Tricks You Didn’t Know Google Chrome Can Do

Category: Browsers

Google’s Chrome browser is the most widely used browser, worldwide. Perhaps you've been using it for years, but there's always a new trick to discover. Read on to learn about some awesome, advanced, and hidden features of Chrome that can make it even more useful...

Can You Make Chrome Sit Up and Bark?

Perform a calculation: In Chrome’s “omnibox” (generally known as the address box), you can enter a mathematical calculation such as 60*60, and the result will appear even before you press Enter, in a dropdown below the omnibox. You can also ask things like "how many ounces in a cup" or "how many liters in a gallon" to get instant answers without leaving the page.

Quickly enter a web address: For example, type amazon in the omnibox and press Ctrl-Enter. Chrome will add the "www." and the ".com" and whisk you away to www.amazon.com.

Direct site search: - Start typing yahoo in Chrome’s omnibox. Before you even get to the letter "h" you will see “Press (tab) to search Yahoo!” at the far right end of the omnibox. Press the Tab key and suddenly you are searching only within Yahoo. You just skipped Yahoo's home page and typing your query into its search box.

Make Chrome Sit Up and Bark

Chrome maintains a list of “search engines” where this shortcut works, including Bing, eBay, Yahoo, and Wikipedia. To see the rest, go to the “Search” section of Chrome’s Settings and click on the button labeled “Manage search engines.” You can change your default search engine; modify or delete search engine entries; and way down at the bottom of the list you’ll find a form where you can add your own searchable site that you search often. Note that it can be a news or shopping or any other kind of site, as long as it has a “search” box of its own. This feature is also sensitive to sites you often use. I've noticed that as soon as I type the letter "a" in the omnibox, it shows “Press (tab) to search askbobrankin.com”.

Find your downloads: Have you ever downloaded something, and then couldn't find it? Press Ctrl-J and Chrome will open a new tab showing all your recent downloads. From there, you can open the downloaded file, or view the folder where it resides.

Restore a tab: Have you ever closed a tab by accident? That can be annoying, especially if it was a website that required a login, and you had navigated through several pages already. You don't have to redo all that work -- just press Ctrl-Shift-T and the tab will reopen, right where you left off. This is one of my favorite time savers in Chrome.

Multiple Windows For Related Tabs: Have you ever gotten so many tabs opened in Chrome that it’s hard to keep track of them or even read their labels? Just open new Chrome windows (copies of Chrome), then drag-and-drop related tabs into separate windows. Click the triple-line icon in Chrome’s upper-right corner and select “New Window” to open one. Switch back to your overcrowded window and use your mouse to drag and drop the tab to the new window. You can now organize many tabs in many windows, with their label fully viewable. This works especially well on dual-monitor systems, but you can still have multiple browser windows on a single screen. (Use Alt-Tab to switch between open windows.)

Add a bookmarks: That little star at the far right end of the omnibox is a quick way to add a new bookmark. Just click it to add the current web page address to the last bookmark folder you used, or select another from the list of recent folders.

Zoom in or out quickly: Press and hold the Ctrl key while rolling the mouse wheel up or down. You’ll zoom in or out on the current page; very handy for pages where the font is too small, or if you have limited vision. Using the Ctrl key along with the plus or minus key has the same effect. To return to the default zoom state, press Ctrl-0 (that's a zero).

Translate whatever you want: You don’t have to depend on Chrome to ask if you want a page translated. Go download and install the Google Translate extension. Now you can highlight any text in your Chrome browser, click on the Translate icon, and there’s your translation (or a reasonable approximation).

Get a little geeky: Enter chrome://chrome-urls/ in the omnibox and press Enter. You'll see a list of "secret" Chrome pages that are shortcuts to Chrome functions, settings and status pages. Most of them appear to be gibberish, unless you're a programmer, but there are a few links you might find interesting. The chrome://omnibox link lets you control some things about how the omnibox works. The chrome://predictors/ page shows you what websites Chrome thinks you might be wanting to visit when you start typing a URL. The chrome://flags/ page has a list of experimental features that you can enable or disable. I wouldn't mess with any of these without first doing some research. (Experiments can sometimes fail.)

These are some of my favorite Chrome tricks. There are dozens of others. Feel free to share yours in the comments below.

 
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This article was posted by on 25 Jul 2016


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Most recent comments on "Tricks You Didn’t Know Google Chrome Can Do"

Posted by:

Pete
25 Jul 2016

You continue to provide sensible, useful info every since you started in Tuscaloosa in the 1980's as part of SCHOOL BUS!
As our daily use of the computer involves greater depth of knowledge, articles like this save us time and clarify much of the fog that continues to be a significant part of our daily 'stuff' coming across our desks.
Keep on the same track; it is the mainline for many of us!


Posted by:

Jonathan
25 Jul 2016

Interesting!

Any comments, Bob, on privacy and security if using the Chrome browser?


Posted by:

Gar Suitor
25 Jul 2016

The Zoom-in/zoom-out and return to normal also works the same way in Firefox.


Posted by:

clyde reed
25 Jul 2016

have used chrome and did not like it was 5 to 8 years ago was one of the worst program I have ever used


Posted by:

pshaw
25 Jul 2016

I prefer Firefox but then I'm an old Netscape user. I used to keep Chrome on my desktop as a backup but I felt it was loading a lot of junk onto my computer and hate the Google search engine (I use DuckDuckGo for a narrower focus on search results.)


Posted by:

Charles Levy
25 Jul 2016

Good tips, Bob. I wonder if it wouldn't be useful to also mention the right-click, "context sensitive" menu, IMHO one of the best ways for users to discover useful features ... Keep it up, Big Guy!


Posted by:

KRS
25 Jul 2016

Yeah, but I'll never switch from Firefox until I can get the link list running down the left side instead of being two clicks away. If I got that I'd change in a blink. Without it, never.


Posted by:

Bob
25 Jul 2016

A few people did what I did while reading this in Firefox so in addition to the zoom I found the closed tab restore also works. Maybe that's just in Linux. Seems you can have cake and eat it too.


Posted by:

Tim
25 Jul 2016

Is that you that makes the bar at the bottom of the web page show up on my iPad? It says "related", "computer training", "computer repair service", "drivers for Windows" and an "x" to close it. If you click the x it goes away and comes right back. Very annoying.


Posted by:

hoophead
25 Jul 2016

bob, how would I 'program' a key (F?) to execute my id and password to a site I use quite often?
Thanx in advance!


Posted by:

Jim
25 Jul 2016

Another great article, Bob. I'm planning to switch from firefox to Chrome so I can track whether my outgoing emails have been opened or not. So this is good info for me to use.


Posted by:

NB
25 Jul 2016

Bob,

The Edge browser in Windows 10 does all the same tricks, except maybe the last two.

Specifically:

Perform a calculation: yes
Quickly enter a web address: yes
Direct site search: yes
Find your downloads: yes
Restore a tab: yes (didn't know about that one!)
Multiple Windows For Related Tabs: yes
Add a bookmarks (sic): yes
Zoom in or out quickly: yes
Translate whatever you want: Not sure - might have to open Bing to translate.
Get a little geeky: Don't know - not that geeky!

NB


Posted by:

R. Bown
25 Jul 2016

Excellent article, Bob.
Where is the tip on how to get Chrome to go direct to the section of a web page that contains the words quoted in the selected summary you get when doing a search?


Posted by:

Jkcook
25 Jul 2016

Of course, if you try, "Multiple Windows For Related Tabs" it will use up so much RAM that your computer will slow to a halt.


Posted by:

TW
25 Jul 2016

Everything in this article can be done in Firefox. You can download a translator app, just not the one for chrome and you can mess up Firefox's settings by using about:config in the address bar. And you can do it all while using less resources, Chrome requires more memory to run multiple windows.


Posted by:

James
26 Jul 2016

Perhaps I'm doing something wrong but the Ctrl-shift-T trick does nothing. All the others work though. Thanks


Posted by:

Paul
26 Jul 2016

I love Chrome as I am so embedded in the Google world. I do wish it could one thing though: allow me to press a shortcut key to flip between two tabs when I have more than two tabs open. Firefox can do this even without an extension, nothing I can find will enable this function in Chrome.


Posted by:

Ihor Prociuk
26 Jul 2016

You can have different zoom levels for different sites and Chrome will remember them.


Posted by:

luis
26 Jul 2016

If only they would fix their constant aw-snap crashes it would be a good browser.


Posted by:

Ken Driver
26 Jul 2016

Be sure to try Cyberfox. 64 bit ver of Firefox. It's da bomb!


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