The First Steps to Owning a Chromebook

closeup view of chrome logo on laptop

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!