5 top tips for using Chromebooks

Here's how to get the most out of your Chromebook

Want to get more out of using a Chromebook? I've got help. Check out these top five tips for getting more out of yours.

Take and edit screen shots

Ever need to take a screenshot on your Chromebook? It's a breeze to do. Press Ctrl and the windows switch button across the top of your keyboard. You may not see any notification that you've captured a screen, but rest assured, it's there. Press Ctrl-M and you'll open the file manager. Now look in the File Shelf. You'll see the screen capture there, as a .png file. Click it to open it and edit it.

Use shortcut keys

Navigating a Chromebook with a touchpad can be time-consuming and tedious, especially because some of the touchpads aren't particularly responsive, at least some that I've used. There's a simple solution: Use keyboard shortcuts instead. There are plenty of them, such as Ctrl-O to open a file, Ctrl-R to reload a page, and Ctrl-U to view page, among others. For a full list, head to this Google support page. And if you want to make and manage your own shortcuts, use the free Shortcut Manager.

Peer deep into network use and events

Want to know everything about how your Chromebook is using the network to which it's attached? In Chrome's address bar (also called its omnibox), type chrome://net-internals/. You'll come to a page that lists all the network techie details you could ever want, including DNS use, proxy use, bytes sent and received, and much more

Use experimental power features

Google is constantly testing out new features for Chrome -- and if you'd like, you can use them as well. In the omnibox type chrome://flags and you'll come across several dozen new features you can try yourself, many of which are targeted at improving Chrome performance. Simply click Enable to turn any on, then click Disable to turn any you've enabled off.

Print via the cloud or a local printer

One drawback to Chromebooks is the difficulty printing with them. In fact, though, it's not as tough to do as you might think. There are multiple ways to get it done. One is to print to a printer that supports Google's Cloud Print service. Which ones support it, and how do you set them up? Head to Google's Cloud Ready Printers page for details. That won't help you if your printer isn't cloud-ready, and let's face it, most aren't. But that still won't leave you in the cold. If you've got a printer connected to a computer, you can make that printer cloud-ready, and then print to it using your Chromebook.

First install the Chrome browser on the computer connected to the printer. Then click the Chrome menu on the Chrome browser's toolbar and select Settings-->Show advanced settings. Now scroll down to the Google Cloud Print section and click Sign in to Google Cloud Print. Sign in with your Google account and turn on the Google Cloud Print connector. Select the printer you want to connect and click Add printer. Follow the instructions for adding it. Now head to your Chromebook, and you'll be able to print to that printer using Google Cloud Print. Note that you'll have to use the same account on the Chrome browser on your computer and on your Chromebook in order to make this work. For more help and troubleshooting, head here.

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