Chrome OS does a lot of things right: it’s fast, super efficient, and great for most everyday tasks. One thing it doesn’t do very well is cater to power users, but Google is slowly changing this. Recently, Google added the ability to quickly toggle both the touch screen (on touch-compatible devices, of course) and touchpad with simple keyboard shortcuts. These settings are technically still experimental, however, so they’re hidden. Here’s how to enable them.
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure your Chrome OS device is on the Developer Channel. The good news is that this actually really easy to do—just keep in mind that if you ever want to move back to the stable or beta channels it will require a powerwash. If you’re okay with wiping your data if you ever want to go back (and really, you should be), move forward.
Once your device is ready to roll on the dev channel, you’ll need to jump into the Chrome flags page by copy/pasting the following command in the Omnibox:
This will take you directly to the command you’ll be enabling, which makes toggling the setting even easier.
Once you’re on the Flags page, the setting you’re looking for—Debugging Keyboard Shortcuts—will be highlighted. Just below the description (which really isn’t super informative), there’s an “enable” button. Go ahead and give it a click.
After the setting has been enabled, you’ll need to reboot the device before the change will take effect. The good news is that a “Reboot Now” button will appear at the bottom of the screen. A quick click and the device will reboot.
After it boots back up, the new keyboard shortcuts should work. Give them a shot:
- Toggle touchscreen: Search+Shift+T
- Toggle touchpad: Search+shift+P
And that’s pretty much it. This can really come in handy if you’re the type who uses an external mouse and doesn’t want to accidentally want to hit the pointer when you type. Or if you just don’t want to use the touchpad. Or the touch screen. But turning them back on is little more than a keystroke away. Keyboard shortcuts rule.