• Exploring your District-Issued Device 

    This page offers guidance for students and families to setup District-issued devices. Learn terminology, keyboard shortcuts, features specific to Chromebooks, and various tips to efficiently and effectively use these devices as learning tools. 


    Common Vocabulary

    Launcher: small circle in left hand corner, from here you can open any app and also search Google

     launcher screenshot

    Shelf: Chrome’s name for the taskbar that goes across the bottom of the screen


    Pinning: Make applications easily accessible by pinning them to the shelf.



    Drive: Location we save all of our files

    Chromebook Keyboard

    The first difference that you will notice is the keyboard (well, the very first thing you might have noticed is that Chromebooks turn on when you open the lid, without having to press the power button).

    bird's eye view of laptop

    Instead of function keys, you have dedicated keys for managing your Chrome browser. Getting used to this may take a while. But once you get the hang of it, I am sure you will enjoy it. Chromebooks do not have a caps lock key (A few models, like the Acer C7 Chromebook has caps-lock though!). So what do you need to know to make the best out of the Chromebook keyboard?

    Here is the first thing for you to do. Press CTRL + ALT + ? and you will see all the available keyboard shortcuts. A screen overlay is displayed with instructions. Press CTRL or ALT or SEARCH etc to see the keyboard shortcut combinations available using each of them.

    The Search Key and Caps Lock Key

    The caps lock is one of the first things that Chromebook users look for when they are new to this new operating system. Chromebooks come with a Search key instead of caps-lock. The search key opens the Chrome OS apps menu. Here is how it looks like:

    search key

    To get the caps-lock key back, go to Settings and search for Keyboard. From keyboard settings, you can change the function of the search key to caps-lock.

    Chrome OS Apps Menu is quite useful. Refer to Chrome OS Apps Menu section of this guide for more information. But personally, I like the search key and when I REALLY need caps-lock on, I use the following keyboard shortcut.


    Use this keyboard shortcut to enable or disable caps-lock. When caps-lock is turned on, you will see a up arrow like icon on the next to time on the taskbar.

    No Delete Key

    There is no Delete key in most Chromebooks. Here is the keyboard shortcut you will use:

    ALT + Backspace:    Delete the next letter (forward delete)

    CTRL + Backspace: Delete the previous word

    As an alternative, try the ALT + BACKSPACE keyboard shortcut at work, on my Windows laptop. You will get used to this keyboard very soon.

    No Home or End Keys

    If you prefer to use Home and End keys on computer, these keys are not available on Chromebooks. Alternate keyboard shortcuts are:

    ALT + Up Arrow key: Home

    ALT + Down Arrow key: End

    Dedicated Browser Keys

    We talked a lot about things that you won’t see on a Chromebook. Now lets talk about things you get extra on your Chromebook’s keyboard.

    Instead of function keys (F1 to F12, remember?) Chromebook gives you dedicated browser keys, or keys that you can use to perform some actions that you do on the browser. The following is a list of dedicated browser keys that you get.

    keyboard shortcut images

    Note: These might vary according to the Chromebook model you have purchased.

    Some Touchpad Tricks

    Click or tap with two fingers for right click

    If that’s not easy for you, ALT + Click = Right click!

    Swipe with two fingers for scrolling

    touch pad commands

    Find more information on this official help article from Google.

    Chrome OS Launcher and Apps Menu

    Open the apps menu by clicking the apps icon on the taskbar or pressing the Search key. This is the Chrome OS Launcher. If you are an Android user, you will feel at home!

    google search

    The launcher has the following features:

    A search box

    Recently used apps

    A link to go to the full apps list (All Apps icon)

    From the Apps Menu, you can:

    Launch apps you have installed from Chrome Web Store: Click the app icon from the menu, and the app will launch on a new tab. Right click the app icon for more options like, pinning the the app to the taskbar,or the shelf as they call it.

    Right-click any app to remove it from your Chromebook.

    Search the web: You don’t need to open a new tab, open Google.com and then type in the search query. You are on a Chromebook now! Press the search key once to open the Chrome OS apps menu, type in your query and hit Enter. A new tab will open with your search results.

    Voice Search

    Basic maths or conversions: Since Google search is integrated to the Chrome OS apps menu, you can do basic maths from the search area of the menu. Try something now. For example, type in 4*4= and see what happens!

    Search and install apps and extensions from the Chrome Web Store: Search results also show related apps and extensions from the Chrome Web Store. Click the Add to Chrome  icon to install the app or extension.

    search window

    Search your contacts and start a conversation (currently in development). And more in the making!

    Change Wallpaper

    Just like your PC, right click the desktop and choose Set Wallpaper. You can pick wallpapers available there or use your own image. There are plenty of apps that will change your wallpaper automatically and add some eye candy to your Chromebook.

    Take Screenshots

    shows keys to take a screenshot

    Add More Users

    Sharing your Chromebook with friends and family is really easy. You can let them use the Guest mode, or for a family member who might want to use your Chromebook occasionally, you can have them added to your Chromebook as a user.

    There are two ways to do this. You can let them login right from the login screen of the Chromebook.

    On my Chromebook, I have this feature disabled. I prefer adding users manually, which is the second method of adding users.

    Go to settings, and search for users

    Click Manage other users

    Check Restrict sign-in to the following users

    In the Add users box, type in the Gmail address of the person you want to add

    Click Ok

    Your Chromebook will add that person as a user. Since you checked the Restrict sign-in to the following users box, the login screen will no longer have the option for new users to login and create their own profile.

    Guest Mode

    Chrome OS has a guest mode to help you share your Chromebook easily without sharing your personal information; your bookmarks, saved passwords, extensions, apps, search history and more.

    Guest mode does not save any information about the browsing session after the guest user logs out.  Read more about Guest mode here.

    Screen Lock and Password Protection

    To lock the Chrome OS screen, click the profile icon on the taskbar (or any of those icons there on the bottom right corner!) and click the lock symbol.

    Or even better, press SEARCH + L to lock the screen!

    Most of the time, instead of using this method, I tend to close the lid of the Chromebook and walk away. When I open it again, I open the lid and I am ready to go, instantly. But there is one thing that I don’t like here. If I keep my Chromebook closed and move away from it, anyone else can open it up and start using it.

    I would like to have Chromebook ask for my password when I open the lid again, for a little more security. Here is how to do this:

    Go to settings and search for sleep  and check Require password to wake from sleep next to your profile.

    Using Chromebook Offline

    Chromebooks work the best when connected to internet. However if you prepare a bit, you can be productive or have some fun while you are offline too. Prepare your Chromebook to use it offline too.

    Manage Files

    Remember the C Drives and D Drives from your windows computer? On Chrome OS we have Downloads and Google Drive.

    To view the file manager, click Files from the Chrome OS Apps menu. If you like keyboard shortcuts, use this:

    ALT + SHIFT + M

    The file manager opens in a new windows and you will see Downloads and Google Drive.


    Downloads drive (l like to call them drives) contains files stored on your Chromebook locally. That means, files you see here are on the SSD card of your Chromebook (Hard Drive in some Chromebooks)

    You can right click anywhere inside the Downloads drive to create new folders. It works similar to folders on your PC. So it won’t take much time for you to get used to do.

    Contents of the Downloads drive are stored locally on your Chromebook. Anything you save here will be lost during  Powerwash (factory reset).Use cloud or an external storage device to store important data.

    Google Drive

    The Google Drive on your Chromebook lists files stored on your Google Drive account. These files are not on the local drive. They are on the cloud.That means, you can access them from any device, if you login to Google Drive.

    Even though Google Drive lists all the files there, not all of them are physically present on your Chromebook. Files are downloaded when you try to open them. To make files available on the Chromebook (to access even when you are offline) check the Available offlineagainst the files of your choice.

    Click the settings icon on the top right corner for additional options on Google Drive.

    Drag and Drop Between Google Drive and Downloads

    You can drag and drop files from the Downloads drive or Google Drive to copy files between them.

    When you drag a file from Downloads drive to Google Drive, the file will be uploaded to your Google Drive.

    When you drag a file from Google Drive to Downloads drive, it will be downloaded and copied to your local drive, making it available for offline use.

    Deleting Files

    To delete a file, right click and choose Delete as you would normally do on a PC or a Mac. You can use the following keyboard shortcut as well:


    Do not waste time looking for Trash. There isn’t any! If you accidentally deleted a file, click Undo on the top of the file manager window to retrieve the file.

    Find additional Chromebook information here: https://www.chromestory.com/chromebook/user-guide/