Google Chrome Hints

I've previously discussed here why Google Chrome is the better web browser. In this article, I'll go over a few useful tips and tricks to get more out of Chrome.

These tips are just the, well, tip of the iceberg. But they are easy to use and can make Chrome itself easier and more enjoyable.

Tip: Zooming in and Out

Sometimes the font used on a web page is too small and you probably wished you could enlarge it some. You do have some control over that! On today's wide monitors, there's usually enough room on the sides to zoom in a little on most web pages.

Touch and hold the Ctrl key (with a left-hand finger) then using a right-hand finger, tap the plus "+" key to zoom in a little. Tap repeatedly to zoom in more and more. If you zoom in too far then things become too large and hard to navigate so you'll want to zoom out a little. To zoom out, use the Ctrl and minus "-" keys. Depending on your monitor and font size, zooming in to 125% or 150% is ideal. Try it now, on this web page. Most web pages can handle zooming just fine.

Tip: Changing Your Printer

Google uses it's own printer setting program. While you are previewing a page to be printed, here's how to select the printer.

  1. Near the top-left of the print window, look for a button marked "Change..."  Click it.

  2. The preview window will gray-out and a small window will appear centered on the screen. In this window, look for "Local Destinations" about half way down. Below this, you'll see your various print devices. Select the print device you want to use.

The reason I'm mentioning this tip here is because Chrome remembers the last printer you used. If, for some reason, Chrome doesn't see your printer (maybe it was off or disconnected) then it may automatically choose another printer or, usually, the "Save as PDF" option. But when your printer comes back online, Chrome may not automatically switch back to it. I've received many calls from clients asking why Chrome wants to save to a PDF file instead of printing on paper as you probably intend. So use this tip to change where Chrome tries to print.

Tip: Bookmarks Bar

Did you know you can have a bookmarks or "favorites bar" across the top of your Chrome browser window? If you presently do not see a bookmarks bar, here's how to enable it.

Touch and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys using your left hand then touch the "B" key. You should see the thin bookmarks bar appear running all the way across the browser window near the top. To add a new item to the bookmarks bar, either click the hollow star near the top-right corner or touch Ctrl D keys.

The shorter you make the bookmark titles, the more bookmarks will fit on the bar. So when you click the star or press Ctrl D and you see the "Bookmark added!" box pop up, go ahead and shorten the name. If the "favicon" (the icon that appears on the toolbar) is unique and recognizable, then you could remove the name altogether and have only the icon as the bookmark. For example. the favicon is instantly recognizable, so no need to include the word "Amazon" on the bookmark. If you used the favicons only, you could fit a couple of dozen bookmarks on the bar, maybe more.

Tip: Setting Your Starting Pages

Chrome can automatically open one or more web pages when you start Chrome. I like having my Gmail account, contacts and calendar all appear automatically. Here's how to do this.

  1. Start Chrome, then manually open all the web pages you'd like to see automatically start after you finish.

  2. On the top-right corner of the Chrome window, click the Chrome menu button (it's three vertical dots)

  3. Click "Settings" near the bottom, this opens a new tab

  4. Scroll down a bit, then under "On startup" click "Manage on startup pages" (this expands the selection)

  5. Click the circle to the left of "Open a specific page or set of pages".

  6. Look down a little, then click "Use current pages".

  7. Click the "Use current pages" button.

  8. Close the tab.

Now, when you open the first Chrome window, these web pages will automatically load. They will not load in subsequent Chrome windows, only the first one.

Tip: A Quick Way to Get a New Tab

Chrome, like other browsers, lets you open multiple tabs in the same window. This way, you can open multiple pages without losing your place on already opened-pages.

Touch Ctrl T to open a new tab. Or click the little parallelogram to the right of the tab strip at the very top of the Chrome window. 

Tip: Open a New Link Without Losing Your Place

Another useful feature is to load a link into a new tab so you don't lose your place on the current web page. Suppose you are looking at a page with several links that you'd like to follow and read. But you know that if you click on any of them, you'll be taken to the new page and you'll lose your place on the current page. Here's how to fix that.

Instead of clicking the link the normal way, which is a left-click -- do this instead: Right-Click the link then select "Open link in new tab" from the popup menu that appears. The new link will open on a new tab in the background, all the while leaving you on the old page. To select the new link, just click the new tab that appeared on the tab strip up top. Your old page will still be there. Just click its tab to be taken back.

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