Chrome browser - Top 10 tips & tricks

Search better, optimise settings and improve performance

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world thanks to its clean interface and numerous feature set. Get the best out the browser with these top 10 tips:

1  Search tips

Type a search term into the address bar and then press 'Alt + Enter' and results will appear in a new tab.

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It's possible to set Google Drive files directly from the address bar - go to Settings > Manage search engines and set the default to Google Drive. It's useful if you're a heavy Google Docs user.

2 - Tinker with Settings

Every time you open Google - it will default to a new tab - but you can configure the browser to continue where you left off or to open a specific set of pages upon startup. Go to Settings and check the box you prefer.

From this menu you can also set the browser to display the 'Home button' and make sure the bookmark bar is activated.

3 - Allow Chrome to generate passwords for you

An experimental feature allows Chrome to generate passwords for you when you are signing up to websites. You have to be signed in on the browser for this to work using your Google account and also have the password manager enabled as well.

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To switch this on, type "about:flags" into the address bar and find the option "Enable Password Generation". Activate this and restart your browser. Now when you are on an account creation page on a website, Chrome will suggest a secure password and store it for you.

This is an experimental feature so proceed with caution.

4 Find that website memory hogger

Windows has Task Manager and Mac has Activity monitor to help you see which apps are draining system resources. Chrome has something similar too.

The task manager shows you the tabs that are hogging memory and CPU usage. It also tells you what extensions and plug-ins are doing. Simply highlighting the process and clicking on the "End Process" button can kill off any tab, plug-in or extension.

5 Selective memory

Every browser allows you to delete your browsing history but this usually involves erasing everything.

With Chrome not only can you delete the last hour, day, week, four weeks or everything, you can also select individual websites to remove from your history.

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From the menu, click on history and then select those websites you which to get rid of and click on the "Remove Selected Items" button.

6 Reveal hidden passwords

If you rely on autofill, you may forget your password, which can be annoying if you want to log in on another machine without signing into your Google account. You can easily see what passwords you have used by clicking on settings in the menu bar, then scrolling down to the bottom of this page and clicking on the option "show advanced settings". 

Scroll down some more to "Passwords and forms" and click on "Manage passwords". This will show you a list of saved passwords. Initially, all the passwords are blanked out. Hover above the password you want to reveal and a button marked "Show" will appear besides the highlighted website's password. Click on this and the password will be revealed.

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You can also reveal a password on a particular page by opening the Developer Tools menu and change the input type from password to text.

7 Reopen a closed tab

We've all closed important tabs and windows by accident, so it's useful to be able to reopen them in Chrome.

In order to give yourself a second chance, press Ctrl+Shift+T (Cmd+Shift+T on a Mac) or right click on an open tab and select "Reopen Closed Tab" from the context menu and this will open up the last tab you shut down.

You can reopen as many closed tabs as you want within a single browsing session.

8 Activate Flash on demand

Most websites have ditched Flash as the world moves onto HTML5, but some holdouts remain. If you want to improve stability of the browser, go to the browser's Advanced Settings (chrome://settings/content) and choose the "Click to Play" option under Plugins.

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This disables Flash Player. Should you need to run the plug-in you can activated it on demand.

9 What does this website look like on a mobile?

Chrome allows you to see how websites would look on iOS and Android devices.

From the menu bar, open developer tools, switch to Emulation tab and choose a device you want to mimic from the drop down menu. This spoofs the user agent the browser tells the website what it is. You may have to reload the tab in order for the website to render as it would do on the actual mobile device you are faking.

The handy tool will also allow you to see how well a site loads under different network conditions, such as a weak mobile connection.

10 Shortcuts to make you more productive

Point and click can be useful, but when you are a power user, nothing gets things done faster than a keyboard short cut and there are plenty to choose from.

Depending on whether you use Chrome on a Mac, Linux machine or Windows, you can find a list of them on Google's Chrome support pages here: (Mac, Linux, Windows).

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