Google Chrome Chromebooks By Keyboard Navigating The Chrome OS Interface


Google Chrome Chromebooks By Keyboard Navigating The Chrome OS Interface

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[Google Chrome Chromebooks By Keyboard Navigating The Chrome OS Interface]

chrome accessibility
chrome os interface by keyboard

Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a member of the Chrome accessibility team at Google.

In this video, we’ll go over some different ways to navigate your Chromebook using just the keyboard… …plus, where you can learn more about some available keyboard commands.

Let’s get started by taking a look at the status tray menu in the lower right hand corner of your screen.

status tray menu

To open it, I hold down Alt and Shift, and press S.

To move around the menu, I can press Tab.

And to go backwards, I press Shift Tab.

This menu is really useful. I can do a lot of different things here. I can connect to a different WiFi network… …or manage Bluetooth devices, like a headset or a printer. Adjust the audio input and output, navigate to settings, and so much more.

That’s the Chrome OS status tray menu. Now let’s navigate the Launcher and the Shelf in the lower left corner.

Let’s start with the Launcher.

It’s the leftmost icon at the bottom of the screen – the icon looks like a magnifying glass.

To jump right to it, I press Alt Shift L. The small colored border around it indicates “focus.” Focus means that if I press Enter, I can activate that specific item. In this case, when I press enter, the app launcher opens.

I can search from here, install new apps, or use Tab and Enter to navigate through existing apps.

To close the launcher — I press Escape.

So earlier I mentioned the shelf, and the shelf refers to all the icons immediately to the right of the Launcher. You can have up to nine app icons pinned there.

I can use the same shortcut as I did to get to the Launcher. Now do you remember what it was?

Alt Shift L, awesome.

I press that, and then I can use the tab or arrow keys to place focus on the various app icons I have pinned. Then pressing Enter opens the given app.

But maybe I want to get to an app even faster.

Think of the apps as being numbered. Skip the launcher icon and then start numbering from left to right. So the next one is Number 1, then Number 2, and so on.

If I want to open the third app — Chrome in this case — I hold down Alt and press the number of its position.

So I’d press Alt 3.

To open the rightmost icon, which I have set to YouTube on my Chromebook, I press Alt 9. This works even if I have fewer app icons than that. Alt 9 always opens the last one, going from left to right.

Next, if I want to navigate to the Chrome toolbar, I can press Alt + Shift + T and then use the tab key to move around between items.

To navigate to the bookmarks bar, I can press Alt + Shift + B (as in bookmarks) and again, use the tab key to navigate among bookmarks.

Last, if I want to access the Chrome OS Files manager, I can press Alt + Shift + M (as in manager) to open this up and navigate through my files. Then I can press Ctrl W to close it.

One more thing I haven’t talked about yet is context menus. These are the little menus that pop-up when you right-click with the mouse.

You can also open them using the keyboard. First I find the Shift and Search keys. The Search key on your Chromebook is on the left side of your keyboard, directly above the shift key…

Now I hold down the Shift and Search keys, and I press the Volume Up button — it’s second from the right at the top of the keyboard. Or, I can hold down Shift and Search, and press the zero key.

Now I can use the arrow keys to move up or down in the shortcut menu… …and then press Enter if I want to choose something from the menu.

If I want to close this menu, I just press Escape.

Speaking of Escape, it’s also pretty handy for closing things like dialog boxes.

To close tabs, press Control W.

So there are a lot of keyboard shortcuts for your Chromebook! And there are a lot we didn’t cover in this video.

Luckily, there’s a way to look them up quickly, so you certainly don’t have to memorize them all to get the most from your Chromebook.

If there are only a few things you take away from this video, these next few things are the ones to know.

keyboard overlay

Introducing the keyboard overlay!

Press Control Alt and Forward slash to open it up.

If you’re not sure which slash key is right, note that it also has a question mark on it.

Notice how I can press different keys and key combinations to see the various shortcuts. To close the keyboard overlay, simply press escape.

One other useful thing to know is how to take a screen shot or screen capture.

On the Chromebook, the way we do this is hold down Control and press the window overview key. This is a physical key on your Chromebook, just above the number six on the top row of function keys. This will take a shot of the entire screen.

A notification then displays on your screen to let you know it’s been captured and saved.

To access your notification center at any time, press Alt Shift N (as in notifications).

The other important thing to know, of course, is how to find help and resources in our Help App. Hold down Control and press the Question Mark.

Here’s how I remember it.

“Help! I’m outta control! I have questions!”

But really… in this help app, you can learn more about your Chromebook, as well as send feedback. ….or you can press Alt Shift Eye at any time to open and submit a feedback form.

Finally, I’m going to close the windows by pressing Control W.

further resources

That’s all for now!

To provide us with feedback or ask questions about any of the topics that you’ve learned today, please do join our Google Group and drop us an email at

To learn more about Google Accessibility as a whole, check out

To sign up for user studies to explore new features and help shape Google products, visit

Also, look out other videos about more ways to make Chrome browser and Chromebooks easier to use.

Again, I’m Laura, and on behalf of myself and the Chrome Accessibility Team, thanks for watching!

Google Chrome Chromebooks By Keyboard Navigating The Chrome OS Interface

Google Chrome Chromebooks By Keyboard Navigating The Chrome OS Interface

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