Optimize Your Chrome Browser With These Three Tips

As a Google Trainer and Innovator, it’s no surprise that I work almost exclusively within the Google platform. My recent post, Three Tips to Organize Your Google Drive, received great feedback and has inspired this post about Google Chrome! Many people use Google Chrome for their web browsing, but are missing some features that make it such a powerful tool. Here are three things you can do to maximize efficiency and get the most out of your Chrome browsing experience.

Optimize Your Chrome Browser With These Three Tips

Chrome Profiles

Chrome profiles are necessary for anyone who has multiple Google account, such as having separate school and personal accounts. A Chrome profile will store information for a specific Google account; history, bookmarks, extensions, saved passwords, and settings. Chrome profiles are also good if you share a computer with someone else. If you are simply using the “Add Account” method from Gmail or Google Drive and switching account that way, there is a much easier way to do this. I have a Chrome profile for each Google accounts I work with and recommend others do the same!

Creating Your Chrome Profile

Before you begin, sign out of all Google accounts and close all but one Chrome window. It’s even a good idea to remove all accounts after you have signed out.

In your Chrome browser, click on the three-dot menu in the upper right corner and then select Settings. This will show you if you are currently signed in to Google Chrome with any account. If you are, make sure it’s your primary account.

If you aren’t signed into any Chrome accounts, you will be prompted to do so. You can name your profile and choose an icon. Create a name that helps you identify the account, such as work, school, or personal. Then click “add.”

Now you can sign in to Google Drive or Gmail, and anything you open in that window will be associated with the account for the Chrome Profile. To double check, look at the icons along the URL bar and at the top of your Google website. They should both match the same account.

You can customize this Chrome profile from the profile icon in the upper right corner (along the URL bar) by selecting “Manage you Google Account.” This will allow you to update your personal information, select security settings, add a profile picture, and more. Adding a profile picture will help you easily identify each Chrome profile.

Additional Chrome Profiles

Adding additional Chrome profiles is easy. From your Chrome browser, click on the profile icon in the upper right corner, scroll down to people and click “add.” You will follow the same steps to add a profile using a different Google account. Name the profile something that helps you identify which account it is. It’s a good idea to use a different profile picture for each account.

Managing Multiple Chrome Profiles

Each Chrome profile will open in a separate window, ensuring that everything in that window is associated with the correct account. To open another profile, go to the profile icon in the upper right corner, click on the profile name, and it will open in a new window. On any device you can now sign in to your Chrome account and have access to all of your history, bookmarks, extensions, saved passwords, and more!

If you need more help setting up your Chrome profile, check out this video by Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning: You’re Doing it Wrong! How to Manage Multiple Chrome Accounts.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks are a great way to save websites you access frequently. Google Chrome has two default Bookmark locations, the Bookmarks Bar and Other Bookmarks. There are several ways to customize the Bookmark experience. You can bookmark a page by clicking on the “Bookmarks” menu at the top of the screen, or by clicking on the star on the right end of the URL bar. Give the bookmark a name and select which folder to store it in.

Bookmarks Bar

Websites saved to the Bookmarks Bar are visible below the URL bar in Chrome. From the “View” menu in Chrome, you can choose to have the Bookmarks Bar visible or hidden.

Bookmarks Bar
Bookmarks Bar

Other Bookmarks

Websites saved to Other Bookmarks can be accessed from the Bookmarks tab at the top of the screen, or from the Other Bookmarks folder, visible on the right side, under the URL bar.

Other Bookmarks folder
Other Bookmarks

Managing Bookmarks

To customize your bookmarks, select “Bookmark Manager” from the Bookmark tab at the top of the screen. This will show each website saved in your Bookmarks Bar and Other Bookmarks folder. From here you can edit or delete a bookmark by clicking on the three dots on the right of each bookmark.

Suggestions for managing bookmarks:

  • Edit the name of a bookmark to give a clear description of the website
  • Shorten the name of a bookmark to take up less space
  • Delete the name of the bookmark entirely to only display the site icon. This will take up less space, but it works best for websites that have custom icons.
  • Add additional folders to the Bookmark Manager by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Command+D (Mac) or Control+D (PC) to save a website as a bookmark.
  • Command+Option+B (Mac) or Control+Option+B (PC) will open the Bookmark Manager.
  • Command+Shift+B (Mac) or Control+Shift+B (PC) will make the Bookmarks bar visible or make it disappear.

Reading List

The Reading List is a recent addition to the Chrome Browser. Similar to Bookmarks, the Reading List allows you to save websites you want to reference later. To add a page to the Reading List, click the star in the url bar and choose “Reading List.” Once pages are saved in the Reading List, you can access them by clicking on the Reading List tab on the right of the screen. From there you can open pages, mark a page “Read” or remove a page from the list.

If the Reading List is not visible in your browser window, be sure you have updated to the most recent version of Google Chrome. You will also need to have the Bookmarks Bar showing, which you can change in the View menu.

Managing Tabs

Managing open tabs is something many people struggle with! If you are someone who frequently has multiple tabs open, Groups and Pins are two things that can help.

Tab Groups

Grouping tabs does exactly what it sounds like – it groups several tabs together. You may choose to group pages that are related or pages that are frequently used at the same time. When tabs are grouped, you can open or close all tabs within that group at one time. And, just like regular tabs, groups are saved and reopened each time you exit and launch Chrome.

To group a tab, right click on the tab and select “Add Tab to Group.” You can either add the tab to an existing group, or create a new group. Groups can be customized by name and color. To open a group, click on the group name, and all tabs within that group will open. To close the grouped tabs, click again on the group name. Groups and tabs can be dragged and re-arranged just like any other tabs.

Grouped Tabs
Grouped Tabs

Pinned Tabs

Tabs can also be pinned. A pin allows you to lock your most-used tabs. A pinned tab appears on the left side of the browser window and is smaller – it only shows the site icon. It does not have an “x” to close the tab, so it cannot be accidentally closed. In addition, when links are clicked in a pinned tab, they will always open in a new window.

Pinned tabs

To pin a tab, right click in the tab (at the top of the window) and select “Pin.” To unpin a tab, right click in the tab and select “Unpin.”

Consider pinning tabs you use daily, such as email, Google Calendar, and Google Drive. Group tabs you will use for specific classes. Such as a group of tabs for beginning band class, or a group of tabs for teaching ukulele.


Hopefully these suggestions are useful to you and help you stay organized when using your Chrome browser! Do you have other suggestions or things that have worked for you? Please reach out and share!

In addition, check out my other post Three Tips for Organizing Your Google Drive for more ideas on how to maximize your Google experience!

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