Google Chromebook logo on a grey background

Like the taskbar on Windows, the shelf in Google’s Chrome OS helps you manage your open apps and launch new ones on your Chromebook. Here’s how to customize the shelf by moving it or hiding it completely.

How to Move the Chromebook Shelf to the Top, Left, or Right

It’s easy to position the Chrome OS shelf on the left, right, or bottom edge of your screen. First, right-click the shelf or an empty part of your desktop. In the menu that pops up, select “Shelf Position.” In the sub-menu, select either “Left,” “Bottom,” or “Right” depending on your preference.

In the menu that pops up, select "Shelf Position," then select "Left, "Bottom," or "Right."

For example, if you set the shelf to appear on the left side of the screen, it will look similar to the below screenshot.

A ChromeOS desktop with the shelf on the left side of the screen.

You can still use the shelf like you would if it were on the bottom of the screen—and the same goes for the right side, too. The launcher, quick settings menu, and app icons all work as you’d expect.

If you change your mind and want to change your shelf’s location again, just right-click the shelf (or the desktop) and revisit the “Shelf Position” menu.

RELATED: How to Right-Click on a Chromebook

How to Automatically Hide the Chromebook Shelf

If you’d like to free up some screen space by hiding the Chrome OS shelf, it only takes a couple of clicks. At any time, right-click the shelf and select “Autohide shelf” in the menu that appears.

In the menu that pops up, select "Autohide Shelf."

Immediately, your shelf will vanish. But it’s not gone forever—just hiding.

A ChromeOS desktop with a hidden shelf.

To get the shelf to show up again, move your mouse cursor to the edge of the screen where the shelf is usually positioned. Wait for a moment or click the left mouse button, and the shelf will reveal itself. When you move your cursor away from the shelf, it will hide again automatically. Have fun!

RELATED: Chromebooks in 2022: Can One Be Your Full-Time Computer?

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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