your browser. All you have to do is type the “Chrome URL” (usually begins with chrome://) into the omnibox. Some of these addresses are pages you find via Settings, but some are only available via a direct link.

Most of these pages are hidden for a reason: because you’ll never need to use them —they’re just under-the-hood info for coders and developers. You can find an official clickable list by typing chrome://chrome-urls into the omnibox. If you’re curious as to what they mean, Ghacks has put together a list of what each is used for.

11-A Lot of Information Hidden in That Omnibox

If you didn’t know, clicking the little star in the far right side of the omnibox will prompt a bookmark list, which allows you to easily add a site to your list of favorites (I honestly didn’t know this until recently).

You may have also noticed on the far left of your omnibar a little icon that resembles a folded piece of paper or lock (to signify a secured site). If you click on it, it will prompt a window with all sorts of information about the site, as well as permissions particular to that site, which you can then manipulate.

12-Chrome is a Simple Multimedia Browser

Have you ever been organizing your computer and come across some multimedia file and you have no idea what it is or how it got on your computer? Well if you just want to see what it is real quick, drag it directly into your Chrome browser window and take a quick gander.

13-Automatically Download Files to Your Desktop

This tip may not be for everyone. However, if you’re like me, you want quick access to a file you just downloaded and not have to open an additional window to get to it it. One way to achieve this is to have every file automatically download to your desktop for quick access.

To change where files automatically download, go to Settings (chrome://settings/), scroll down and click the Advanced Settings link, and then scroll down to Downloads. There you can alter where files automatically download to (in my case, I prefer the desktop). Alternatively, you can also click the option for Chrome to ask you where documents should go before every download. Use what works best for you.

14-Add Events in Google Calendar From the Omnibox

You can use your Omnibox to access Google Calendar’s “quick add” function. First thing to do is copy this line of code:


Next, go to Settings, scroll down to Search, click on “Manage search engines…” (chrome://settings/searchEngines) and a new window will open. Scroll all the way down until you see three fields labeled “Add a new search engine,” “Keyword,” and “URL with %s in place of quotes” (don’t worry about that crazy talk in that last one).

In the first field, just write “Google Calendar,” in the keyword field write “Calendar” (or whatever omnibox prompt you would like to use when you use this function). In the third field, paste the line of code you copied above. Then click done.

Now type “calendar” (or whatever you chose to put in the keyword field) in the omnibox and hit tab, and you should get a solid tab box that says “search Google Calendar.” Don’t let the “search” part fool you, you will only be adding information.

Use plain sentence-style English to describe a future event with all the whats, wheres, and whens. Google is fairly adept at wringing out the details and translating it into a Calendar event. In the above example, after prompting the calendar search, I typed “eat all the tuna fish in the world next Tuesday at 8:30” and then hit return to automatically open an autopopulated Google Calendar tab with all the correct information. From there, all I had to do was press “SAVE” or “Discard.”

15-Zoom In and Zoom Out

On a PC, you can zoom in or out on a page by pressing Control while rolling your scroll wheel up or down (or by pressing Control-Plus or Control-Minus). Once you zoom in or out from the default, a magnifying glass icon will appear in the right side of the omnibox. You can click the magnifying glass to manually zoom in or out or hit “Reset to default” to return to the normal 100 percent view. Conversely, you can also click Control-0 to return to the default.

On a Mac, you can zoom in and out by pressing Command-plus or Command-minus. Pressing the Command-0 function will still bring you back to default.

16-Navigate Up and Down Using Key Commands

You can use the spacebar to scroll down on any webpage, and you can scroll back up by pressing Shift and the spacebar.

17-Easy Key Command to Delete Browsing History

If you ever want to delete your browsing history, including past URLs, cached images, passwords, and cookies, you can do that all through the clear browsing window in Settings. You can access it quickly by pressing Control-Shift-Delete and a “Clear browsing data” window will open. (Press shift-Command-Delete to access this function on a Mac.)

18-Hidden T-Rex Game

Did you know that Chrome has a hidden game featuring a monochromatic T-Rex? You can access it by manually disconnecting your device from the Internet and then opening a new tab. This will prompt a page that says “Unable to connect to the Internet,” and will feature a little 8-bit style T-Rex at the top (if you watch, you’ll notice he/she blinks every few seconds).

To play, just hit the space bar and you’ll enter a forever-runner game in which the T-Rex runs along a desert landscape. Press the spacebar to make it hop over the various cacti and vultures it encounters. It’s great fun for like 40 seconds.

19-Drag Links Directly to Your Desktop

There are numerous ways to store and organize links you want to click on later. However, one method you may not be utilizing—or even aware of—is the ability to create a link icon directly on your desktop. All you have to do is highlight a URL from the omnibox and drag and drop it on the desktop. Chrome automatically creates a clickable icon that you can use later, or organize as you would like.

20-Get Experimental With Chrome

Chrome recently celebrated the 1000th “Chrome experiment” submission. These experiments are user-submitted projects that take advantage of Chrome’s capabilities, and you can check them out at the aptly named chromeexperiments.com (though most of them seem to work just fine in other browsers as well).

21-Chrome Mobile Flip (Android Only)

Here’s a neat little trick that will probably only be of interest to those most desperately in need of diversion. Open your mobile Chrome browser on Android (it only works on Android), go to Tab view, swipe up five times and your tab(s) will do a little barrel roll. Note: It only appears to work when vertical. Enjoy!

22-Task Manager

Just like your Windows PC, your desktop browser has its very own task manager, which you can use to monitor the various processes it is undertaking and how much resources it is diverting to each.

To access the manager in Windows, click the hamburger in the top-right corner > More tools > Task manager. (The little grayed-out note next to the menu option says that Shift + Esc should also be able to prompt the manager, but I couldn’t get it to work for some reason.)

Once you open the task manger, you will see all the plugins, extensions, and tabs that are currently in progress. But you’ll also see how much of your browser’s resources each process is using (things like memory and image cache). If one of those processes seems like it’s causing a problem (like slowing down or stalling your browser), you can highlight it with a click of the “End process” button at the bottom of the window. #Boom.

23-Translate Anything

Chrome already has built-in Google Translate for entire webpages. But if you just want information on a select phrase or passage, you can get it with just two clicks. First, install the official Google Translate extension. Then you can highlight any unfamiliar text (that’s one click) and click the little Google Translate icon that sits in the top-right side of your browser screen (that’s two). Look at you, Mr./Ms. polyglot-by-proxy!

24- 100 Tabs (Mobile Only)

Bored? Like really really bored? Open your Chrome mobile browser and open 100 tabs. You’ll notice that the little tab counter at the top right-hand corner becomes a little grinning emotion 😀

This trick doesn’t work on desktop. And, yes, I tried. The things I do for you people…

25-Add Some Color With Themes

Tired of the default look on Chrome? You can download some (mostly free) “themes” from the Chrome store. Just click over to the Theme section and click to install; no need to re-start.

These themes mostly just change the edge of your browser, unless you go to the default apps page (chrome://apps), in which case it becomes your background, as you can see in the image above. (in this case, I used the free “Night Time In New York” theme.)

26-Enable Cloud Printing

As you might expect, Chrome plays nicely with Google Cloud Printing (the default printing method for Chromebooks). Cloud printing allows users to print to any connected printer from anywhere. It’s easy to set up any “Cloud Ready” printer, just follow your manufacturer’s provided instructions (or click here).

But if you have a “classic printer,” you can still hook it up to Cloud Printing—as long as it’s connected to a computer on which Chrome is installed and any remote printers are logged in to the same Google account. To set up your printer, on the associated computer’s Chrome browser go to Settings > Show advanced settings… > add new printers Google Cloud Print.

27-Update Autofill For Easier Shopping

With everything going on in the world right now, I feel like a jerk complaining about the need to retrieve a physical credit card from my wallet in order to purchase something online. But yet here I am.

Thankfully Chrome has a little trick to mitigate this first-world annoyance. Just go to Settings > Show advanced settings… > Manage Autofill settings (under “Passwords and forms”). Here, you’ll be able add /edit addresses and credit card numbers.

You have the ability to store numerous credit cards. When Chrome identifies a form to purchase something, the credit cards you’ve saved will automatically show up in a drop-down list (you’ll still have to enter the CVC number). This feature is particularly handy on mobile as Google has linked the desktop autofill to the Chrome mobile apps.

28-One-Tap Mobile Search (for Android)

As we went over earlier, you can search any term in Chrome for Desktop just by right-clicking it, but there’s a handy equivalent for the Android mobile version. Just highlight any word or phrase via a long tap and Chrome will create a search for that term via a pull-up menu—just slide up once you see the prompt at the bottom of your screen.

29-Opt Out of Flash Muting (Don’t Do This)

Flash is dying (finally). That’s a good thing; it’s a huge resource hog. To that end, Team Chrome wisely decided to place Flash in a special category where it will “intelligently pause” content (like Flash animations) that “aren’t central to the webpage” in order to spare battery life.

If you really wanted to opt out of this default feature (you don’t want to), go to Settings > Show advanced settings > Content settings… (under Privacy) > Manage individual plugins… > check the box next to Adobe Flash Player.

Later this year, HTML5 will become the “primary experience” on Chrome, if a website offers it. If you visit a site that requires Flash to work, Chrome will display a prompt at the top of the page asking if you want to run Flash.

30-Add to Desktop

Earlier in this slideshow, we showed you how you can drag a URL to your desktop (this is actually just dragging the URL text to the desktop, which can be used as a kind of bookmark). But Chrome offers an elegant, baked-in feature that allows users to add a clickable link to your desktop for later use.

Just click the hamburger in the top-right corner > More tools > Add to desktop. This will prompt a pop-up window, which will allow you to name the link file (and a checkbox that gives you the option to open this page in a new window). This creates a clickable link on your desktop with an icon to represent the page. This feature is of limited use, but there ya go.

Source : pcmag

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