How To Remove Suggested URLs, Search & Files From The Chrome Omnibox

Chrome Autocomplete URL suggestion AH 2020
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With the arrival of Chrome 83 and Chrome OS 83, it is now possible to remove suggested links, search, and files from the browser's URL Omnibox with a mouse. For clarity, that's the address bar found at the top of the page. And the obscure feature in question, spotted by TechDows outside of the usual update log, applies to the browser's recommendations. Chrome refers to those as autocomplete suggestions.

Those appear when users start to type in the URL box and typically are derived from past history. They appear only while logged into Chrome. For instance, a user might be logged in and accessed a Google Docs file called "Best Phones." Then, they might open a new window or tab and start typing "Best Phones." Chrome will highlight previous pages, files, and searches as quick links. The same happens with regard to photos, files, URLs or websites, locally-stored files, and past searches.

The feature is intended to make it easy for users to get where they've already been. That's without having to navigate the often-complex and overloaded History page. Or without having to access Chrome's deeper, account-related history sites. But that doesn't always work the way users might hope.

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Sometimes, users have visited a website or opened a file that they don't want to appear in suggestions. And it was previously impossible to remove that without a keyboard shortcut. We'll discuss that shortcut here as well. But that isn't the most intuitive solution.

Now, users can remove suggestions from the Omnibox directly without complicated shortcuts. All that's needed is a mouse click or two after the suggestion appears. So let's dig into how that's accomplished in any version of Chrome after version 83.

With the keyboard shortcuts

Each method for removing a suggestion with the keyboard works in effectively the same way. That is, users will need to start typing in their desired term and then tap the arrow keys to navigate to the suggestion they'd like to remove. The sole exception to that is going to be Chrome for Android. But we'll get to that momentarily. Otherwise, the keyboard shortcut is going to vary based on the platform users are on.

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Of course, users can also stop the predictive suggestions entirely but that will also eliminate Chrome-generated autocomplete suggestions. Users just need to open Chrome, navigate to Settings behind the three-dot menu, and use the on-page search tool to look up "autocomplete."

The requisite settings can be found under Sync and Google services, under the subheading "Other Google services."

On Android

Android, as noted above, is going to work a bit differently. And this same method should work for iOS devices as well. In Chrome for mobile, Google highlights suggestions derived from user activity with a circle-arrow-shaped clock icon. That's found to the left-hand side of the suggestion. To remove the suggestion, users simply need to press and hold on the link they'd like to remove.

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Then, Chrome will surface a pop-out card that asks whether or not the suggestion should be removed "from history."

Users have the option to press either "Cancel" or "OK," with each doing precisely what is described.

On Mac

Moving forward, on Mac computers, the keystrokes needed to delete an autocomplete suggestion from the list aren't quite as straightforward as Linux and Windows. Users need to press and hold both the 'Shift' and 'FN' keys and then press "Delete." That will remove the currently-highlighted autocomplete suggestion.

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On Windows & Linux

For Windows and Linux, users simply need to hold down the 'Shift' key before pressing 'Delete' after moving the highlighted selection to the suggestion that needs to be removed.

On Chromebooks

Chromebook users need an extra key, which seems to come back to the fact that there is no delete key on a Chromebook or Chrome OS tablet. That means, to delete a highlighted suggestion from autocomplete in the Omnibox, they'll need to first hold both 'Shift' and 'Alt'. Then, tapping on the 'backspace' key will remove that result from the list.

With the mouse

Now, the easiest way to remove a suggested autocomplete result from the Chrome Omnibox is going to be with the mouse. This is the newest method for accomplishing the task and should be fairly obvious to more tech-savvy users. But we'll cover it here anyway for those who aren't quite so tech-savvy or who didn't even know it was possible.

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This will work the same way on any desktop iteration of Chrome from Windows through Chromebooks. So users on multiple platforms won't need to learn how to remove a suggested search differently on each one.

Summarily, Google has now added a small 'x' to autocomplete results in the Omnibox drop-down. As might be expected, that applies only to the suggested search results and not for autocompletion results put forward by Google by default. But that small icon does offer up an easy way for users looking for how they can remove unwanted results from appearing as suggestions while they're typing in the search box.

A simple click or tap on that 'x' to the right of the suggested search result will remove it from Chrome. No confirmation required.

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What can this remove?

Now, it's worth pointing out that this method won't remove suggestions or recommendations that are put there by Google Search. Namely, those are suggestions that would appear if users were to go to Google.com and then start typing in terms. For instance, if users type in "Why is Chrome so," Google might suggest, "Why is Chrome so much faster than Safari?"

Those types of auto-completion are intended to be helpful and are pooled from a wider net of Google's search audience. But, it will work for previous searches. For instance, if a user has previously searched for "How do I make Chrome faster?" This method will let users stop Chrome from suggesting that term next time they make a similar query.

As noted above, this is also a great way to remove previously-visited links or pages as well as previously opened files such as PDFs, documents, spreadsheets, or images.

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