Chances are you spend a lot of your computing time inside a browser window, and quite possibly inside a Chrome tab; Google’s browser has come from nowhere in 2008 to dominate the browser landscape on desktop and mobile. Part of Chrome’s appeal is its ease-of-use, but it also has more advanced features just below the surface that can help you do more in less time.
To give your time online a boost, try these Chrome tips and tweaks. If you’d rather go for a more privacy-focused browser, give one of these alternatives a spin. Or if you’re heavy into Apple’s ecosystem, try our guide to Safari on iOS and macOS.
1. Mute noisy sites
No one likes their browsing interrupted by auto-playing ads or videos. If one site is proving particularly annoying, you can silence it permanently. Right-click on the site’s tab at the top of Chrome, then choose Mute Site. Pages from that particular domain won’t be able to make a peep until you choose Unmute Site from the same menu.
2. Bring back closed tabs
Chrome keyboard shortcuts can make a real difference to how quickly you can get stuff done; see here for a full list. One of our favorites is Ctrl+Shift+T on Windows (or Cmd+Shift+T on a Mac): It brings back the tab that you most recently closed. You can keep pressing the same shortcut to open more and more recently closed tabs.
3. Change the look of Chrome
Chrome comes with a theming tool that you might not have discovered yet. Open up a new tab then click on the Customize button in the bottom right. You can choose an entire theme based around a background image (Background), or set a specific gallery of colors (Color and theme), and even change the shortcuts that show up on new tabs (Shortcuts).
4. Look up your passwords
Chrome does an excellent job of remembering your passwords and user names for various sites, but you might not always be logging on inside Chrome. If you need to look up a password, open the Chrome menu and choose Settings, then Passwords. You can search for a specific user name or URL at the top, then click the eye icon to reveal the password.
5. Switch between profiles
Just like you can have user profiles for different people on Windows or macOS, you can have multiple Chrome profiles, too. It keeps passwords, history, settings, and more separate, and it works for different family members or just for different parts of your life, like work versus home. Click your avatar (top right) then Manage People to get started.
6. Embrace the emoji
If you think one emoji is worth a thousand words, you’ll be interested in this one. You can right-click inside any text box in Chrome on Windows or macOS, then choose Emoji & Symbols to quickly access a gallery of icons and pictures. If you can’t find what you’re looking for straight away, use the search box at the top or the category list at the bottom.