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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Navigating the Chrome OS Desktop

Chrome OS features a desktop interface that looks and feels similar to the Windows or Mac OS desktop. You can open multiple windows to appear on the desktop, and size and arrange those windows as you like.

Browse the Shelf

Along the bottom edge of the desktop is the Shelf, which is kind of like the taskbar in Windows. This area contains icons for your most popular applications. By default, the Shelf hosts icons for the Launcher, Google Chrome, Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, and the Google Play Store; you can also pin other apps to the Shelf. Click an icon to launch that app in a new window.

Open the App Drawer

The first icon in the Shelf is the Launcher. You use the Launcher to open the App Drawer, which is kind of like Chrome’s version of the Windows Start menu.

  1. Click the Launcher icon (or, on a touchscreen display, use your finger to drag the Shelf up).

  2. You see the initial App Drawer panel. This panel includes a search panel, which you can use to search for apps and files on your Chromebook, as well as icons for your most recently opened apps. Click an app to reopen it.

  3. Click the up arrow at the top of the App Drawer (or, on a touchscreen display, drag up the top of the App Drawer) to make the App Drawer fill the entire screen.

  4. The full-screen version of the App Drawer provides access to all the apps installed on your Chromebook. Click any icon to launch that app.

  5. If you have a lot of apps installed, the full-screen App Drawer takes up multiple pages. Click one of the round icons on the right side of the screen to display another page full of apps. (Or, on a touchscreen Chromebook, use your finger to scroll from one page to the next.)

  6. To close either version of the App Drawer, click the Launcher icon again.

Organize the App Drawer

If you have multiple pages of apps, you might want to organize your App Drawer so that your most-used apps are grouped together. You can move app icons to new locations and group multiple icons into folders.

  1. To move an icon, use your touchpad or touchscreen to drag and drop it into a new location. As you move an icon to a new position, all icons after that one will be scooted to the right.

  2. To create a new folder, drag an icon and drop it on top of another.

  3. Both icons are now in the newly created folder. Click to open that folder.

  4. To add another icon to the folder, just drag it onto the folder icon or into the open folder.

  5. To name a folder, enter a name into the Unnamed field.

  6. To remove an icon from a folder, open the folder and drag the icon out.


View the System Tray

At the far right of the Shelf is an area called the System Tray. The System Tray includes information about your system and access to your personal settings.

The four main status icons in the status area are Notifications, Network Connection (Wi-Fi), Power (battery level or AC), and Timestamp (date and time)—although you may see other icons, depending on the given situation.

Configure Settings with the Quick Settings Panel

Many of the most commonly used Chrome system settings can be configured from the Quick Settings panel, which you access from the System Tray.

  1. Click anywhere on the System Tray to display the Quick Settings panel.

  2. Notifications are displayed at the top of the Quick Settings panel. Click or (on a touchscreen display) swipe a notification to move to the next one.

  3. Click Power to turn off your Chromebook.

  4. Click Lock to lock your Chromebook.

  5. Click Settings to display the Settings window, which lets you configure more system settings.

  6. Click Wi-Fi to view and switch to other Wi-Fi networks.

  7. Click Bluetooth to turn Bluetooth wireless connectivity on or off.

  8. Click Notifications to configure notification settings.

  9. Click Night Light to turn on or off Night Light mode.

  10. Drag the Volume slider to raise or lower your Chromebook’s volume level.

  11. Drag the Brightness slider to increase or decrease screen brightness.

  12. Click the down arrow to hide the Quick Settings panel.

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