Getting to Know Your Chromebook: The Shelf

Understanding the Chrome OS shelf is essential to using your Chromebook productively and efficiently. The shelf is the bar at the bottom of the screen and has three main parts:

1. Launcher

The Launcher is the circle button on the left side of the shelf. Clicking on the circle will bring up a popup window. The window has a search bar, which allows you to search for apps, websites, or settings on your Chromebook. Simply start typing to search.

Underneath the search bar are five app suggestions. These allow you to quickly access your most used apps and will automatically change to reflect your most-used apps.

To view the app library, which displays all of your apps, either click on the arrow above the search bar or swipe up next to the search bar.

2. Apps

The shelf displays all open apps, as well as any apps that have been pinned to the shelf.

Pinned apps stay on the shelf at all times, whether or not they’re open. To pin an app to the shelf, right-click it and choose the option to pin it. If an app is opened that hasn’t been pinned, it goes on the right of the pinned apps, separated by a vertical line.

When open, apps display a small white line beneath their icon. When an app’s window is active, its white line will be longer and brighter.

3. Control Center

The Control Center allows you to quickly configure basic settings such as Wi-Fi and sound. Located on the right of the shelf, it shows the notification count, Wi-Fi and battery status, and time. Clicking on the Control Center will display the full panel.

In the top left are your profile icon, which is likely just your initial, and the Sign out button. Pressing this button will log you out of the Chromebook and require a username and password to use the Chromebook again. Next is the Power button. Pressing this will fully shut down your Chromebook. To the right of the Power button is the Lock button. This will lock your Chromebook, requiring your password before it can be used again. The fourth button on the top is the Settings button, which will simply launch the Settings app. In the top right is an arrow button that will expand the Control Center, displaying more controls and information.

In the middle of the Control Center are four buttons for toggling basic settings: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Notifications and Night Light, which lowers the blue light emitted by the screen to reduce strain on your eyes. If the Control Center is expanded, each of these four buttons will have explanatory text below them, which can be clicked to view more advanced configuration. When the Control Center is expanded, there will also be two sliders controlling Volume and Brightness.

4. Further Control

To configure the shelf, right-click or tap and hold on an empty area of the shelf. This will bring up a context menu with three options: Autohide shelf, Shelf position, and Set wallpaper. Autohide shelf will hide the shelf when not in use. Shelf position allows you to change which side of the screen the shelf is on. Lastly, set wallpaper allows you to change your desktop background.

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