Chrome secrets: Dig into Google's new browser

A handful of tips and tweaks to get the most out of Chrome

1 2 3 4 5 Page 4
Page 4 of 5

Use Chrome as a universal calculator and converter

The Omnibox has a nifty feature that you'll want to use -- it can perform calculations and convert between units of measurement, such as from inches to centimeters. To use the calculator, type in the calculation you want done into the Omnibox, such as 87 times 53 (or 87*53). You'll see the answer (4,611 in our example) appear in the drop-down list.

Similarly, to convert between units of measurement, type in the units and amount you want to convert, such as "8 kilometers in miles." You can also use abbreviations, such as "5 kg in oz."

Chrome performs this magic by using the same Google Calculator built into Google's search box. So if you use another search engine instead of Google as your default, the Calculator won't work. For an excellent guide to using the Google Calculator, see the Shortcut: Calculator page on the GoogleGuide site.

Chrome: Omnibox calculator
Using Google's Omnibox as a calculator.

Launch Web sites in Chrome directly from Firefox

If you're a Firefox user who also wants to test out and use Chrome, here's a great way to get the browsers to co-exist: a Firefox extension that lets you launch any page in Chrome, from directly within Firefox. In fact, it will even let you tell Firefox to always open certain pages in Chrome -- for example, every time you type in the Gmail URL in Firefox, it can automatically open the site in Chrome instead.

First, go to the Open Websites in Google Chrome from Firefox add-on page. Then download the open-in-google-chrome.xpi file to your PC. After that, drag it into Firefox, and you'll launch the installation. Restart Firefox to complete the installation.

Once you do that, you need to configure the extension to work properly by telling it where to find the Chrome executable file. In Firefox, choose Tools -->Add-Ons and click the Options button in the Open in Google Chrome extension. The options page of the extension opens. Click the Browse button at the top of the page, and browse to the location for chrome.exe. In Windows XP, you'll find it in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\, where username is your username. In Windows Vista, you'll find it in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\.

Firefox Open in Chrome add-on

Configuring Firefox's Open in Chrome add-on.

If you want certain sites to always open in Chrome when you visit them, type in a site's URL in the box at the bottom of the screen and click Add. Then click OK.

From now on, if you're on a site in Firefox and want to view it in Chrome, right-click the page you're on and choose "View this page in Google Chrome." To open a link in Chrome, right-click the link and choose "Open Link in Google Chrome." And when you visit pages you've specified to be viewed in Chrome, they'll always open in that browser, without requiring you to take any action.

By the way, if you're a Firefox user who likes the look and feel of Chrome but don't want to switch to the beta, you can get a free extension called Chrome Package that makes Firefox look more like Chrome.

Use Chrome keyboard shortcuts

If you don't like to spend your time mousing around, Chrome has a full set of keyboard shortcuts, many of which are shared with other browsers. For a complete list, go to Google's Chrome keyboard shortcut page. Here are some of the most useful.

Chrome keyboard shortcuts

Key combination Action
Ctrl+N Open a new window
Ctrl+Shift+N Open a new window in Incognito mode
Alt+F4 Close the current window
Ctrl+T Open a new tab
Ctrl+Shift+T Reopen the last tab you closed (Chrome remembers the last ten tabs)
Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+8 Switch to a specific tab (the number corresponds to the tab's position on the tab strip)
Ctrl+9 Switch to the rightmost tab
Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+PgDown Switch to the next tab
Ctrl+Shift+Tab or Ctrl+PgUp Switch to the previous tab
F6, Ctrl+L, or Alt+D Jump to the Omnibox
Ctrl+B Toggle the bookmarks bar on and off
Ctrl+H View the History page
Ctrl+J View the Downloads page
Shift+Esc Run the Task Manager
F5 or Ctrl+R Reload the current page
Ctrl+D Bookmark the page
Ctrl++ Make text on the page larger
Ctrl+- Make text on the page smaller
Ctrl+0 Return the text to its normal size
1 2 3 4 5 Page 4
Page 4 of 5
It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon