When using Chrome OS you may need to clear out your browser history from time to time, perhaps for reasons of privacy, perhaps because you inadvertently visited the wrong site and don’t want it cluttering up your History tab. Fortunately, Chrome OS offers a number of convenient ways to clear out your Chrome browser’s history. You can purge the entire history at once, or delete specific sections of your browsing history.
To delete your Chrome browser’s history, you first have to visit the History tab. To access the History tab, go to the Settings menu by clicking on the Settings button in the upper right-hand corner of the Chrome window. From the Settings menu, click on the History item. The Chrome browser will immediately open the History tab. The second way is to hit the CTRL+H keys simultaneously, which will also summon the History tab.
Once you are in the History tab, you can delete large chunks of your web history at once by clicking on the Clear Browsing Data button towards the top of the page. This will take you to a dialog box offering you options for clearing your browsing data. The drop-down menu allows you to select the time period you will delete – “the beginning of time” will wipe out the entire History tab, while you can choose smaller increments of time ranging from the past hour to the past four weeks. Below that drop-down menu are a number of checkboxes that let you specify which specific items will be deleted: browsing history, download history, cookies, cached images, passwords, autofilled forms, hosted app data, and content licenses. Once you have made your selections, click the Clear Browsing Data button at the bottom of the dialog box, and the Chrome browser will clear the specified data.
You can also wipe out individual pages from your History tab, if you inadvertently visit a website you don’t wish to have preserved in your browsing history. On the History tab, each visited website has a checkbox in front of it. Put a checkmark in the box and then hit the Remove Selected Items button, and the Chrome browser will remove that specific website from your history. Checking multiple items from the History tab will allow you to remove multiple websites at once.
Whether you are using the Chrome browser for work tasks or simple recreation, you can quickly accumulate a long history of visited web pages. From time to time you might need to go back and visit a page you had previously viewed, or you might have need to check a page again but have forgotten its address. This is where Chrome’s History function comes into play. The History function records every website you have visited, allowing you to review your browsing history and return to a page you might previously have viewed.
There are two different ways to view your browser’s History tab. The first way is to go to the Settings menu by clicking on the Settings button in the upper right-hand corner of the Chrome window. From the Settings menu, click on the History item. The Chrome browser will immediately open the History tab. The second way is to hit the CTRL+H keys simultaneously, which will also summon the History tab.
The History tab will display your browsing history by day, with individual web pages marked with a time stamp on the day that you visited them. Each one of the individual web pages is an active hyperlink, and you can visit any page listed in your History by clicking on that link.
Nowadays Google makes both laptop computers with Chrome OS and mobile phones with its Android operating system and a host of other products, but Google got its start as a search engine. Search is therefore built into every part of Chrome OS, from the omnibox of the Chrome web browser to the search field within the application launcher. However, while the Chrome omnibox will let you find specific web pages, from time to time you might need to search within a web page itself for a text string. You can search within a web page by using the Chrome browser’s page search feature.
You can access the search by going to the Settings menu by clicking on the Settings button in the upper right-hand corner of the Chrome window. From the Settings menu, click on the Find button. The Find box will then appear in the upper right-hand corner of the web page in question. You can also access the Find box by hitting the CTRL+F keys simultaneously.
Once the Find box appears, type the word or phrase for which you wish to search into the box. The Chrome browser will immediately move to and highlight the first instance of the search term on the current page, and will also show how many times that term appears on the page. Clicking on the down arrow button next to the Find box will move the highlight down to the next instance of the term on the page, and clicking the up arrow button will move the highlight back up. You can also cycle through the instances of the search term by hitting the ENTER key repeatedly.
When browsing the Internet with the Chrome browser, from time to time you might need to refresh a page. “Refreshing” a page means that the Chrome browser communicates with the page’s server on the Internet and downloads a fresh copy. If you have, for instance, a news page you wish to check regularly, this is a quick way to update the page with information.
The Chrome browser offers two quick ways to refresh a page, one with the mouse or touchpad, and one using the keyboard.
To refresh the page using the mouse or touchpad, look for the back & forward buttons, which will be directly to the left of the omnibox at the top of the browser window. Between the back/forward buttons you will see a button that looks like a curved arrow. Click on this button, and the page will be refreshed.
You can also quickly refresh the page using the keyboard. The Refresh button is located in the top row of keys on your Chromebook’s keyboard, specifically the fourth key in the top row. Press this key, and the current page will refresh. (When using the Chrome browser on a PC, a Mac, or a Linux machine, pressing the F5 key will accomplish the same thing.)
The Status button on the Shelf allows you to adjust the volume of your Chromebook’s speakers or plugged-in headphones. However, clicking on the Shelf and adjusting the volume level can be cumbersome if you are in a hurry (or need to disable the sound to prevent unseemly embarrassment in public). Fortunately, every Chromebook includes a specific set of hardware keys on the keyboard that allow you to control the volume level.
The volume control keys are located in the upper right-hand corner of the keyboard, directly to the right of the power button. The key to immediate left of the power button raises the volume level. You can tap it several times to raise the level incrementally, or hold it down to raise the volume quickly. The second key to the left from the power button lowers the volume level, and like the volume up button, you can tap it or hold it down. The third key from the left of the power button is the mute button, and pressing the mute button immediately silences any sound coming from your Chromebook.
The Shelf contains your pinned application icons, the application launcher button, and the Status button. The Status button displays the current local time, the wireless signal strength, the battery level, and the account picture of the user currently logged into the Chromebook. It might seem counterintuitive, but the volume control is also located there. Using the status button, you can quickly mute your Chromebook, or adjust the volume to a more desirable level.
To adjust the volume, first left-click on the Status button, which will bring up the larger Status menu. The volume slider will be located towards the bottom of the menu, directly above that icon that takes you to the Settings page. Dragging the slider back and forth will allow you to adjust the volume level of the Chromebook. If you drag the slider all the way to the left, you will mute any sounds on your Chromebook. Drag the slider all the way to the right, and you will raise the volume to maximum. Note that if you are wearing headphones plugged into the Chromebook, listening to the volume at maximum might damage your hearing, so it is best to raise the volume in small increments.
When seeking to launch a specific application on your Chromebook, you might find yourself scrolling past page after page of applications and websites in your Chromebook’s application launcher. This can quickly become cumbersome. Fortunately, Google got its start as a search company, and search is built into Chrome OS at every level. Using the application launcher’s integrated search, you can search your Chromebook’s installed applications and the Internet.
To use the application launcher’s search function, left-click on the application launcher’s button on the left-hand side of the Shelf. This will bring up a 4×4 grid of application icons. The search box is at the top of the grid, conveniently labeled “Search”. Type in the name of the application you want to find, and Chrome OS will display a list of results, starting with any local applications and adding in various results from the Internet. You can launch any applications found in the search results by clicking on their names, and clicking on any of the Internet search results will launch the Chrome browser with a list of Google search results.
The search function also has a handy voice-recognition function. Click on the microphone icon on the right-hand side of the search box, and you will receive a message that says “Speak now”. Speak your search term clearly and distinctly, and your Chromebook will attempt to retrieve results to match the term.
Note that voice-recognition only works while your Chrome OS device is connected to the Internet.
Some applications and web pages are pinned to your Chromebook’s Shelf by default, but you may need to access other applications installed upon your Chrome OS device. Fortunately, Chrome OS makes this easy. On the left side of the Shelf, you will see a small button with an icon of white squares arranged in the grid. This button summons the application launcher, which you can use to locate and launch applications.
To use the application launcher, left-click on the button. This will bring up a 4×4 grid of application icons. You can launch any of the displayed applications or web pages by left-clicking on them. You can also use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the selection from icon to icon. Hitting the ENTER key will then launch the selected application.
Most Chromebooks come with more than sixteen applications, though. At the bottom of the application launcher, you will see a set of bars. Click on the bars, and the application launcher will move to the next screen of sixteen applications. You can also move between the screen by pressing the left or right arrow keys until the application launcher moves to the next screen.
When using Chrome OS, you can pin a large number of icons to the Shelf, and any opened applications appear as icons on the Shelf as well. The icons appear in the order they were launched, with the pinned icons maintaining a static position on the Shelf. After you have pinned some icons to the Shelf, you might want to change their order. Fortunately, this is easy to do.
To change the order of the icons on the Shelf, left-click on an icon you wish to move and hold down the mouse button. You can then drag the icon to a new position on the Shelf, either closer to the application launcher on the left or closer to the Status button on the right. The other pinned icons will automatically rearrange themselves as you move the icon to its new position. Once you have moved the icon to its desired location, release the left mouse button, and the icon will move to its new location on the Shelf.
By default when you open up a local application or a web app in Chrome OS, the application’s icon appears on the Shelf. This allows you to switch back to the application if you move to a different one. Once you close the application, the icon disappears from the Shelf. However, if you pin the icon to the Shelf, the icon will remain on the Shelf even after the application closes. That way, you can launch the application again simply by clicking on it Shelf icon.
To pin an application’s icon to the Shelf, first launch the Application by going to the launcher (the button with the grid icon in the lower left-hand side of the Shelf) and finding the application you wish to pin. Right-click or ALT-click on the icon, and then select Pin To Shelf from the menu. The application will then be pinned to the Shelf, and you can launch it simply by clicking on its Shelf icon.
If you have changed your mind and wish to remove an icon from the Shelf, this is easy to do. Right-click or ALT-click on the icon you want to remove from the Shelf, and then select Unpin from the menu that appears. The icon will be immediately removed from the Shelf, though you can always pin it against from the launcher button.