Chromebooks are favored by many, including schools, students, online workers, and people looking for a light and quick laptop. Most Chromebooks are quick to start up, aren’t susceptible to viruses, have long battery lives, are very lightweight, and don’t freeze often.
If you’ve recently switched from a Windows or Mac to a Chromebook, you might find it a bit confusing. Chrome OS (the operating system for Chromebooks) will be quite different from what you’re used to.
So is the keyboard, which has different buttons than what you would be used to on a Mac or Windows. One of the buttons that gets many new Chromebook users confused is the Show Windows button.
Today, I’ll explain what the Show Windows button is, what it does, and some tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of this button.
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The Show Windows button is located at the top of your Chromebook keyboard, towards the middle. On many Chromebooks, it is the sixth button from the left.
It looks like a short rectangle with two vertical lines on the right side of the rectangle.
It’s important not to confuse the Show Windows button with the Fullscreen button, which is usually located to the left of the Show Windows button.
The Full Screen button is a square with two arrows inside of it. Because the two buttons are right next to each other, it’s easy to confuse the two.
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The Show Windows button has two main purposes.
The first one is its primary purpose – to give you a bird’s eye view of all the open windows on your Chromebook. Nowadays, Chromebooks support a lot more than just the Chrome browser – modern Chromebooks support Android apps from the Google Play Store.
Thus, you can have many applications open at once. When you click on the Show Windows button, it will zoom out and show all open applications, and you can easily switch from one app to another.
The second primary purpose of the Show Windows button is to take screenshots. I will explain how to take both full and partial screenshots using the Show Windows button below.
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While the Show Windows button is fairly intuitive – just click on it to see all open windows – there are more advanced tricks you can do using this button.
Chrome OS allows you to create virtual desks, with each desk having its own set of open windows and applications. Creating multiple desks allows you to organize your workflow.
For example, if you use a single Chromebook for both work and study, you can create one desk for your remote job and another desk for your university studies. Alternatively, if you are working on two separate projects for different clients, you can create separate desks for each one.
To create a new desk, simply click on the plus button at the top of the screen, next to “Desk 1.”
You will then be able to give your new desk a custom name, or you can simply leave it as the default – “Desk 2.”
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After that, you can continue to create additional desks by clicking the plus button at the top of the page.
The desks you create will show up at the top of your screen. As you create more desks, having many desks can become confusing.
To clear up the clutter, you can save a desk for later. Simply click on “Save desk for later,” as in the screenshot above.
Desks you have saved for later will all go to a “Saved for Later” section at the top of the screen, as shown in the screenshot below. Click on “Saved for Later” to see all desks you have saved for later, including the applications on each desk.
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You can reopen a desk you have saved for later by clicking on it.
Right-click on an open window in a desk (or click on it using the touchpad while pressing down on the ALT button) to drag the window from one desk to another. Simply drop it to another desk at the top of the screen.
You can also drag it to the side of the screen (on your current desk) to enter split-screen mode. Chromebooks allow you to have two windows open, side by side, on a single screen with the split-screen mode.
There is an easy shortcut to using the Show Windows button on your Chromebook.
You can place three fingers on your touchpad and swipe up, using all three fingers to swipe up in a single motion, without pressing any other keys. This will automatically enter the Show Windows mode.
If you find yourself constantly confusing the Show Windows with the Full Screen button, consider using this shortcut.
The second primary usage of the Show Windows button is to take screenshots, both partial and full screenshots. Here’s how to do that.
To take a full screenshot, click on the CTRL button and the Show Windows button at the same time. This will take a full screenshot of your entire screen, including the application bar at the bottom of your screen.
The screenshot will appear as a slide-in in the bottom-right corner of your screen and stay there for a few moments. You can click on “Edit” or “Delete” while it’s still there to edit or delete the screenshot.
After a few moments, it will disappear, but you can still find it in your file manager or by opening the notifications in the bottom-right corner of your screen.
Note that screenshots are copied to your clipboard by default. You can click on CTRL + V to paste the full screenshot you just took into a Google Doc.
If you want to take a partial screenshot or a screenshot of just a single window, click on CTRL + SHIFT + Show Windows.
The first option is the partial screenshot, which allows you to select a specific area of the screen to capture. This is the default option after clicking CTRL + SHIFT + Show Windows.
However, you will also see a small pop-up bar with different screenshot options. While the partial screenshot is the option highlighted in blue by default, the one on the right side of it is the window screenshot.
Click on it, and then hover your cursor over the window you want to capture. It could be Chrome, another app, or even the app bar at the bottom of your screen.
Then, take a screen capture of only that window.
You will also see a video icon in that small pop-up bar. Click on it and then select an area of your screen to start recording a video screen capture (make sure to click on “Record” to start the actual recording).
The Show Windows button is one of the most useful buttons on the Chromebook keyboard. It allows you to quickly view your open windows, switch from one window to another, create multiple virtual desktops, and take full, partial, and video screen captures.
Learning how to use the Show Windows button will help you boost your productivity and get more done with your new Chromebook.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.