[Google Chrome Tutorial] Quick Access to Chrome Settings by URL

In this Google Chrome Tutorial column, we from time to time refer to different setting pages in Chrome.  Usually I ask you to click the wrench icon, then select something, then something, then something…  Do we have a simpler way to access to these setting pages?

Yes, Chrome is all about web pages.  Not only Chrome web apps are web pages, all Chrome functional pages are also web pages.  If you know the URL of a setting page, just enter it in Chrome’s address bar (omni bar), you can access that page directly.


Google Chrome Tutorial – Shortcuts to Chrome Settings

Here are the URLs of the most frequently used setting pages in Chrome:

Settings/Options/Preferences – chrome://settings

Settings > Basic – chrome://settings/browser

Manage Search Engines – chrome://settings/searchEngines

Settings > Personal Stuff – chrome://settings/personal

Setup Google Sync – chrome://settings/syncSetup

Manage Saved Passwords – chrome://settings/passwords

Autofill Options – chrome://settings/autofill

Settings > Under the Hood – chrome://settings/advanced

Privacy Content Settings – chrome://settings/content

Clear Browser Data – chrome://settings/clearBrowserData

Settings > Extensions – chrome://settings/extensionSettings


History – chrome://history

Downloads – chrome://downloads

Bookmarks Manager – chrome://bookmarks

Import Bookmarks and Settings – chrome://settings/importData

Print – chrome://print

Help – https://support.google.com/chrome/?hl=en (this is the Help page on Google’s site)


How to use these URLs?  The best way is to save them to the Bookmarks Bar.  If the “show bookmarks bar” option enabled, you can easily get access to the most frequently used setting pages without the hassle of going through the menu.  Simply drag the URL to the bookmark bar to bookmark it.  Or you can manually add the URLs in Bookmarks Manager.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Add Chrome Setting Pages to Bookmark

[Google Chrome Tutorial] How to Import Browser Data in Chrome

I’m a Chrome advocate who always recommends Google Chrome to friends.  While most of them are attracted by the clean and easy-to-use user interface, fast speed and vast variety of Chrome extensions, some of them are still reluctant to try.  The major reason is that they don’t want the hassle to migrate their existing data such as bookmarks from one browser to a new one.

In this article, I’ll show you how easy it is to switch from other browsers to Chrome.  It is very easy that takes a few minutes only.


Exporting Bookmarks and Settings from Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox

In Chrome browser, click the wrench icon and choose “Bookmarks”.  Select “Import Bookmarks and Settings”.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Import Bookmarks and Settings

You will be brought to a pop up window asking you from which browser in your computer you want to import and what to import.  Depending on the browser you used, you can import browsing history, bookmarks, saved passwords and search engines.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Import Data from Browser

Import Bookmarks from Other Browsers

What if I do not use any of the above browsers?  Well, you can still export bookmarks and import to Chrome.

Usually browsers have a function to export bookmarks.  Run this to export your bookmarks into a HTML file.  Then, go to Chrome, click the wrench icon, choose “Bookmarks” and then “Bookmark Manager”.

In Bookmark Manager, click “Organize” and choose “Import Bookmarks from HTML file…”.  Open your saved HTML file.  Done!

Google Chrome Tutorial - Import Bookmarks from HTML File

Similarly, you can export your bookmarks in Google Chrome to a HTML file and import in other browsers.  How about transferring bookmarks among Chrome browsers on different computers?  Well, you don’t have to.  Simply choose to sync your data and every Chrome you use would have exactly the same bookmarks and settings!  You can find this option by clicking the wrench icon > “Preference” (or Settings, Options… depending on the operation system your computer runs) > “Personal Stuff” > “Set Up Sync”.

Mastering Google Chrome Search Function

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Probably most of you must have used the Google Chrome search function before.  The quickest way to perform a search in Chrome is by typing the word in the address bar and hit enter.  Google Chrome is famous for combining search with address bar (to become the Omnibox).

But to perform a search in Google Chrome is more than just using the Omnibox.  In this post I’ll walk you through some of the most useful search-related functions and settings in Google Chrome.


Google Chrome Search with Omnibox

The use of address bar as search bar is smart.  Nowadays many internet users open a browser to search for something: dog training tips, pop star news, bargain deals, recipes…  Why bother to go to Google.com first?  While many other browsers place a search box to the right of the address bar, Google takes a further step by dissolving it into the address bar.

To search in Google Chrome, simply enter the words in the address bar and press <Enter>.  By default Chrome remembers your browsing history, whenever you type in something it tries to match it with sites you previously visited before.  So you may not even need to perform a search before you found what you want.

Google Chrome Search - Omnibox

Source: Google Chrome Introductory Comic http://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/small_18.html

If you are more used to control your computer with keyboard shortcuts, you can press <Alt> + <D> to move the focus to the address bar in Windows (<⌘> + <L> in Mac and <Ctrl> + <L> in Linux).


Search Using Texts on Page

Sometimes when you read a web page you find something interesting that you want to know more about.  Instead of copying the words and paste to the address bar, you can select the words and right click.  Choose “Search Google for ‘your search term‘”.  If you have other default search engines configured in Chrome, you will see its name instead of Google.

Google Chrome Search - Search Texts

For Windows users only, you can also select words on a web page and drag to the address bar.  Chrome will load your default search engine.


Temporarily Switching Search Engine

What do you do if you (for some reason) want to search NOT using Google but other search engines?  There is no need to go to the search engine’s web site.  You can do it right from the address bar by typing  in the name of the search engine, e.g. yahoo, then press <Tab>.  You can then enter the search term and press <Enter>.

Google Chrome Search - Alternative Search Engines


Changing Default Search Engine

Or if you are determined to make a change, please click the wrench icon on the top right corner, select Options in Windows (Preferences on Mac and Linux and Settings on Chromebook) and choose “Basics”.  Look for the following section.

Google Chrome Search - Default Search Engine

Click “Manage search engines”.  This is where you can choose the default search engines by clicking “make default”.

Google Chrome Search - Search Engines


Topic/Site Specific Search Engines

Apart from the big heads like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, you can actually ask Chrome to limit your search to more specific search engines and web sites.  For example, the library of a high school may want their computers to search within the library web catalog by default.  As long as the web site has a search function, most likely you can make it as the default search engine.

Google Chrome Search - Specific Search Engines

On the same “Manage search engines” tab, you can find a list of “Other search engines” underneath the big heads.  Chrome puts the web sites you have visited before which have search function in here.  Just click “make default” next to the web site.  For example, if you want Chrome to get you recipes only, make allrecipes.com as the default option.

You can also add a new search engine if it is not already on the list.  Scroll all the way to the bottom, you can find a row where you can enter the details of your preferred search engine.  You’ll need to find out the web address of this site.  You can do it by performing a search on that web site, copy down the result page’s URL, then replace the search term with “%s”.  For example, the address for CNN.com is “http://www.cnn.com/search/?query=%s”.

Google Chrome search - Add a new Search Engine

[Google Chrome Tutorial] How To Enhance Web Site Readability in Chrome

Every Friday I’ll publish a Google Chrome tutorial article.   Want to learn more and master this state of the art browser?  SUBSCRIBE to RSS feed or email updates to get more!

Modern web sites are getting more complex and readability decreases accordingly.  Many flash animations, lots of ad blocks, eye-catching graphics… there are just too many things that distracts you from reading the content of a web site.

In this Google Chrome Tutorial, we shall see how we could improve the readability of web sites in Chrome.  We shall use Chrome settings, Chrome extensions, bookmarklets and web apps to make web pages easier to read.


Chrome Settings

The easiest way to “purify” web pages is to block everything that may get you distracted.  Most of these things re multimedia contents.  You can click the wrench icon on the top right corner, choose “Settings” / “Preferences” (depending on your operation system), then choose “Under the Hood” and click the “Content Settings” button.  Here you can choose to block all images.  Besides, if you click “Disable individual plug-ins…” under “Plug-ins”, you can see a page where you can disable individual plug-ins including Flash, Java, RealPlayer, etc.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Chrome Settings

To make web pages easier to read, you can adjust the zooming and font size by clicking the wrench icon on the top right corner, choosing “Settings” / “Preferences”, then choosing “Under the Hood”.  There you can set the default page zooming and font size.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Web Content Settings

This is a universal setting that affects all web pages in all tabs.  If you only need to fine-tune a specific tab, click the wrench icon and click the + and – sign beside “Zoom”.


Chrome Extensions

There are a few Chrome extensions you can use to purify web pages.  AdBlock and Adblock Plus are two popular extensions that block ads on web pages.  For the purpose of blocking ads these two extensions are similar, you can choose whichever you like.

Google Chrome Tutorial - AdBlock

Zoomy is a Chrome extension that maximize the use of the window size.  Sometimes web designers limit the column size of web pages, the space on two sides are unused.  This Chrome extension automatically enlarge the column width and thus the size of the content.  You can see its effect in this video:


iReader is a great Chrome extension that purifies web pages.  It automatically removes unnecessary stuff on web pages.  What you get is the main text and associated images only.  This is the purified version of an article on the Guardian newspaper web site:

Google Chrome Tutorial - iReader

There is another Chrome extension, Readability that works in the same way but it has richer features.  You can select the font size, reading pane color and width.  Links could be converted to footnotes to further eliminate distractions.  A killer feature of Readability is that it can send the simplified web page to your kindle for reading.  Isn’t it great?

Google Chrome Tutorial - Readability


Notforest is a bookmarklet.  It is a bookmark stored in the bookmarks of your Chrome.  Installation is pretty easy, just drag it to the bookmarks bar in Chrome.  Whenever you want to simplify a web page, just click the bookmark and the page would be turned into a reading pane with pure text.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Notforest


Web App

My last recommendation is rdd.me, a convenient web app that not only simplifies web pages but also shorten the URLs for easy sharing.  It is a service that Readability provides, so their rendering engine are probably the same.

Google Chrome Tutorial - rdd.me

The best thing is you get a shortened URL.  You can copy it and send to your friends.  What they’ll see when opening the URL is the simplified page.  Mobile users will see a further simplified page specially for mobile browsers.

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