21 Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts You Need To Know

Keyboard shortcuts can be a huge time saver! Here are the top Chromebook keyboard shortcuts that will make using your Chromebook easier. Many of these will work for Chrome on Windows too.

Once you are familiar with them, you’ll start using them every day. I’ve updated this post as part of my series on why Chromebooks are Perfect for teachers, administrators, and other staff.

Copy & Paste on a Chromebook

Let’s cover three staples first, which work on almost all devices.

CtrlC will copy your highlighted area to your clipboard (memory.)

CtrlX will cut (remove) your highlighted area and store it on your clipboard (memory.)

Ctrl + V will paste whatever you have copied or cut.

How to Undo on a Chromebook

We all make mistakes. Maybe you want to undo deleting the contents of a cell in a Google Sheet. Perhaps you want to undo deleting an entire paragraph from a Google Doc.

Ctrl + Z will undo the last thing you did. In many cases, you can undo the last several things you did by pressing Ctrl + Z multiple times.

Want to undo your undo?

Ctrl + Shift + Z will put back the last thing you undid. Again, you can typically press it multiple times. Ctrl + Y does the same thing.

Where’s the Delete Key on a Chromebook

You have probably noticed the Chromebook delete key is missing. For years most keyboards have had a Backspace key and a Delete key.

  • Backspace keydeletes things to the left of the cursor.
  • Delete key – deletes text to the right of the cursor.

Chromebooks do not have a Delete key, but there is a Delete key shortcut for a Chromebook. You can make the Backspace key act like the Delete key by pressing Alt + Backspace.

How to Paste Text Only on a Chromebook

If you copy and paste a lot from the Internet then you are going to love this shortcut and it works on Chrome for Windows too! By default, when you copy text from the Internet and paste it into a Google Doc, Microsoft Word, or an email you get more than just the text. You paste the formatting too. Often, this is not what you want. It can take a lot of time to remove the text colors, line spaces, and other formatting.

When you want to copy and paste just the text, press Ctrl + Shift + V. I use this time-saving keyboard shortcut every day.

How To Lock a Chromebook Screen

Whether you are a teacher or student you should never walk away from your Chromebook without signing out or locking your Chromebook. This is especially true if you are using the tips I’ve shared in my post about how to keep your Chrome from going to sleep.

Locking the Chromebook screen does not close anything. It’s simply like putting a padlock on it so that no one can change your files or delete something while you are away. When you reenter your password, everything you had opened on the screen will still be there waiting for you.

You can quickly lock your Chromebook screen by pressing Search + L.

How To Quickly Split the Screen on a Chromebook

It is often helpful to have two windows side by side so you can see both of them at the same time. For example, you might do Internet research in one Window while you type in a Google Doc on the other. Let’s say you have two tabs open in Chrome and you want to see both side by side. The easiest way is to split the screen by snapping the windows.

First, click and hold on one of the tabs and drag it down so it moves to its own Chrome window.

Second, we will use the bracket keys (next to the P key) to move our windows.

Click on one window and then press Alt + [. This key combination will move the window to the left side of the screen.

Click on the second window and then press Alt + ]. This will move the window to the right side of the screen.

Now the two windows should be side by side.

Sign Out of Chromebook Keyboard Shortcut

Want to sign out of your Chromebook with just the keyboard? All you have to do is press Ctrl + Shift + Q (twice)

This works on a locked Chromebook too.

Quickly Switch Between Open Windows and Apps

Another oldie, but goody is Alt + Tab. This keyboard shortcut will allow you to switch between windows and/or apps. Keep holding down Alt while repeatedly pressing Tab until the window/app you want to access is selected. Then let go of the Alt key.

Take a Screenshot of the Entire Chromebook Screen

Screenshots are extremely useful when trying to make directions, create a Google Slide presentation, or even a blog post. Ctrl + Switcher takes a screenshot of your Chromebook screen and saves it to your default location. I show you how to do this in more detail in my How To Take A Screenshot on School Chromebook post.

Take a Screenshot of Part of the Chromebook Screen

Sometimes you don’t need a full screenshot, but rather just a part. Ctrl + Shift + Switcher will charge your mouse pointer to a crosshair. Move the cross-hair to one corner of the area you want to capture. Click the mouse or touchpad and move to the opposite corner you want to capture.

When you have the area selected, release the mouse or touchpad. The section will automatically be saved to your default save location. I show you how to do this in more detail in this post.

How to Zoom in and out on a Chromebook

Not all web pages are created equal. For example, some sites use larger fonts than others. Occasionally you may want to zoom in or out on a particular webpage. To do this you can repeatedly press Ctrl + +  to zoom in or Ctrl + to zoom out. This only affects the current Chrome tab you are looking at.

You can reset the zoom level by pressing Ctrl + 0

Change Resolution on Chromebook

Maybe its not just one website you need to make bigger, but rather everything on your Chromebook. You can change the resolution on your Chromebook by pressing Ctrl + Shift + to increase or Ctrl + Shift + – to decrease. This setting affects all Chromebook users and can be changed by all Chromebook users.

You can reset the screen scale to default by pressing Ctrl + Shift + 0 (zero).

How To Open Chrome Browser History on a Chromebook

Have you ever visited a web page one day and then wanted to visit it again the next but couldn’t remember the site? You could have bookmarked it using another keyboard shortcut, but you forgot. Thankfully, your Chrome Browser remembers.

You can view the browsing history in Chrome by pressing Ctrl + H. It will list the web addresses you have visiting recently by date and time. It will even show you sites you have visited on other devices you are signed in to Chrome such as mobile devices.

Chromebook Keyboard Overlay Hints

Even if you don’t remember all of these shortcuts or are looking for others, Chrome OS has a handy way of showing them on a Chromebook. You can press Ctrl + Alt + ? to open the Keyboard Shortcuts help window.

This new keyboard shortcuts help window is searchable making it a very useful learning tool.

Turn on Caps Lock on Chromebook

The Caps lock for Chromebooks is another missing key. Google placed a Search button where you typically see the Caps lock button. If you need to capitalize a letter just hold the Shift key when pressing the letter. However, if you do want to turn caps lock on you can do so by pressing Alt + Search.

A popup will show up in the bottom-right corner of the screen, letting you know that CAPS LOCK is on. You will also see this icon.

To turn caps lock off, press Alt + Search again.

Open File Explorer on a Chromebook

Chrome OS has a file manager similar to Windows Explorer. From it, you can access files in your Google Drive and files saved locally in your Downloads folder.

You can open it by pressing Alt + Shift + M

Save All Open Tabs Into a Bookmarks Folder

You can save all of the tabs you have open into a Bookmarks folder Ctrl + Shift + DAfter you press the shortcut you will be prompted to enter a folder name. This can be useful for teachers in a training and students doing research.

As I mentioned, the easiest way to learn these keyboard shortcuts is to use them. So try implementing them into your everyday routine. Hope you found some of these shortcuts helpful. Now that we have covered the keyboard let’s learn 5 must know tips and tricks for using the touchpad.

Dave Carty

K12 district technology administrator, Google domain admin, Certified Google Trainer.

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