Browsing in Chrome

When using Chrome browsing is similar to other browsers. However, there are some unique features of browsing in Chrome.

Browsing in Chrome

Chrome makes browsing the Web quick and easy. In this lesson, we'll talk about navigating to websites in Chrome. You'll also learn how use tabs, access your browsing history, and view your downloads.

If you don't have much experience using a web browser, you may want to check out our lesson on Using a Web Browser, which covers the basic points of Internet browsing in more detail.

Watch the video below to learn the basics of browsing in Chrome.

The Omnibox

Some browsers use an address bar for navigating to websites and a search bar for conducting web searches. Google Chrome combines these two elements into one bar, known as the Omnibox. By integrating Google's search technology, the Omnibox offers suggestions for websites or potential web searches as you type, which makes navigating the Web faster and easier.

To use the Omnibox:

  1. Type a web address or search term into the Omnibox.
  2. Suggestions will appear below the Omnibox as you type. Suggestions in green text are websites. Suggestions in black text are potential web searches.
  3. Click a suggestion to navigate to a website or conduct a search. You can also type a full web address and press Enter to navigate to a website, just like a regular address bar.

Omnibox suggestion icons

To the left of each suggestion in the Omnibox is a gray icon, which indicates the suggestion type.

Navigating in Chrome

Chrome uses three buttons for navigation in the top navigation bar: the Back, Forward, and Refresh buttons.

Windows and tabs

Like all browsers, Chrome allows you to open new windows to view different pages. In addition, Chrome allows you to open multiple websites in the same window using tabs. Tabs are usually more convenient than opening several windows at the same time.

To open a new window:

  1. Click the Chrome menu in the top-right corner of the browser, then select New window. Alternatively, press Ctrl+N on your keyboard.
  2. The new window will appear.

To open a new tab:

  1. Click the New tab button to the right of open tabs. Alternatively, press Ctrl+T on your keyboard.
  2. The new tab will appear. Type an address and press Enter to navigate to a new page.
  3. The page will appear in the new tab.

To switch between tabs:

  1. Click any tab that is not currently selected.
  2. The tab will be selected.

You can also press Ctrl+Tab on your keyboard to switch between open tabs.

To close a tab:

To open a link in a new tab:

Tabs can also make it easier to browse the Web. If you find a link to a website, you can open that link in a new tab. This allows you to open the site without losing your place on the original page.

  1. Right-click the link you want to open, then select Open link in new tab from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, hover the mouse over the link, then press the scroll wheel on your mouse
  2. The website will open in a new tab.
  3. Click the tab to view the website.

Managing tabs

Tabs can be moved, pulled in and out of windows, and even pinned into place for easy access.

To move tabs:

  1. Click and drag the tab you wish to move.
  2. Release the mouse when you have moved the tab to the desired position.

To pull tabs:

If you want to view two tabs at the same time, it's easy to pull a tab to its own window.

  1. Select the tab you want to pull.
  2. Click and drag the tab pull out of the window and then release. It will automatically appear as its own new window.
  3. To put a tab back into a window, click and drag the tab over the desired window. Release the mouse when the tab appears on the tab bar.

To pin tabs:

If there are some pages you use every time you open your browser, like your email or calendar, you might consider pinning the tab. Pinned tabs will open automatically whenever you start Chrome, making your favorite pages easy to access.

  1. Right-click the desired tab, then select Pin tab from the drop-down menu.
  2. The pinned tab will appear as a smaller tab in the top-left corner of the browser.
  3. To unpin a tab, right-click it and then select Unpin tab from the drop-down menu.

The New Tab page

Whenever you open a new tab, the New Tab page will appear. This page contains a Google search bar and shortcuts to your most visited sites. Taking a little time to become familiar with the New Tab page will make browsing the Web that much faster.

Deleting your most visited pages

Sometimes, you may want to remove certain websites from the New Tab Page.

  1. Hover the mouse over the website you would like to get rid of.
  2. An X will appear in the top-right corner of the that box. Click on it and the website will disappear.
  3. When you delete one, the other websites will shift up and another recently visited website will appear at the end of the list.

Browsing history

Like all browsers, Chrome saves details and cookies from every website you visit, which you can view from the History tab. Chrome uses some of this information to decrease load times for sites you visit regularly. Chrome also allows you to search your history to find a previously viewed page and to delete your history for the sake of privacy.

To view your browsing history:

  1. Click the Chrome menu in the top-right corner of the browser, then hover the house over History, and select History. Alternatively, press Ctrl+H on your keyboard.
  2. The History tab will appear with your full browsing history. The history includes every site you've viewed in the last few weeks. The list is sorted by date, so the most recent history appears at the top of the page.
  3. If you can't remember the exact address or name of a webpage you've visited before, you can try searching the history. Enter a search term or website into the search bar, then click Search history.
  4. A list of results will appear. If you wish to return to a website, simply click the link.

Review our lesson on Chrome Privacy and Security to learn how to delete your browser history.

Downloading files

Chrome can display many different types of documents, media, and other files, such as PDF and MP3 files. But there may be times when you'll want to access a file outside of the browser. To do this, you'll need to download the file directly to your computer.

For example, suppose you need to complete and print a form you find online. You could download it to your computer, then open it with the appropriate program (such as Microsoft Word) to edit it.

To download a file using Save link as:

If you click a link to a file, it may download automatically. However, depending on the file type, it may just open within the browser. To prevent a file from opening in Chrome, you can use Save link as to download it to your computer.

  1. Right-click the file you wish to download, then select Save link as.
  2. A dialog box will appear. Select the location where you wish to save the file, enter a file name, and click Save. Your Downloads folder will be selected by default.
  3. The file will begin downloading, and the download progress will appear in the lower-left corner of the browser. When the download is complete, simply click the file to open it.

For various reasons, many websites do not allow you to download content. For example, YouTube does not offer a way to download its videos.

To access your downloads:

The Downloads tab allows you to view and manage all of your downloads.

  1. Click the Chrome menu in the top-right corner of the browser, then select Downloads.
  2. The Downloads tab will appear. From here, you can open previously downloaded files, search for downloads, or clear the list of downloads if desired.