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Master Chrome OS With These Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts

chromebook-keyboard

Keyboard shortcuts are essential on any device with a hardware keyboard, whether you’re using a Windows PC, Linux system, Mac, or even a Chromebook. Chrome OS and other operating systems share quite a few shortcuts, but many are unique to Chrome OS.

Be sure to use the function keys at the top of your keyboard, too. These keys replce the F1-F12 keys with useful browser action and hardware control buttons. You can even press a key to see all open windows at once.

Chromebook-Specific Shortcuts

Ctrl + Shift + L – Lock your Chromebook’s screen.

Ctrl + Shift + Q – Log out of your Chromebook. Press the key combination twice to quit.

chromebook-log-out-shortcut

Alt + E – Open the Chrome browser’s menu. This only works if a Chrome browser window is open and focused.

Alt + 1-8 – Launch applications located on Chrome OS’s “shelf,” or taskbar. For example, Alt + 1 will launch the first application shortcut from the left.

chromebook-app-shelf-shortcuts

Alt + [ – Dock a window to the left side of your screen.

Alt + ]  – Dock a window to the right side of your screen.

chromebook-dock-window-shortcut

Ctrl + Switcher/F5 – Take a screenshot and save it to your Downloads folder The Switcher key is located in place of the F5 key on a standard keyboard.

Ctrl + Shift + Switcher/F5 – Take a screenshot of part of the screen. Use the cursor to select the part of the screen you want to save.

Alt + Search – Toggle Caps Lock. The Search key has a magnifying glass on it and is in place of the Caps Lock key on typical keyboards.

Shift + Esc – Launch the Task Manager.

chromebook-task-manager-shortcut

Display Settings

Ctrl + Shift and + – Increase screen scale, making items appear larger on your screen.

Ctrl + Shift and - – Decrease screen scale, making items appear smaller on your screen.

Ctrl + Shift and ) – Reset screen scale to the default setting.

Ctrl + Shift + Refresh/F3 – Rotate your screen 90 degrees. The Refresh key is located where the F3 key would be located on typical keyboards.

Ctrl + Immersive Mode/F4 – Configure display settings when an external monitor is connected. The Immersive Mode key is located where the F4 key would be located on typical keyboards.

chromebook-screen-scaling-shortcut

Web Browser & Text-Editing Shortcuts

Chromebooks support all the standard web browser keyboard shortcuts you can use in Chrome or other browsers on other operating systems. For example, Ctrl + 1 activates the first tab in the current window, while Ctrl + 2 activates the second tab. Ctrl + T will open a new tab, while Ctrl + W will close the current tab. Ctrl + L will focus the location bar so you can immediately start typing a new search or website address. Read our in-depth guide to shared web browser keyboard shortcuts for many more shortcuts.

Chrome OS also supports standard text-editing keyboard shortcuts other operating systems support. For example, you can press Ctrl+Backspace to delete the previous word, use Ctrl + Z to undo, and use the standard Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, and Ctrl+V shortcuts to Cut, Copy and Paste. Consult our in-depth guide to text-editing keyboard shortcuts for more shortcuts.

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Press Ctrl + Alt + ? (or Ctrl + Alt + / ) to open a keyboard shortcut cheat sheet at any time. This cheat sheet allows you to view all your Chromebook’s keyboard shortcuts. Whether you’re looking up a keyboard shortcut you forgot, you want to master all the keyboard shortcuts, or you’re just curious, this overlay will help you master those keyboard shortcuts.

chrome-os-keyboard-shortcut-cheat-sheet


Chrome OS doesn’t allow you to create custom keyboard shortcuts for most of these actions. You can still create custom keyboard shortcuts for extensions or use an extension to create custom keyboard shortcuts for browser actions.

Image Credit: Carol Rucker on Flickr

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 05/19/14