Category

How-To

kids on chromebook

Making Chromebooks in the Classroom Child-Friendly

By | Chromebook, How-To, In the Classroom

If you’re using Chromebooks in the classroom, you’ll want to ensure that your students are given a safe learning experience. Fortunately, it’s relatively straightforward to make a Chromebook child-friendly and in this article, we’ll show you how it’s done!

Out with Supervised Users, in with Family Link

If you’ve used a Chromebook in the past, you may be familiar with Supervised Users. This was the feature used previously to help adults control the content that could be accessed by younger users. Google phased out this feature in January 2018, and have replaced it with parental controls through the Family Link feature.

Family Link allows parents and guardians to set up a Google account for a child to use on Chromebooks and Android devices and these accounts have in-built restrictions that help to keep young users safe online.

Setting Up Parental Controls Through Family Link

The first step in this process is to set up a Family Link account for each student who will be using a Chromebook. This can be done on a Chromebook, or another laptop, smartphone, or tablet, this is easy to do if you have a regular class, or you can instruct your IT support to help you with a list of users. For mobile devices, there are dedicated apps that will walk you through the process.

Next, open the Chromebook and select ‘Add Person’ from the lock screen. If each student will have their own individual Chromebook, you’ll need to do this just once per machine. If there are communal Chromebooks, you can choose to set up Family Link accounts with generic usernames, rather than one for each individual child. For example, rather than using ‘John Smith,’ you might decide on Student One, Student Two, and so on. This allows you to use the same accounts for more than one year and saves time setting it up for the next batch of students.

For each account, you will need to enter the username and password to sign in to the Chromebook. You’ll then be prompted to sign in to the parental account that has authority over all of the Family Link users which will be the teacher account.

A screen will then pop up, providing you with details of which restrictions are provided by Google. These are currently limited to website blocking, safe search, no incognito mode in Chrome, and no Play Store access. You can also manually check each user’s browsing history. Restrictions do not extend to apps and screen time control, but in a classroom environment children will be supervised so this is not a limitation.

The options offered natively by Google may not be sufficient for the needs of your students, particularly those who are older or more curious. In that case, you can extend control by using a third-party app.

Advanced Controls for Curious Kids

If you are working with older children who have the skills to circumvent basic controls or would prefer to take an extra level of precaution, third-party apps can help you to lock down a Chromebook to make its purpose purely educational.

There are several options available, according to the controls you wish to implement. Omnito is an app that has been created specifically for the classroom. From one screen, teachers are able to view and monitor all open tabs on their students’ Chromebooks. You’ll also have the option to close any tabs that are not conducive to learning, restrict website access, and remotely lock devices. In addition, Omnito offers full integration with Google Classroom. For teachers already using the platform, or looking to introduce it to their classroom, this permits automatic syncing. In theory, this should make starting a lesson more efficient. Go Guardian and Blocksi offer similar features; try a free trial of each app to establish which one works best for you and your students.

Alternatively, you can try apps that are designed primarily for parental control but have features that are transferable to the classroom. Mobicip is an app that provides wide-ranging supervision of each Chromebook. As well as restricting website access, it allows you to enforce time limits on usage, check what has been downloaded, and monitor all devices from one account. If you’re managing multiple Chromebooks in the classroom, this can help to make the practical side of supervision significantly easier.

Now that you have the tools to help protect your students when using Chromebooks, you’re ready to put their educational potential to good use!

man on couch connecting to VPN on laptop

Using a VPN on a Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To

Chromebooks and VPNs: Adding an Extra Layer of Security 

Imagine working remotely and needing access to the private servers of your company. You would never access company data with someone looking over your shoulder, so why enable someone to do the same when you are connecting to a public network?

A VPN (virtual private network) is a network created to ensure a safe and encrypted internet connection. It is often used in settings where your regular connection is just not safe enough, like when you connect to a public Wi-Fi. Public networks are highly insecure, and there’s a myriad of ways you can lose your private information when you connect to one (Wi-Fi spoofing, as one example).

Having a VPN helps immensely and it’s the best way to secure data when you are connecting remotely anywhere. VPNs are growing in popularity, and, since Chromebooks are designed to be lightweight and mobile, the two go nicely hand in hand. It’s important to know how to set up a VPN on your Chromebook for that ultimate security, especially in the digital era.

Benefits of a VPN

First, the benefits to using a VPN on Chromebooks are quite apparent, even apart from hiding your online activity.

Increased Privacy

When you browse, you leave bits of data everywhere on the web. With a VPN, this data can’t be linked to you; it will just be linked to the VPN provider. This means websites and programs can’t gather personal data on you because you aren’t specifically “viewable” to them. This enhanced security is because VPN offers heavy encryption, which makes it impossible to gain access to your data when connecting to hot spots and Wi-Fi networks.

No Content Restrictions

You have probably stumbled upon the odd YouTube clip that is not available in your country. With a VPN, you can easily bypass such restrictions. VPN servers are located all over the world, and you can easily find one in the right country with access to information not available to you otherwise.

No Bandwidth Throttling

Some ISPs tend to throttle your speed when you are connecting to certain websites. For instance, your ISP might have issues dealing with Netflix because they have their own service they want you to have, or because streaming 4K movies and TV shows takes a lot of bandwidth that they wish to keep clear. By making watching Netflix impossible, they could force you to switch. Although there’s much to be said about such practices, and many disagree with them, there’s very little you can do about it. But by setting up a VPN, you can get around this issue and enjoy a smoother streaming and browsing experience.

How to Set Up a VPN on Your Chromebook

Even though many VPN providers offer “download and install” types of service, when using a Chromebook, in most cases you’ll have to do the grunt work yourself. Some VPN providers are creating apps for the Chromebook in the Chrome Web Store, so if you can find the right app, you’re all set. If you can’t, you will have to set up a VPN manually. Luckily, it’s not that complicated:

1. Import the Certificate

You will get the CA Certificate (a key) from your VPN company and you will be sent a file. After you do:

Open a tab > go to chrome://settings/certificates > click the Authorities tab > press import > select the certificate file.

A box will open, asking you what you trust this certificate to verify. Select the option that applies or leave it unchecked if you are not sure.

2. Enter VPN Network Settings

Here, you will need to enter the account and server information.

Go to your account photo > click the gear icon > go to Network > click Add Connection > click Add > Open VPN/L2TP

Next, you’ll need to fill in the required information including:

  • Server hostname: Server Name or IP Address
  • Service name: Name your connection anything you like
  • Provider type: OpenVPN most commonly
  • Choose the CA Certificate you installed from the list
  • User Certificate: Leave blank or choose one if installed. It installs the same way as a CA Certificate.
  • Username: Your VPN username.
  • Password: Your VPN password
  • OTP: Leave blank unless you have a token that generates one-time passwords.

3. Test the Connection

It’s active once you see a key symbol next to the Wi-Fi symbol.

It may sound overly technical, but using a VPN on a Chromebook offers a wealth of benefits and added security. Plus, the set up is a simple step-by-step process you can follow using this guide.

laptop books

Reading E-Books on a Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To

Do Chromebooks Make Good E-Readers?

Chromebooks have become a very popular option thanks to their affordable price and long battery life. Today, they can do much more than just help you edit text and access email. Now you can edit images, play games, watch movies, and even use them to read e-books.

But the question is, do Chromebooks make good e-readers? The answer is yes.

How to Read E-Books on a Chromebook

In order to have a quality e-book reading experience on your Chromebook, you will have to set up a few things first. The best possible experience depends on the Chromebook model. If you read a lot of e-books, it’s not a bad idea to use a Chromebook that can be held like a tablet. The Chromebook Flip is a great example. You will be glad to know that Kindle offers the Kindle Cloud Reader app, which can easily be downloaded to your Chromebook to get access to all the Amazon books you have on your account. But if you don’t have any Amazon books, you can still use Chromebook to read e-books.

There are a number of apps and extensions that make this possible, like the Google Play Books app and Readium. To access library books, the OverDrive app will be your best bet. Audiobooks are also available through OverDrive, as well as through Audible.

As with many other apps today, there are subscription services for books, too. Scribd is one of them, offering more than 500,000 titles, and Kindle Unlimited is another option, with 750,000 titles. If you’re more into comics, Marvel and Comixology have you covered.

At this point, OverDrive seems like the optimal option for many, as it’s compatible with all e-book formats (except PDF) and all audiobook formats.

<

Why You Should Use Your Chromebook as an E-Book Reader

If you’re wondering whether you should get a dedicated e-book reader or a Chromebook, here are a few benefits to using a Chromebook:

  • With Chromebook, it’s much easier to write notes and create content than when using a dedicated e-book reader. Quickly write notes and save them to Google Drive for later access. This is perfect for those who are reading academically or in a learning capacity.
  • Many new monitors have a special “Reading mode” that reduces blue light (which is known to hinder sleep) and minimizes eye strain. This can be achieved on Chromebook with apps like Twilight or Screen Shader, which are available in the Chrome Web Store.
  • Chromebooks tend to be the better option for viewing PDFs.
  • A dedicated e-book reader supports all formats but might be locked to certain services (only Kindle books, for instance). With Chromebook, you can read all e-books thanks to supporting multiple apps, e-book libraries, and services.
  • Most e-book readers have limited functionality, enabling web browsing, for instance, but not much else. Chromebooks cover a wide array of functions, from browsing and checking email to editing text and photos, playing games, and more.

Ultimately, a Chromebook makes an excellent e-book reader, and it provides the added benefit of multiple functionalities, making it the more cost-effective option.

closeup view of chrome logo on laptop

The First Steps to Owning a Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To, Making the Switch

You Purchased a Chromebook – Now What?

Getting your Chromebook can be exciting, but overwhelming, because you may not know where to turn first! There are several things you should do when you first get your Chromebook, such as setting it up properly, learning how to customize it, and getting all the must-have apps and products to ensure you have a seamless experience.

Personalization

Change Your Theme 

You simply have to visit the Chrome Web Store and browse through themes. If you find one you like, just select Add to Chrome and the theme will be installed. If you access your account on another Chromebook, the theme will appear there as well, because it’s linked to your account and is synced across all devices you use.

Shelf 

There are several options for organizing your apps. First, the Shelf is the taskbar at the very bottom of your interface. You can pin your favorite apps to the taskbar for easy access by right-clicking on the app you want and choosing Pin to Shelf. And apps aren’t the only thing you can put there. If there’s a site you visit frequently, you can bookmark the Shelf by choosing the More option in your browser, then More Tools and Add to Shelf.

Organize Your Apps 

Start off organized and on the right foot. You can create App Folders the same way you create them on an Android phone: by dropping one app on top of another. Holding the folder for a longer time allows you to change its name. This will reduce clutter and group apps according to usage, making you more productive.

Set Up (Multiple) User Profiles

Chromebook is designed in such a way that you can set up fully separate profiles, with each profile having their own personal settings, apps, and controls. If you have children, it’s not a bad idea to set up restricted profiles via the Supervised Users option that acts as a parental control. Using to this option, you can limit which sites they have access to. What’s more, safe search can’t be disabled.

Use Guest Mode

By utilizing Guest Mode, you can safely give your Chromebook to someone else without allowing them access to any of your documents or data. Plus, your browsing history and bookmarks will also be safe. All data that was accessed in Guest Mode is wiped clean once done.

Set Up a VPN

A VPN keeps you safe online, which is particularly important on a Chromebook because of its various online functions. Connecting to public networks always comes with a risk, and thanks to a VPN that adds another layer of protection, your data will be hidden from any prying eyes. Some VPN providers have their own apps that you can download from the Chrome Web Store, so make sure to check that before choosing your provider.

Essential Apps

You will need some additional apps to make your Chromebook into a powerhouse. The volume of available apps is growing every day, but here’s a list to get you started:

Google Drive and G-Suite – With Docs, Slides, and Sheets, you have all the essentials of an office suite that works across all Chrome OS devices.

Gmail – A no-brainer, really. There’s no productivity if you don’t have email. You can choose between the web version or the Android app.

Microsoft Office – Microsoft Office is available in the form of Android apps for Chromebooks, so just download them from the Play Store and log in with your Microsoft account.

Keep – Keep your digital notes organized with Keep.

Slack or Skype – To keep in touch with colleagues, you can use Skype or Slack, as both have native Android apps readily available for use.

Google Calendar – Keep track of all your meetings and tasks with the web or app version.

Pixlr – Web-based image editor, free to use.

AdBlock – If ads are testing your patience, AdBlock will help you keep your sanity.

The Great Suspender – Each open tab eats away your resources. The Great Suspender makes sure to suspend the tab you aren’t using at the time. It’s still there, but it’s not hogging your resources until you need it. Simply reload the tab to use again.

Learn Your Shortcuts

Shortcuts were made in heaven. They make things much easier and faster, and in today’s fast-paced world, it’s no wonder why so many people use them. There’s a very extensive list of Chromebook shortcuts you can use, all readily available on Google’s support pages.

Once you have taken these steps, your Chromebook is all set up and ready to go!

 

woman recording content for a vlog

Chromebooks for Vloggers

By | Chromebook, How-To

Vlogging on a Chromebook

As a lightweight, easy-to-carry and affordable option, Chromebooks are gaining traction with bloggers and vloggers. Many are unsure whether the Chromebook has what it takes to actually produce videos for vlogs and be a sustainable alternative for bloggers, so let’s take a closer look at vlogging on a Chromebook, the features you can use, and whether it’s actually possible.

What is Needed to Vlog on a Chromebook

The biggest criticism with Chromebooks for creatives is normally that you can’t use Photoshop or Premier. However, there are a number of other apps available to give you the bare essentials. Chromebooks are more flexible now, which means there are a wider variety of apps than ever before.

To get started vlogging on a Chromebook, you need to be able to do three things: photo editing, video recording, and video editing. Here are some of the options you have available.

Video Recording Apps

If you don’t have a camera and wish to record your video with a Chromebook, you should know that there is not a pre-installed app or extension for that purpose, so you’ll have to find one on the Chrome Web Store first.

Once you install the app, you will have to grant permissions; otherwise, the app won’t be able to access your webcam.

  • Clipchamp – An extension that can record, convert, compress, edit, and upload videos. It can be used on Chromebook and is a very popular choice for recording videos because it’s all-encompassing. It runs in the browser, but the videos are actually processed locally. The process is rather CPU-intensive, so it’s best to close other processes before you start recording.
  • io – Another web-based recorder that keeps things simple. You simply give permissions and can start recording as soon as you push the red circle on your screen. Once you have recorded everything, click Stop > Save and Download the video.

Of course, many vloggers prefer to record video using a DSLR camera or their own device, which is a perfectly viable alternative. If you go that route, you’ll simply need the right editing software.

Photo Editing Apps

In order to really stand out, you’ll need to be able to edit photos, whether it’s a still image in your video or cover images for your channel and social media. To make photos more appealing, you can use any of the various photo editing apps available for Chromebooks, including:

  • Pixlr – A web-based photo editor that comes as close to Photoshop as possible. You can edit images to your liking, and it’s free to use. The downside: as a free software, it has a number of ads, which could be a deal breaker for some.
  • Polarr – Another web-based photo editor with basic options available for free; the full range of options is behind a one-time $20 paywall, however. Still, the options are really powerful, so if you use photo editors a lot, this would be a good choice.
  • Adobe Suite – There are multiple Adobe apps available: Photoshop and Lightroom are available too, but they are not as strong when compared to Windows versions. Other apps include Sketch and Photoshop Mix for Chromebook users.

Video Editing Apps

Add fun effects, transitions, and the professional editing touch to your videos, particularly for vloggers aiming to monetize and build a foundation for income. These editing apps for vloggers are available on the Chromebook:

  • PowerDirector – A video editor made for Android that also works well on Chromebook. You can easily import and edit videos, even in 1080p and 4K resolutions. Its best selling point is the effects that can be added: slow motion, transition, and more. Plus, the interface is simple and intuitive. One word of warning, however: it does take quite a lot of time to export videos once you’re done editing, since there’s no hardware acceleration available.
  • KineMaster – Offers all the options that PowerDirector does, but it’s popular because of its themes. The tool’s Project Assistant basically builds your videos for you: you choose the artwork, fonts, music, and visual style, and then you let the wizard do its magic. It’s available for a monthly fee only, but there’s a trial version as well, so you can try everything out before you commit.
  • WeVideo – A feature-packed editor available to Chromebooks with access to Google Play, like the Acer Chromebook 14. Thanks to the intuitive interface, it can be used right away and offers video upload options to Instagram, Facebook, or Google Drive. Its subscription-based, and if you use the free version, you will have a watermark on your videos. It features an extensive media library full of free music and sound effects, which makes working in this editor a real treat.

For the naysayers, vlogging is more than possible with a Chromebook. And thanks to the vast number of apps and extensions available for Chromebooks today, it’s actually easier than ever.

 

laptop business

How To Use Your Chromebook For Business

By | Chromebook, How-To

Can Your Chromebook Keep up?

Chromebooks are a cloud-based option that many users have grown to love because they are lightweight, easy to use on the go, and affordable. Today, many apps that you download on your Chromebook can run while you are offline too. But are they a valid choice for a business?

Surprisingly, Chromebooks have quite a lot to offer to the corporate world, particularly for those who need to lug them around all day!

Startups and Entrepreneurs

The trend today, especially for many startups, is to limit the amount of overhead costs they have and to find cost-effective solutions for their business. If your desktop computer or workstation is not being used to its full potential because you work with online apps, you might want to consider switching to a lightweight solution. If your work is mostly cloud-based, prefer cloud-based storage solutions and automatic backups, rely on various web apps for productivity and want minimal setup issues, the Chromebook will be a great choice for your business or small team.

G-Suite for Businesses

With G-Suite, Google’s solution for both small and large businesses, you get access to everything you need to streamline your processes, collaborate with colleagues, and easily work on your projects. G-Suite is a very powerful bundle of cloud computing, collaboration and productivity tools, software, and products.

With it, you can connect with your colleagues easily through Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Plus, Hangouts Chat, and Meet. Get quick access to all the apps needed to successfully work on your projects: from Docs and Sheets, all the way to Sites and Keep. All your files and data can be stored on the Google Drive, and you can easily find all of them thanks to Google Cloud Search.

Larger businesses will be happy to know that Google has introduced Jamboard, a digital whiteboard. Jamboard offers a completely new, innovative new way to work on projects and visualize ideas interactively.

Chromebook as a Business Solution

Even though Chromebooks have a reputation as being a lightweight option for simple tasks only, much has changed in recent years, and Google is offering Chromebook solutions for both smaller and larger businesses.

If you are debating whether you can use a Chromebook for business, the short answer is: Yes, you can. There are certain things to take in consideration, of course. For instance, their processing power isn’t as strong when compared to regular desktops—they aren’t meant for monumental tasks that require vast amounts of processing power. They also can’t be used with legacy software, so a regular computer would be better suited in that case.

But, there are many benefits to using Chromebooks for business: they are easy to set up and use, scale perfectly, and management is minimal. Thanks to their automatic backup and synchronization, you can always be sure that all your data is safely stored in case something happens to your device or you have particularly clumsy staff.

Thanks to the built-in antivirus, regular security updates bundled with a verified boot and strong encryption, they are one of the safest options available out there for your business.

laptop case

Personalize Your Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To

5 Ways to Make Your Chromebook Uniquely Yours

One thing that various operating systems have got us used to is customizing appearance settings down to the smallest detail. Chrome OS also has rather decent customization options. Here’s how you can use these themes and other options to personalize your Chromebook.

1. The Chrome Launcher and Personalization Options

The Chrome operating system has the same basics as any Android device: it requires a (system) launcher in order to operate. This launcher is where everything else happens. The launcher includes the home screen, the app drawer, and pretty much everything else. Many Android-based phones can easily run launchers different from the stock launcher, which makes the customization options endless.

When it comes to the Chromebook, however, the possibilities are a bit more limited. Even though this is bound to change at some point, right now, you can only run the stock launcher. What you can do, however, is change other elements within the launcher to personalize your Chromebook.

2. Change the Wallpaper

One of the oldest personalization options available, the wallpaper is the easiest way to quickly personalize your Chromebook. Chromebook comes with a variety of readily available wallpaper options. You can access them by right-clicking or two-finger tapping the trackpad and choosing the “Set Wallpaper” option. A new window will pop up where you can browse through the wallpapers.

You can also use your own images as wallpapers if they are stored locally or on Google Drive. Click the “Custom” option to get access to those images. One very nifty option that Chrome OS has is “Surprise me.” If you tick the box next to this option, your wallpaper will change every time you log in to your Chromebook.

3. Change the Whole Theme

Another great personalization option for your Chromebook is changing the theme. In order to do this, you have to click the status area that’s located near your account picture, then go to Settings > Appearance, and finally, choose Browser Themes.

This will open the Chrome Web Store and let you browse through various themes. Once you have found a theme to your liking, you can easily set it up by selecting the “Add to Chrome” button. This theme is bound to your account, and it will sync with all the computers you use. If you want to use it only on your Chromebook, you will have to use selective sync to make sure it stays only there.

4. Put Folders in the App Drawer

If you have ever moved an app around an Android phone, you might have accidentally dropped it on top of another app, only to find them both in the same place, in a folder. Folder creation is done the same way in Chrome OS – just drop an app on top of another to get started. The default name will be “Unnamed folder”, so make sure to change the name.

Unfortunately, a folder can’t be created on the shelf or added to it, but having folders still helps you keep your Chromebook nice, tidy and keeps your personal favorites grouped together.

5. Personalize Your Shelf

The taskbar at the very bottom of your interface is called a shelf, and it can be customized too. You can change the position easily by right-clicking or two-finger tapping the trackpad, then go to “Shelf Position” and pick the position that suits you best.

If you feel like the shelf is a distraction, you can choose the auto-hide option for it. It will appear once you move the cursor to the edge of the screen. This option only works if you have other apps open. If there are no other apps, the shelf will stay visible.

Choose the apps you like most and add shortcuts to the shelf. This is rather easy to do: go to your favorite app, right-click on it, and click the “Pin to shelf” option which will create a shortcut. Plus you can add bookmarks there too, by accessing “More” in the browser, then “More Tools” and finally “Add to Shelf.”

One of the most common listed disadvantages of a Chromebook is their lack of customization options but as you can see, there is plenty to get you started. With their library full of various themes that you can apply to your Chromebook to switch things up a bit, Chrome OS can be customized to provide an experience to your liking.

 

cybersecurity

Protect Your Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To

5 Ways to Increase Your Chromebook’s Security

Chromebooks are considered as one of the most secure options available at this time, as all the local data is encrypted by the system—from cookies and browser cache, all the way to personal and business files and data.

Chrome OS also has a verified boot, and every single application and page runs in a sandbox. When coupled with automatic system updates, it’s clear that their security is on the very top of the priority list!

Even if they are the most secure option out there, there are still things you can do to boost security a bit more so here are 5 more ways for the security conscious to lock up your Chromebook extra tight!

1. Biometric Security Options: Fingerprint Sensors

A decade ago, fingerprint unlocking was still vastly in the realm of fiction, mostly being featured in movies and TV shows. There were a few devices that used it, but those weren’t for general use. Today, a vast amount of smartphones have fingerprint locks with Apple’s iPhone being the first and then other manufacturers following suit.

Chromebooks are now in the biometric game too with the newest models (that will be available soon) being equipped with a fingerprint sensor. There’s currently a nifty way to get the fingerprint unlock without the sensor—through the Smart Lock feature.

2. Smart Lock: Unlocking Chrome with an Android Phone

The Smart Lock option makes it possible to unlock your Chromebook with your phone. Using your Android phone, it can act as a key to unlock your Chromebook—as long as your phone is within 100 feet and unlocked, you won’t need to use your password. A simple click on your picture will grant you access.

In order to set this up, you will have to access the main settings in your Chromebook, and then go to:

“Show Advanced Settings” located at the very end of the main settings menu > Here, click the “Smart Lock for Chromebook” option to set it up.

You will be prompted to enter your password at this point. From here on, the setup will guide you through the process. You will be prompted to “Find Your Phone,” and once you do, hit  “Use This Phone.”

This option works well with any type of unlocking you have set up on your phone, as long as your phone runs Android 5.0 or higher. This includes fingerprint unlocking too.

Important: Smart Lock only works if both your phone and Chromebook have an active internet connection and Bluetooth enabled.

3. Your Google Account

Because your Google Account is the main way to get to your Chromebook, a secure password is very important. In addition to this, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is crucial to keep your Google Account truly secure. You will need the Google Authenticator app installed on your phone, and it will generate a code or send a text message for each new login. That way, even if you’re hacked, they can’t get to your data.

If you ever get an authentication request you didn’t expect, change your account passwords immediately.

4. Restrict Sign-In

Chromebook, although you can personalize it, doesn’t hold any personalization offline. Everything is synced by default and cloud-based. This means that as soon as you log in to another Chromebook, it will feel and look just like your own device. This is great if you want to get a new Chromebook, not so great for stopping anyone with a Google account from signing in and changing a bunch of features. In order to protect your Chromebook from unauthorized logins, you can use the restrict sign-in feature, which limits access to the people who can sign in to include only you, or you can authorize selected family/friends.

You will find this option under Settings > Users > Manage Other Users.

5. VPN’s and Why They Are a Big Deal

Chromebooks are primarily cloud-based devices, which means they heavily rely on having an Internet connection. Whenever you connect your Chromebook to a public network, there is a risk that someone could interfere with your data. By using a VPN, you are adding an additional layer of protection that prevents others from seeing your activity. This includes anyone who might have malicious intent, but also marketers and others.

In the age of data security and online usage, it’s important to protect your information and your device, so make these changes to your Chromebook and you’ll be safe in the knowledge you are well protected.

 

keyboard

Increase Your Efficiency: Time Saving Hacks

By | Chromebook, How-To

10 Chromebook Shortcuts You Need to Know

Using shortcuts improves efficiency, saves time, and makes you more productive. Chromebook offers a number of shortcuts that make things more convenient and help you work faster. With over 100 options on what to do with various keys, you can do wonders once you get a hang of it.

Thanks to various shortcuts, you can start apps or switch between them, check notifications, access various menus, and do pretty much anything else that comes to mind. Shortcuts are set up as with any other OS, and you will use modifier keys (Alt, Shift, and Control) for quick access to improve utility to a wide range of Chromebook options and features.

The universal ones, like Control+C or Control+V, you probably already know. But there are numerous others that you should know of.

Here are the 10 Chromebook shortcuts everyone should know by heart for quicker control that will make you look like a pro!

1. Shift+Escape

If you have ever run into a problem with Windows, you should know the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combo by heart. The Shift+Escape is the Chromebook alternative. When you hit this shortcut, you will open the Task Manager. From the manager, you will have a complete overview of all the apps that are running, how many resources each of them is using, whether an app is experiencing any issues like being unresponsive, and so on.

From here, you can easily force-close an unresponsive app. If you can’t seem to make this shortcut work, remember that it will only work if Chrome is the active window.

2. Search+L

This keyboard shortcut locks your Chromebook. When you get up from your Chromebook, it’s wise to hit this shortcut to make sure nobody else can use it. When you return, you will be prompted to write your password to unlock the Chromebook again.

3. Ctrl+Alt+N

This shortcut will grant you quick access to all your notifications.

4. Ctrl+F5

Hitting Control + F5 will take a screenshot. If you wish to take a partial screenshot only, you use Ctrl+Shift+F5, and click and drag the area you want to take a screenshot of.

5. Ctrl+Shift+QQ

If you wish to log out of your Chromebook quickly, you need to hold down control and shift, and hit the Q button twice.

6. Alt+Search

The Caps Lock key is actually not Caps Lock but a search function. If you hit this key, you will prompt open the search function (as is indicated by the magnifying glass on it). In order to actually toggle Caps Lock, you will need to use the Alt modifier with Search.

7. Alt+1 (to 9)

This shortcut provides you quick access to your favorite apps (apps that you have pinned onto the shelf). Pressing Alt+1 will open the leftmost app, Alt+2 will open the second from the left, and so on.

8. Alt+E

To quickly open the browser menu, use the Alt modifier and the letter E.

9. Alt+Backspace

Using Alt with backspace will delete the character that’s on the right of your cursor. This shortcut acts as a Delete key on a Windows PC.

10.Ctrl+Alt+?

If you can’t remember a shortcut combo, using Ctrl+Alt+? will open the menu of all the possible shortcuts, so it’s best to NOT forget this one.

Shortcuts can definitely make our lives easier so when using your Chromebook, commit these to memory and you’ll be extra speedy next time you want to use all your features.

laptop beach

5 Ways to Work Offline on a Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To

Say Goodbye to the Days of Required Internet

When Chromebook made its debut, it was no more than a conduit to all things Internet, especially Gmail, Google Drive, and other Google Cloud services. There wasn’t a single thing you could do on them if you were unlucky enough to have a limited or no Internet connection at all. And, this reputation has stuck with Chromebooks.

Google, however, was quick to rectify this oversight. Today, there’s quite a lot you can do offline with a Chromebook. In order for an app to run offline, the app needs to run everything locally and Google solved this by introducing “Packaged Apps” that can execute locally.

For a quick reference on how to work offline on a Chromebook, here’s a list of various things that you can access offline.

 1. Check Emails and Schedule

Thanks to Gmail Offline, you can read, search, and respond to your emails. Of course, sending is not an option, as you need an Internet connection for that, but you can do everything else. If you send replies they will be held until you have internet connection again before they are sent.

How to Enable: Go to: Chrome Web Store and open the Gmail Offline page.

Then click on Add to Chrome > Add App.

A launcher will appear in the corner of the screen. Once you click it, click the Gmail Offline app, and then the option to Allow Offline Mail.

This will prompt the download of your messages so that you can view them and write replies. All operations you do offline will be synced once you go online.

2. Play Music and Movies

For Music and Movies, you will need the Google Play Music and Google Play Movies apps. In order to enjoy movies, music and TV shows offline, you will have to buy and download them in their respective apps, making sure they are synced to your device before going offline. However, Google Play Music also allows you to upload any music you might have in your personal collection and play this when you’re offline too.

3. Play Games

Not all games can be played offline, but there’s a decent collection that you can enjoy and generally something for everyone. In order to find them, go to the Chrome Web Store, click on Games and check the “Runs Offline” box. For instance, Cut the Rope is available for offline play. Then simply download the ones of interest and the next time you’re offline, you’ll have something to occupy your time.

4. Take Notes

Google Keep lets you take notes while you are offline too and while you can save and edit offline, you’ll need an internet connection to sync them and fully save them.

5. Edit Photos and Documents

Since Google Drive introduced offline support, viewing, creating, and editing documents or photos is available while you are offline as well. No need to worry about changes being saved- all of them will be synced as soon as you connect to the Internet again.

How to Enable: Go to the main Google Drive page and click the Cog icon > Settings. Under General Options, search for Offline options. There will be an option to enable syncing of documents to the computer, so check the box next to it. Once you have done so, syncing will begin. Make sure everything is synced before you go offline.

To edit photos, you can use Pixlr Touch Up and apply quick edits, crop images, blur them, add filters or effect, or some text.

To use your Chromebook and all of its features, obviously an internet connection is going to be essential, but in those times when you can’t find one, you’ll still have plenty of tools at your fingertips for work, entertainment and fun. As Chromebook continues to develop and improve, I’m sure we’ll see their offline features increase, closing the gap between them and regular notebooks.