Shortcuts and suggested URLs are among the most useful features found in Google’s Chrome browser. In the latter case, they provide users a quick way to get back to their most visited or recent sites without needing to type out the entire web address. They also allow users to get back to cloud-stored documents and Google Drive folders simply by typing in a few words.
Shortcuts, meanwhile, offer up an easy way to navigate to sites directly from the New Page UI without ever having to type at all. But neither shortcuts or suggested URLs are necessarily perfect.
Sometimes, site shortcuts are saved that a user doesn’t want to appear every time they open a new tab or window. In that same vein, sometimes sites are saved to suggestions presented by Google in the URL Omnibox that users would rather not be there.
Fortunately, Google does offer a remedy for that. And the process for changing shortcuts and suggestions is fairly easy on both mobile and desktop platforms.
Remove suggested websites from Chrome’s URL Omnibox
Now, there are several ways that Chrome surfaces websites that a user may be interested in, including via the URL Omnibox. Specifically, those are the suggestions that appear when users begin typing words into that box — usually at the bottom of suggested search terms. But sometimes it’s desirable to get rid of those, for whatever reason.
Fortunately, that’s easy enough to accomplish, although the process is different for desktops than mobile devices. In fact, it should only take a few seconds to remove suggestions on any platform, although the steps aren’t necessarily intuitive.
Removing URL Omnibox suggestions on desktop
In desktop Chrome, getting rid of Omnibox automatic suggestions is extremely straightforward, as implied by the sparse image gallery above. That’s because getting rid of them is as simple as typing in keywords to surface the undesired suggestions and then pressing a specific key combination.
First, users need to type in whatever letters would normally surface the suggestion. As shown in the images, we typed “tem,” which surfaced two suggestions. Those were for a specific skateboard purchase we had been researching and a “temporary” Google Drawings document used for short term edits. In this case, the skateboard is the undesired result since that was really a one-time search.
Next, using the keyboards arrow keys or the mouse, the undesired suggestion needs to be highlighted.
To delete the suggestion permanently on desktop, users will use one of two commands. On Windows, Linux, or Mac, pressing and holding the “shift” key before pressing “delete” will remove the selection.
Chrome OS users will need to use a different command in light of the fact that Chromebook keyboards don’t have a “delete” key. Instead, on Chromebook, the “alt” and “backspace” keys replace the “delete” key. So the “shift” and “alt” keys must be pressed. Then, pressing “backspace” will delete the suggestion.
Removing URL Omnibox suggestions on mobile
Removing suggestions from Chrome on mobile platforms is as straightforward as desktop platforms but requires a different set of actions. For mobile devices, suggestions are able to be removed with a simple tap-and-hold gesture. Namely, users need to find the undesired suggestion by either typing in the first few letters of the search term or site.
In this case, I didn’t type in anything since the suggestion we wanted to remove was already found just by tapping the URL Omnibox on a new page in the browser. In this case, as shown above, that’s the “turner sports” suggestion.
Chrome for Android automatically assumes that a long-press on the undesired option is an attempt to remove the suggestion. So, when users press and hold on the option, it presents a simple pop-up box asking if that’s what needs to be done. Tapping “OK” will remove the suggestion while tapping “Cancel” will keep it in place.
Remove or change New Page Shortcut suggestions in Chrome
Another way that Chrome surfaces sites a user may be interested in is via shortcuts presented on the New Page UI. Namely, those are the circle icon-shaped icons found just below the search bar on a new page in the browser. There are a few ways those are typically shown. But, by default, those are shown based on which sites are visited most often.
It’s also possible to adjust settings, at least on desktop, so that those shortcuts are shown at all.
Conversely, on any platform, users are more than able to adapt those to better suit their needs. That’s as opposed to simply allowing Google to auto-populate shortcuts based on its own algorithms. The steps to accomplish that vary depending on whether a desktop variant of Chrome or a mobile variant is used. But the steps are straightforward and easy in either case.
Remove or change shortcut suggestions on desktop
Now, there are two ways that these shortcuts are typically shown on desktop platforms in Chrome. It’s fairly easy to swap between the available views or to remove those shortcuts outright. First, users need to seek out the pencil-shaped icon at the bottom-right-hand side of the display. Clicking on that brings forward a menu for customizing the New Page UI.
Navigating to “Shortcuts” via the left-hand sidebar reveals options for shortcuts. The default selection is, of course, “Most visited sites” curated directly by Google. That’s based on sites visited most often by users. There’s also an option to turn off shortcuts entirely.
The third and final option, on the left, is called “My shortcuts” and lets users set their own — which we’ll get to in just a moment.
Once a selection is made, if shortcuts are left in place at all, those can also be adjusted. The degree to which that’s possible largely depends on which format is chosen for the shortcuts, to begin with. To remove shortcuts, users simply need to hover over a selection until the three-dot menu icon appears to the top-right of the selection.
Clicking or tapping on that will call forward a separate menu, that allows the shortcut to be edited or removed entirely. The remove button is found at the bottom-left-hand side of the edit menu. The shortcut URL and description can be altered there as well.
To take more direct control over shortcuts, with “My shortcuts” selected, users simply need to tap or click the “Plus” button labeled “Add shortcut.”
From there, users are presented with a blank “Add shortcut” menu to fill out with a site name and URL. Once the “Done” button at the bottom-right of the UI is chosen, that shortcut is added and will appear on the page by default.
Remove or change shortcut suggestions on mobile
Shortcuts on mobile cannot be adjusted to suit users’ needs in quite the same way as on desktop platforms. That’s because there’s no UI present for customizing the New Tab page. That’s hardly surprising since there’s no real reason for there to be one in that format. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to adjust shortcuts altogether.
On iOS and Android, users can still alter their displayed shortcuts in Chrome to a certain extend. More succinctly, those shortcuts can be removed. Google Chrome for mobile will automatically repopulate the now-empty space with new suggested shortcuts. There’s just no easy way, for now, to remove those entirely.
With that said, removing shortcuts is as easy as tapping and holding on a given shortcut. In the images above, we chose the shortcut to “Walgreens” for removal. Long-pressing brings forward a menu with several options. The last option shown there is labeled “Remove.”
Tapping “Remove” will do just as the option says. It will remove that shortcut from the new page UI on mobile.