How to use a Chromebook: Tips, tricks and shortcuts

Curious about Google's alternative to a Windows laptop or a MacBook? You've come to the right place.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read

Kicking the tires on a Chromebook purchase? As a cheaper alternative to a Windows laptop or a MacBook , a Chromebook is an attractive option for budget buyers. The simplicity of Google 's Chrome OS, which is little more than its Chrome browser with a bit of window dressing (Windows dressing, if you will), is also a key selling point.

Of course, the other way to look at a Chromebook's streamlined operation is to view its limitations. And, sure, it certainly can't do everything that a more capable, more complex operating system such as Windows or MacOS can. You might not be able to run your favorite apps. Local storage is next to nil. Printing isn't as straightforward as you might think.

Whether you've successfully navigated the five stages of Chromebook acceptance or are still dealing with feelings of denial or anger, our Chromebook coverage can help. Take a spin through our collection of Chromebook tips and tricks to help decide whether a Chromebook makes sense for your computing needs and, if so, how to get the most out of your new machine.

12 keyboard shortcuts every Chromebook owner needs to know

A dozen keyboard shortcuts to make Chrome OS even easier to use.

How to print from a Chromebook

Google Cloud Print for the win.

How to force quit apps on a Chromebook

What's the Chromebook equivalent of Ctrl-Alt-Delete?

3 ways to pin apps to a Chromebook's shelf

Help the app shelf help you.

How to keep your Chromebook from falling asleep

Stay woke.

This setting makes Chrome OS feel like more than just a browser

Open as window, says me.

How to use an external drive with a Chromebook

Not all of your files are stored in the cloud. Learn how to move files between your Chromebook and an external hard drive, thumb drive or SD card.

The best way to use Dropbox on a Chromebook

Accessing Dropbox from Chrome OS's file manager is preferable to accessing it through the Chrome browser.

Run Windows software on a Chromebook

Can't live without a particular Windows program? Here's the trick for running it on your Chromebook.

How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

Screenshots are a quick and easy way to save information or troubleshoot an issue.

Why a Chromebook isn't the same thing as a budget laptop

They may look the same, but a cheap laptop and a Chromebook are more different than you might expect.

If you're sold on the idea of a Chromebook, then a good launching point to start shopping for one is CNET's list of the best Chromebooks.

If you're still not sold, have a look at our list of the best laptops.