Best Chromebook Basics and Tutorial for Dummies (2021 Guide)
Despite Chromebook being a straightforward device, that’s not to say that you wouldn’t need a few tips and tricks to make your browsing, gaming, and general use of your ‘machine’ fun and simple.
In this guide, we take you through the Chromebook basics to help you make the most out of your device.
For instance, how to copy and paste, how to delete apps, how to invert colors on Chromebook, how to speed up your Chromebook etc.
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Chromebook Basics?
Some Chromebooks have 360-degree hinges that allow the Chromebook to be fully convertible. Chromebooks can even be equipped with completely removable displays, which helps to reduce the weight when it’s tablet-time. The Pixelbook is the most maneuverable (and expensive) model. It can easily switch between tablet and laptop mode, as well as entertainment mode, in a matter of seconds. This eye-catching model is more expensive than the Chromebook Flip series, which is a 2-in-1 option.
Parents may be interested in Chromebooks that can withstand a beating while still being able to work. Some models have spill-resistant keyboards or rubberized exterior components. For added durability, you can also get drop protection and Gorilla Glass cases. A Chromebook designed to absorb drops will be ideal if it is going to be carried around in a child’s backpack several times per day. The spill-resistant keyboard is almost a necessity for many people.
Some shoppers also consider the aesthetic aspect of a purchase decision. While most Chromebooks are made of plastic, there are many elegant models available with aluminum exteriors like the Asus Chromebook flip we reviewed. No matter what your preference is, the overall design and functionality of the purchase will be a good starting point. This will streamline the entire process and save you valuable time.
2. Size and weight
Whether you’re a busy business professional or a college student going from classroom-to-classroom, in the realm of laptop computing, portability is key. Although larger screens make for better personal media viewing rooms, they can also be cumbersome to carry around in a backpack. For younger children, lightweight 2-in-1 devices might be more suitable, especially if they are intended to be used during school hours. For casual home use, 2-in-1 convertible Chromebooks are generally lighter and more portable than larger 2-in-1 Chromebooks. This is an important detail that I prefer, but it is worth noting.
3. Screen features
The screen is an essential feature when you buy a 2-in-1 Chromebook. A touchscreen that supports stylus compatibility and multi-touch functionality is essential.
A screen should be as vivid and bright as possible. This is especially important if you intend to watch many movies on your Chromebook or use it for graphics design or illustration.
You should also look for displays with high resolution. You should also check the brightness level and nits. These indicators will tell you if the screen is bright, accurate, saturated, or dull.
If you intend to use a stylus digitally, the texture of your screen is important. You can draw directly onto the screen with 2 in 1 Chromebooks.
A matte, smooth surface is better than shiny or slippery. You can then have a true pen-on-paper experience.
All Chromebooks have at least one USB 2.0 port. Some new Chromebooks offer faster USB-C connectivity. Chromebooks are lightweight and portable, so don’t expect too much. Chromebooks are missing wired ports but make up for it with Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity.
The Chromebook’s processor will determine its power. This is important information as it will impact how the Chromebook handles multitasking and runs heavy apps. A powerful processor will make the process faster and more enjoyable.
A lot of Chromebooks are equipped with an Intel Celeron processor. This provides fair performance. It’s better to find an Intel Core processor. You can choose from i3, i5, or i7 models. The higher the number, you get more power.
You can run more applications at once if you have more RAM. 8GB is the ideal base for any Windows or Mac-compatible device. You can use 4GB for Chromebooks. For students who will use the laptop only for basic tasks such as email, writing reports and listening to music, 8GB is sufficient. This will ensure that the laptop lasts for a few years. We recommend 8GB for students who are interested in editing photos, videos, or gaming. Your computer may lag if you run too many programs at once and don’t have enough memory.
7. Storage internal
Chrome OS heavily relies on Google Drive for cloud storage. Chromebooks have a very limited onboard storage, often between 16GB to 64GB. You can expand the storage by using a microSD card. Some Chromebooks have faster solid-state drives (SSD) but we recommend that you get a microUSB or thumb drive to store local data. If you’re concerned about running out, you can subscribe to more cloud storage via Google.
8. Battery life
While batteries are heavy, expensive and large, they also have a high price. However, the power consumption of laptops has increased. Most modern laptops can last for a whole day without charging. There are two options: you can choose to get something more durable or go for a smaller machine with fewer battery life.
Chromebooks are more efficient than other laptops, and some can run for days without needing to be plugged in. A bigger battery is necessary if you plan to travel long distances and watch movies on the move.
You should also be skeptical about the advertised laptop longevity. Although it is useful to compare, laptops in real life almost always run out of power much faster than what the manufacturers claim.
Chromebook users will connect to the internet via WiFi. ChromeOS makes it easy to connect to multiple WiFi networks so that Chromebook users always have an internet connection. Chromebooks can connect with any network using the following settings.
Many Chromebooks include an internal webcam. These webcams can sometimes be poor quality. There are many external USB Webcams that can be used with Chromebooks, including those that work with Skype or other video conferencing software. You will need to verify that the webcam is compatible with Chromebook, unlike Mac or Windows machines. Some webcams may not be compatible with Chromebooks. Make sure the webcam that you purchase will work with ChromeOS
11. Operating Systems (OS)
Operating system. If you are buying a new laptop, it will generally be Windows 10 or ChromeOS if your Chromebook has it. MacOS is also available on Macbooks. This is a significantly different version to the first two. It’s worth going to your local computer shop to test them out before you buy.
1. How to copy and paste on Chromebook
Using keyboard shortcuts
With this method, you will first need to highlight the text/content you want to copy using a touchpad. The next step is to press the Ctrl+ C keys at the same time to copy the text.
Then, navigate to the section within the document where you want to insert your content. Position the cursor and press Ctrl + V keys at the same time to paste your content.
Using the right-click method
Locate the text or content you want to copy, either in a Google document file, email or a web-page.
The next step is to left-click at the edge of the text and drag the cursor so as to highlight the entire content to be copied.
Once highlighted, right-click anywhere on the selected text to bring in the context menu. If you are using a touchpad, hold the Alt key as you click on the touchpad. Alternatively, click the touchpad with your two fingers at the same time. If you are using a mouse, you only need to click the right-hand button.
Once the context menu pops out, click on the paste menu to insert the copied content to the desired location.
Using Menu Commands
Highlight the text that you want to copy using a touchpad.
Click on the Google Chrome menu bar at the top-right corner of the Chromebook’s window to bring up the context menu.
Click on the copy menu.
Then, hover to the location you want to paste your copied content and locate the cursor.
The next step is to right-click the menu command at the top-right of the windows.
Click on the paste menu and your copied content will be pasted.
Using the traditional method
This method is a time-saver, and it works pretty well especially when selecting an entire document in a webpage or Google Docs file.
To do this, select the entire document by pressing the Ctrl+A buttons at the same time.
Then, copy the highlighted text by right-clicking the context menu or pressing the Ctrl + C buttons. However, note that with this method you will copy everything including the buttons, objects, and headers.
Copying and Pasting Web Images
Hover the cursor over the image you want to copy. Press both the Alt and trackpad at the same time to launch the context menu. Alternatively, right-click on the image that you want to copy.
Proceed to copy your image by selecting the copy menu. After that, locate where you would like to paste your image and position the cursor. Again, press Alt as you click the trackpad to launch the context menu.
Lastly, click on the paste menu. There you have it!
Alternatively, if you are copying the image on an image editing app, once you copy the image, create a new image on the app then press Ctrl+V buttons to paste it.
However, some Chromebook brands don’t allow pasting images this way. If that is the case and the app can open images from a URL, then, click on the copy image URL instead of the copy image by right-clicking the image in question.
2. How to copy videos on a Chromebook
The initial step is to hover the cursor over the video. Then, right-click anywhere on the video or in case you are using a touchpad, tap with two fingers at the same time.
Proceed to copy your video by clicking on the copy video URL or copy embedded code on the launch menu. Either of these methods works the same way. However, the URL is ideal for pasting videos in a chat stream.
Locate where you want to paste your image and position the cursor. Then, press the Ctrl + V key buttons at the same time to paste the image.
3. How to Zoom in on Chromebook
While the Chromebook features a default screen that is correctly sized, at times you may want to have a clear view of a page or even the entire desktop.
So how do you go about it?
How to zoom in, on a single page
Magnifying a single page is a straightforward process. Zooming in magnifies the page by say 10 percent and if you desire to zoom in further, the magnification rises to 25, 50 up to 100%.
There are two ways that you can use to zoom in your page. The first one entails having your two fingers positioned on the Chromebook’s trackpad. Then, move the fingers apart from each other until you achieve your desired magnification.
On the other hand, you can zoom in using the key buttons. It involves pressing the Ctrl+ plus (+) buttons at the same time. If you wish to further magnify the page, all you have to do is to continue pressing the Ctrl + Plus (+) keys until you achieve the right magnification for you.
Remember, a Chromebook basics allows magnification of up to 500 percent.
How to zoom in entire desktop
Chromebook also allows you to zoom the entire desktop with ease. This is done by adjusting the display resolution using the key buttons or even the touchscreen.
When using the keys, you will need to press and hold the Ctrl + Shift buttons first without releasing them. The second step is to press the Plus (+) button to zoom in the entire desktop.
Press the Plus(+) button again until you achieve your desired magnification, then you can release the Ctrl + Shift keys.
Note that to reduce the zoom level, press Ctrl + Shift then Minus (-). On the other hand, if you would like to reset the zoom level, just press Ctrl + Shift then (O).
For the touchscreen, you can zoom in using your thumb and index finger by placing both on the screen as you spread them apart. You can also use the two fingers together to zoom out.
How to zoom in using the screen magnification tool.
Chromebooks feature a screen magnification tool that allows users to adjust the default size of specific portions of the screen. Zooming in using this tool is an easy process.
The first step is to press the keys Alt + Shift + S, and click on the hamburger menu. Then, select Advanced, then Accessibility, Manage accessibility features, and Enable dock magnifier. Proceed to the docked zoom level to adjust to your desired zoom level.
To turn off the magnification tool, go back and click the Enable dock magnifier.
3. How to Delete Apps on Chromebook
Chromebook allows users to download android apps from multiple sources including Linux, Google Play Store, and Chrome apps. Remember, you can also stream movies and shows from Netflix and store to watch later.
However, with the limited hard drive, you will find that your Chromebook space fills up quickly. This requires you to uninstall apps that you no longer need or that have become obsolete.
How to delete apps in the Google Play Store on a Chromebook
First, locate the Google Play Store icon in your Chromebook. Go to the menu icon situated adjacent to the search bar and click on it.
On the menu icon, choose My Apps and Games. Scroll through as you select the applications you want to delete. Click on uninstall and finally select OK. This simple process deletes apps that you no longer need.
How to delete apps on Chromebook via the Launcher
Locate the launcher icon at the bottom-left corner of your screen. Once there, a search bar will appear, and it will display five application icons. Right below it, click on the up arrow to have a full display of the launcher screen.
The next step is to find the app(s) you want to delete. Right-click the app with two fingers until the label comes up. Select Remove from Chrome from the list of choices that pop up.
The last step is to delete the app in question by clicking the ‘Remove (app name)’.
4. How to Caps Lock on Chromebook
Unlike the standard computers where you have the Caps Lock, Delete, and Function Row keys, etc., Chromebooks often lack such keys and instead includes other buttons that are not common in PC or Mac.
So how do you go about turning the caps lock on and off? Here a breakdown of how to go about it.
Method 1: Using ‘Search’ Key button
Simply press the Alt + Search keys on the keyboard. You will see a pop-up notification alert at the bottom right corner bar, showing a notification that the CAPS LOCK has been turned on.
To turn off the CAPS LOCK, press the Alt + Search again. Alternatively, you can press the Shift key button.
Method 2: Using a Shortcut Key
You can also set a specified key on the keyboard to function as a Caps Lock. Here is the step by step process:
Head over to the bottom right corner where your Google profile picture is.
At the notification bar, click on Settings then locate Device.
Proceed to click on the keyboard settings and then the Caps lock.
Next, click the drop-down menu and select the key of choice to set as the default Caps Lock Key on your Chromebook’s keyboard.
Once you find your default key, click OK and your shortcut key is set instantly.
Tips: when choosing a default key, select one that you do not use often.
5. How to Rotate Screen on Chromebook
There are two methods that you can use to rotate your screen to a degree of your choice. These methods include the following:
Using shortcut keys:
Perhaps this is the simplest of them all.
Just press Ctrl+ Shift+ Refresh key buttons on the keyboard to rotate the keyboard to 90 degrees.
If you wish to rotate further, press again the Ctrl + Shift + Refresh buttons for another 90-degree turn until you achieve your desired screen orientation.
Using Chromebook settings:
Head over to the Chromebook settings icon.
Click on display, then orientation.
The next step is to choose your preferred orientation from a list of Standard, 90, 180 and 270.
6. How to Delete Bookmarks on Chromebook
A bookmark is a great tool that allows you to tag pages that you would want to revisit at a later time and go back to where you left off. It also allows you to track significant sources for research purposes.
Creating bookmarks is an easy task, and within no time, you will find that the bookmark bar or manager is full of bookmarked pages. When bookmarking, remember that the bookmarks do take up space on your Chromebook.
It’s time to free up some space on your hard drive by deleting the bookmarks. So how do you go about this?
Using a bookmark manager:
Open your chrome browser and then click on More at the top right end.
Proceed to select the bookmark and then bookmark manager.
The next step is to delete each unwanted bookmark single-handedly or multiple bookmarks at the same time in a folder.
You achieve this by right-clicking a specific bookmark or folder and then clicking delete.
7. How to invert colors on Chromebook
The invest colors feature has the following benefits:
Reducing glare and hence relieving migraine-related symptoms.
Less strain on your eyes hence preventing associated medical conditions, especially on the eyes.
Inverted colors provide a clear contrast of screen background, images, and text. As such, visually impaired persons will find it easier to use a Chromebook with an inverted color screen compared to non-inverted one.
So, how do you invert colors on your Chromebook?
Using the high contrast mode:
Locate and click on your Google account picture. A new window will open, and it contains all the settings you will need.
Find the settings tab, click on it and proceed to the advanced settings.
Scroll down until you find Accessibility settings.
Just below the display section, you will find the “UseHigh Contrast Mode” option.
Turn on the switch beside it.
You will notice the change in the screen color immediately.
If it works, close the window by pressing Ctrl+W or click the Xclose button.
Alternatively, if the above process does not work, proceed to try this other method:
Simply press Ctrl + Search + H at the same time to achieve an inverted color scheme.
This works especially for Chromebooks with a Search key button.
8. Why is My Chromebook so Slow
A new Chromebook is fast, and you will likely enjoy seamlessly fast speed when navigating through the various functions.
However, with continued use of the machine, it will start to slow down. That should not scare you! This is a normal occurrence, and it can result from the following factors or functions:
Since Chromebook has limited space, downloading and storing lots of document files in its local space slows down its processing system.
With the continuous changes in technology, the web must also adapt to these changes. The powerful web is continuously growing and as such exerting pressure on the Chromebook’s system to work hard to render web pages.
Therefore, for older Chromebooks, this can become problematic hence the system slow.
While chrome extensions make your browsing, downloading, and general functions easier, having too many extensions slows down your Chromebook.
Therefore, it is advisable to stick to a few must-have extensions such as Ad Block, Great Suspender, Save to Pocket, OneTab, etc.
Just like extensions, too many chrome applications slow your machine. These applications take up a lot of space on the hard disk, and this will affect the speed of the computer. Therefore, stick to basic applications.
But hey, don’t give up yet!
There are numerous solutions to counter the slow processing speeds of your Chromebook.
9. How to speed up Chromebook
To speed up Chromebook, free up the RAM by monitoring both the cog monitor system as well as the task manager. The cog system gives you an overview of what’s happening on your system.
On the other hand, check its task manager for any application that may be eating too much of your system’s resources. To do this, locate your chrome menu button, then click on more tools then task manager.
You will find that analyzing your task manager is a simple process. Check the memory usage, CPU usage, and others. Then, identify the extensions or applications that eat up the device’s hard drive memory.
In the same way, some chrome apps and extensions may consume a large amount of the device’s CPU.
To shut off such apps, you only need to click on the application and end the process.
Delete unused document files
It is a fact that Chromebooks have limited storage space in their hard drive. Therefore, keeping lots of document files in the hard drive fills up space quickly. Consequently, this slows down your Chromebook’s processing system.
To delete such files, just hover to download menu and you will find all your stored files. Select the files you do not need and delete to free up space.
An alternative option is to back up your files in an external SD card, USB drive or Google drive. In addition, you can set your external memory as the default storage to avoid the internal memory filling up so fast.
Delete unused extensions and apps
Going through your Chromebook laptop, you will be surprised at the many unused apps and old extensions that eat up your system resources in the background.
To get rid of such apps, head over and click on your menu button, find more tools and then extensions.
Scroll through the list of installed applications and extensions. Choose the ones that you don’t need, click on each of them and remove.
Power-washing your Chromebook is advisable in case the above solutions haven’t worked.
Powerwash cleans up your Chromebook entirely but keeps the extensions and apps synced. Therefore, it is advisable to delete old extensions and apps before embarking on the powerwash process.
Powerwash works as follows: Locate your Chrome OS settings menu, click on the advanced button right at the bottom, and scroll down to the reset settings. Once there, click on the Powerwash to restart your Chromebook.
Go for a New Chromebook
If you find that your Chromebook is still bogging down even after trying all these solutions, then it’s time to purchase a new Chromebook. Check our Best Chromebooks for Kids buying guide to see our curated list of the best-selling and high-performance Chromebooks.
10. How to Turn off Touchscreen on Chromebook
Turning off touchscreen is quite normal especially if you have a broken screen or when if you are more comfortable using the keyboard alone. Before turning off the touchscreen, ensure that you have the latest Chrome OS version. If your Chromebook runs on a lower version, you should update it to the latest version to get the latest improvement, bug fixes, and security updates.
To find out your Chrome OS version, launch your browser, click the menu tab, and proceed to the Help Button. Here, click the About Google Chrome option, and this will expand to show the information about your chrome version. Once that is done, it is time to learn how to turn off the touchscreen on Chromebook.
The first step is to launch your chrome browser, then open a new tab.
Type the following chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts debug shortcut in the new tab and click Enter. You will come across a number of debugging options.
Scroll down along the options until you find the debugging keyboard shortcuts (Enables you to control your Chromebook using some keyboard shortcuts). The next step is to click on the Enable Button to turn it on.
Go ahead and restart your Chromebook in order to enable this feature.
Once it restarts, you are set for some touchscreen-toggling.
- To turn off the touchscreen just press Search + Shift + T once.
- To turn on the touchscreen, you will need to press Search + Shift + T again.
If you would like to toggle the touchscreen back on:
Just disable the debugging feature by following the first five steps as illustrated above.
Remember to restart your Chromebook to finish the disabling feature.