5 Chromebook Settings to Set

Your Chromebook is highly customizable to your needs.  Adjusting these 5 built-in settings will greatly improve your user experience and effectiveness on your Chromebook. Try them out, then teach them to your students!

  1. Personalization
  2. Accessibility
  3. Language
  4. Map Keyboard
  5. Download Location

First, Find Your Settings

Chrome OS Settings (for the device) can be found by clicking on the time (bottom right of screen) and clicking the gear icon:

This will bring up the Settings screen, from which you can either click categories on the left side, or do a keyword search at the top (my preferred method) for each of the 5 settings I'm about to share.

Got your Settings screen ready? Let's customize!

1. Personalization

Who doesn't love some new wallpaper and a profile pic for a fresh start? Click Personalization on the left, or type it into the Search bar.

2. Accessibility

Search for Accessibility and then click Manage accessibility features to try out the built-in supports, like a magnifying glass, text-to-speech, and enlarged cursor.  
I recommend toggling on that first "Always show accessibility..." switch - it will make accessibility features more accessible by putting them in your system menu:

3. Languages and Inputs

Search for "Languages" to add an additional language to your system text, keyboard, and voice-to-text settings.

Add languages by clicking where you see the circles below:
Toggling on Show input options in the shelf (by the red arrow) will make changing between keyboards easy by putting a button at the bottom of your screen:

4. Map Keyboard

This is especially useful if you're using another device you're more familiar with, such as an Apple iMac or MacBook, and you want the key combinations to match. Search for Keyboard and open it to reveal the ability to change which key controls which function.
For example, in this picture I changed my "Control" key to be my "Alt" key, and vice versa.  This mapping matches my iMac keyboard's layout, so now my fingers can move in familiar ways to do things like copy, paste, switch tabs, etc.

5. Set Location of Downloads

When you save a file, where should it go? What about Screenshots? Set this important feature up using your Chrome Settings, meaning first you need to open the Chrome browser, then click the three dots in the top-right corner, abd find Settings

Now, search for Downloads:

As you can see, mine was set up to save all files to my Google Drive account. While it's an awesome feature of Chromebooks that my Drive appears like a set of folders on the device, I don't want to automatically save every file there.

Especially important is that my screenshots will auto-save to this location, cluttering up my Drive. I'd rather save them to my Downloads folder on the Chromebook.

So I click Change and then select the Downloads folder, and save my choice using the blue Open button. (Note: You can create new folders in your Downloads folder to further organize files on your device!)

Don't forget to toggle on Ask where to save if you'd prefer to choose a location each time you download a file.

These are just a few of the many features your Chromebook lets you personalize. You've customized your new vehicle, now take it for a test drive!

8 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Chromebooks

Whether you're transitioning from a different device or just looking to become a keyboard ninja, these shortcuts are essential on a Chromebook. 

Here are 5 Shortcuts You Need... followed by 3 you wish your students didn't know!

  1. Top Row
  2. Screenshots
  3. Zoom
  4. Caps Lock
  5. Dock Window
  6. Rotate Screen
  7. Log Out
  8. Restart

1. Top Row

The top row of keys have unique functions on a Chromebook and should be your starting point for learning the device:

2. Screenshots

Snap a quick pic of the whole screen with Ctrl + Switch key:

Select just a portion of your screen by adding the Shift key.  You'll then need to click and drag the area you want to select:

You'll see this popup, where you can click the picture to go open the file, or "Copy to Clipboard" for immediate copy/paste action.

3. Zoom

Use these keys to change the zoom level on your screen:

Ctrl and + = Zoom in
Ctrl and -  = Zoom out
Ctrl and 0  = Reset Zoom to default (100%)

4. Caps Lock

You went looking for Caps Lock, and found only a search button in its place. Never fear, Alt + Search is here!

(Press the Shift key when you're ready to turn Caps Lock off!)

5. Dock Windows Side-By-Side

If you need to use multiple apps or browser windows, using the Ctrl + Bracket Keys will cut your current app's screen space in half, and attach it to the side of your screen, allowing you to open another app side-by-side:

And now, 3 shortcuts your students know (but you wish they didn't.... Because they do them to each others' keyboards.... Constantly. #MiddleSchoolLife)

6. Rotate Screen

Ctrl + Shift + Refresh rotates the screen 90 degrees.   

This has only occasional usefulness... but good to know for when a kid rotates someone else's screen. 

7. Log Out

Ctrl + Shift + QQ: Press the Q twice while holding the other two keys, and you immediately log out of the Chromebook. 

8. Restart

When in doubt, a Restart solves many common problems or glitches. This requires the refresh key on the keyboard AND the power button on the side of the device.

Now go forth, keyboard ninja, and conquer your Chromebook!