Google's Interactive Keyboard Chromebook Guide

Google’s Forty Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts

February 23, 2015 - Written By David Steele

The Google Chromebook was introduced almost four years ago and since then has gained traction amongst consumers and education users, who are drawn to the platform’s simplicity, low cost and ease of use. Chromebooks typically combine lower end laptop hardware with Google’s cloud services, meaning that they dispense with much of the effort associated with maintaining computers and instead, let people concentrate on “doing stuff.”

One of the differentiators between Chrome OS and Android is that Chrome OS is built around having a hardware keyboard connected to the computer whereas Android is reliant on a touchscreen. Because of this, the engineers behind Chrome OS have included a large number of keyboard shortcuts designed to save users time. Without further ado, let me dip into the list – and it’s quite long!

The first section concerns controlling tabs and windows. These commands are for working with the Chrome browser, to manipulate windows and tabs and they’ll help you manoeuvre around your Chromebook quickly and efficiently:

Ctrl+N; Open a new window
Ctrl+Shift+N; Open a new window in incognito mode
Ctrl+T; Open a new tab
Ctrl+O; Open a file in the browser
Ctrl+Shift+Q (twice); Sign out of your Google Account on Chrome OS
Ctrl+W; Close the current tab
Ctrl+Shift+W; Close the current window
Ctrl+Shift+T; Reopen the last tab you’ve closed (Chrome remembers your last ten closed tabs).
Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+8; Go to the tab at the specified position in the window
Ctrl+9; Go to the last tab in the window
Alt+1 through Alt+8; Activate launcher items 1-8
Search+1 through Search+=; Use F1 to F12
Alt+9; Go to the last window open
Ctrl+Tab; Go to the next tab in the window
Ctrl+Shift+Tab; Go to the previous tab in the window
Alt+Tab; Go to the next window you have open
Alt+Shift+Tab; Go to the previous window you have open
Click and hold the Back or Forward arrow in the browser toolbar; See your browsing history for the tab
Backspace, or press Alt and the left arrow; Go to previous page in your browsing history.
Shift+Backspace, or press Alt and the right arrow; Go to the next page in your browsing history.
Press Ctrl and click a link; Open the link in a new tab in the background
Press Ctrl+Shift and click a link; Open the link in a new tab and switch to the newly opened tab
Press Shift and click a link; Open the link in a new window
Drag a link to a tab; Open the link in the tab
Drag a link to a blank area on the tab strip; Open the link in a new tab
Type a URL in the address bar, then press Alt+Enter; Open the URL in a new tab
Press Esc while dragging a tab; Return the tab to its original position
Ctrl+Shift+L; Locks your screen

The next tranche of commands are designed for when you are working within a page.

Press Alt or Search and up arrow; Page up
Press Alt or Search and down arrow; Page down
Space bar; Scroll down the web page
Press Ctrl+Alt and up arrow; Home
Press Ctrl+Alt and down arrow; End
Ctrl+P; Print your current page
Ctrl+S; Save your current page
Ctrl+R; Reload your current page
Ctrl+Shift+R; Reload your current page without using cached content
Ctrl and +; Zoom in on the page
Ctrl and -; Zoom out on the page
Ctrl+0; Reset zoom level
Esc; Stop the loading of your current page
Press Alt and click a link; Open the link in a new tab in the background
Ctrl+D; Save your current webpage as a bookmark
Ctrl+Shift+D; Save all open pages in your current window as bookmarks in a new folder
Drag a link to bookmarks bar; Save the link as a bookmark
Ctrl+F; Open the find bar to search your current page
Ctrl+G or Enter; Go to the next match for your input in the find bar
Ctrl+Shift+G or Shift+Enter; Go to the previous match for your input in the find bar
Ctrl+K or Ctrl+E; Perform a search. Type a search term after the question mark in the address bar and press Enter.
Ctrl+Enter; Add www. and .com to your input in the address bar and open the resulting URL
Ctrl+ Switch Window; Take a screenshot of your current page
Ctrl+ Shift+ Switch Window; Take a partial screenshot
Ctrl+U; View page source
Ctrl+Shift+I; Toggle the display of the Developer Tools panel
Ctrl+Shift+J; Toggle the display of the DOM Inspector

The final section of commands are for when editing a document (or similar). These are similar to the keyboard shortcuts you may also use on a Microsoft Windows computer:

Ctrl+A; Select everything on the page
Ctrl+L or Alt+D; Select the content in the address bar
Press Ctrl+Shift and right arrow; Select next word or letter
Press Shift+Search and right arrow; Select text to the end of the line
Press Shift+Search and left arrow; Select text to the beginning of the line
Press Ctrl+Shift and left arrow; Select previous word or letter
Press Ctrl and right arrow; Move to the end of the next word
Press Ctrl and left arrow; Move to the start of the previous word
Press Alt or Search and up arrow; Page up
Press Alt or Search and down arrow; Page down
Press Ctrl+Alt and up arrow; Home
Press Ctrl+Alt and down arrow; End
Press Ctrl+Search and right arrow; Go to end of document
Press Ctrl+Search and left arrow; Go to beginning of document
Ctrl+C; Copy selected content to the clipboard
Ctrl+V; Paste content from the clipboard
Ctrl+Shift+V; Paste content from the clipboard as plain text
Ctrl+X; Cut
Ctrl+Backspace; Delete the previous word
Alt+Backspace; Delete the next letter (forward delete)
Ctrl+Z; Undo your last action

My final keyboard shortcut is the handy Ctrl+Alt+/, which pulls up the interactive keyboard guide you’ll see at the top of the article. If you have a Chromebook – or a Chromebox – what keyboard shortcuts do you use? What’s the favourite shortcut from the list of commands above? Let us know what you think in the comments below.