How to Make Google Chrome faster, better, and prettier

How to Make Google Chrome Faster, Better and Prettier

Want to know how to make Google Chrome faster? Want to feel productive? Tired of all of those tabs?  Take time to learn how to use Google Chrome better.  These quick tips will have your Google Chrome browser faster like new in no time!


Table of Contents

I've organized this tutorial into four sections:

  1. Make Google Chrome Better (Including how to make email links open in Gmail!)
  2. Make Google Chrome Faster
  3. Make Google Chrome Prettier
  4. Make Google Chrome Do Cool Stuff

Reference the Google Chrome playlist for future videos added to this series.[/callout]

BEFORE YOU START: How to Download Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a super fast web browser (if you know how to keep it fast.) You can do all kinds of cool things in Google Chrome if you know how. This video shows you how to download Google Chrome and gives a brief intro.

Section 1: How to Make Google Chrome Better


1. How to Add and Organize Bookmarks in Google Chrome

Video 1 Teaches:

  • How to add bookmarks to Google Chrome.
  • How to show and customize the bookmarks bar in Google Chrome.
  • How to add folders to your bookmarks bar and move them around.

Productivity Tip: Be intentional about organizing your bookmarks bar. If you have run out of space, organize your bookmarks into folders. You can even use folders inside folders. Don't use the names of websites on your bookmark bar or make them as short as possible. Save space. Save typing. Save time.[/callout]

2. How to Get Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Gmail Updates in Google Chrome

Video 2 Teaches:

  • How to add a Google Calendar Checker into your Browser
  • How to add a Gmail checker into Google Chrome.
  • How to add a Google Drive checker that shows you updated documents in Google Drive and lets you access them quickly.
  • Recommended settings for the Gmail checker.

Productivity Tip.  Only use the extension that fits your workflow. Email notifications will kill your productivity. A calendar reminder might keep you going to a meeting on time. You don't probably don't need lots of notifications, but you might want quick access.


3. How to Zoom in and Out in Google Chrome

Video 3 Teaches:

  • How to zoom in and out in Google Chrome on a PC and a Mac with the keyboard.
  • How to zoom in and out in Google Chrome on a PC with your mouse.

Productivity Tip: Any time you can use the keyboard instead of putting your hand on the mouse, you're probably going to save time.[/callout]

4. How to Open a Link In a New Window in Google Chrome

Video 4 Teaches:

  • How to open a hyperlink in a new window in Google Chrome.

Productivity Tip: Opening a new window can save you time and keep you from losing the webpage you are on. Too many windows can slow you down. (See the tip below for handling too many windows.)[callout]

5. How to make all email links open into Gmail in Google Chrome

Video 5 Teaches:

  • How to make your email links open into Gmail. (This solves the problem of clicking a link and your computer trying to open Outlook or something else when you're using Gmail.)

After you click the link, click the little gray diamonds that will appear on the right side of your address bar. It will ask you to reset your default for opening email. And you're set![/callout]

6. How to Check Your Spelling and Grammar in Google Chrome

Video 6 Teaches:

  • How to use the Grammarly plug-in to check your spelling and grammar in Google Chrome.

Productivity Tip: Read 4 Writing Tips to Help the Writing Process if you want to dig deeper into Grammarly and learn some other tools to assist you with your writing, grammar, and spelling.[callout]

7. How to Sync Google Chrome Between Computers

Video 7 Teaches

  • How to sync your bookmarks, history, and all of your Google Chrome settings to follow you to other computers. Here's how to set up Google Chrome sync.

Security Tip: If you ever sign into Google Chrome on a computer that is NOT YOURS. Make sure you sign out when you're done. Otherwise, you may put yourself at risk. Note that Chromebooks automatically sign you into Chrome and sync your settings with other devices that have Google Chrome sync running[/callout]

8. How to Change Your Download Location (and Sync Your Downloads Between Computers)

Video 8 Teaches:

  • How to change your download location to a different location than the downloads folder.
  • Also, I include a bonus tip about syncing your downloads between computers (and how you can free up space on all your computers at the same time with this tip.)

Productivity Tip: Your downloads may have important documents in them. If you have no time, just move the items in your download folder onto an external hard drive sometimes. Or, take the time to delete what you want and put the other things into a “to file” folder. If you follow the bonus tip on this video and sync your downloads folder, you can clean out all your downloads in one pass.[callout]

9. How to Get Google Chrome to Read Web Pages to You

Video 9 Teaches:

  • How to get Google Chrome to read web pages to you.

10. How to Define Words as You Browse Using Google Chrome

Video 10 Teaches:

  • How to define a word by right clicking in your browser or double-clicking a word.

Productivity Tip: Learning vocabulary in context is key. So, it is best to see the definition when you see the word on a page. Use this tool with students who are doing research or when you're wrestling with a page full of big words.[callout]

11. How to Search Your Web History in Google Chrome

Video 11 Teaches

  • How to find a website that you found in the past but can't find right now.
  • A faster way to find something you found before without searching Google

Security Tip: This only goes back to when you last cleared your history. If you erase your history, you lose it. If you use Google Sync, you can see your history from all of your computers.[/callout]

12.How to Remember Your Passwords in Google Chrome

Video 12 Teaches:

  • A safe way to remember your passwords in Google Chrome using Last Pass.

SECURITY WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: Use Last Pass instead of Google Chrome's password remembering feature. Just make sure that you can remember your master password if you use LastPass, or you can lock yourself out of all of your accounts. I am not responsible if you set up a password you cannot remember. You need to remember ONE password for this service, but you MUST remember it, or you can lock yourself out of everything!

Section 2: How to Make Google Chrome Faster


13.How to Make Google Chrome Faster: Turn Extensions off in Chrome with Extensity

Video 13 Teaches:

  • How you can speed up Google Chrome by turning off Google Chrome extensions when you don't need them.
  • How to install and use Extensity, a free extension, to turn extensions on and off in Google Chrome without restarting Chrome. Extensity will make your life easier and your Chrome browser less cluttered.

Productivity Tip: Just keep the things running that you need currently for your work. When you have too many extensions, they can conflict with each other. It happens all the time. Learn to turn on what you want and need at that time.[/callout]

14. How to Make Google Chrome Faster:  Turn Off Plugins in Google Chrome

Video 14 Teaches:

  • How to view your plugins.
  • How to turn off some plugins.
  • How some plugins are needed in Google Chrome.

Technical Tip: You need some plugins. For example, in the video, I mention how Silverlight is necessary for viewing Netflix. Google Chrome's help center on plugins also notes that at some schools, administrators have to handle your plugins. If you're a beginner, you might want to stay away from this one. Or, if you have problems, re-enable the plugins one at a time until whatever you're doing starts to work.[callout]

15. How to Clear Your Browser History in Google Chrome

Video 15 Teaches:

  • How to clear your browser history and other items in Chrome.

Productivity Note: I only use this when I'm having problems with a site loading or speed issues. Because I do so much research, I often want to search my history (Tip #11) and you can't do that when your history is cleared. You can also just clear your cache or other items.[/callout]

16. How to Use Google's Chrome Cleanup Tool to Clean up Your Chrome Browser (Windows Only)

Video 16 Teaches:

  • How to make Google Chrome faster by downloading Google's Clean Up tool to Clean up Your Google Chrome

Technical Note: This tool is only for Windows. Chrome removes the most common culprits that will slow your browser down including Conduit, My Search Dial, and SmartBar so you may see your browser look different after you're done. Removing these programs is a good thing, these programs are doorways to even worse spyware. See the current list of what this tool removes. See Google's recommendation for a Mac or just follow tip #17.[callout]

17. How to Make Google Chrome Faster: Remove Malware from Google Chrome and your computer

Video 17 Teaches:

  • Where to download the free version Malwarebytes.
  • Why you would want to use Malwarebytes to scan your computer.
  • Why a person might want the pro version.
  • Malwarebytes (just download the version for Malware cleanup)

Technical Note: I keep a current version of this handy program on my thumb drive since Edtech Expert Luke Allen recommended it to me years ago. His tech tools for teachers is a great list.[/callout]

18. How to Search Text on a Page in Chrome

Video 18 Teaches:

  • How to highlight text on a page and create a new search from that text with one click.

Productivity Tip: Combine this with Tip #19 for a super fast search experience. All of our student researchers should know these.[callout]

19. How to Open Multiple Links at Once in Google Chrome

Video 19 Teaches:

  • How to click and drag a box that will open multiple links in new windows.

Productivity Tip for Teachers and Testers: If you have to review many web pages for your students or just to test them, this tip will save you time. Try it and see how much faster you work. Close each window as you review each web page and when they are closed, you're done. I recommend opening no more than 8-10 at a time. You can slow your work down. (Or open all you want and use Tip #20 to manage those tabs!)[/callout]

20. How to Manage Your Tabs Better in Google Chrome

Video 20 Teaches:

  • How too many tabs can slow things down.
  • How to suspend tabs but still find them later.

Productivity Tip: Remember to use Extensity (Tip #13) to turn extensions on and off as you need them. When I'm researching, I use tips 18-20 together. [callout]

21. How to Search with your Voice in Google Chrome

Video 21 Teaches:

  • How to turn on voice searching in Google Chrome.
  • How to search using your voice in Google Chrome.

Privacy Tip: Google may be saving your voice searches too. See tip #30 for how to know what they are collecting and to clear it if you wish.[/callout]

22. How to Voice Type in Google Documents

Video 22 Teaches:

  • How to activate Voice Typing in Google Docs
  • How to type with your voice in Google Docs

Productivity Tip: I give more detail about Voice typing and other productivity tips in 4 Writing Tips to Help the Writing Process [callout]

23. How to Put a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Video 23 Teaches:

  • How to put a website shortcut on your desktop (works on PC and Mac)
  • What to do if a website shortcut doesn't look like the Chrome icon. [/callout]

24. How to Take Pictures of Your Screen in Google Chrome

Video 24 Teaches:

  • How to take a picture of your screen in Google Chrome.
  • How to put the picture in your Google Drive
  • How to download the picture


Productivity Note: Snagit will also do a video of your web browser and screen recordings with your voice. The only limitation is that it can only do what is showing in your web browser screen. If you want to take screenshots and videos of other programs, use a tool like screencastomatic.[callout]

25. How to Get Rid of Ads in Google Chrome

Video 25 Teaches:

  • The most popular way to block ads in Google Chrome
  • How you can remove other clutter and read just the text of the web page.
  • Adblock
  • Clearly (If you use Evernote, Clearly has extra features that work with it.)

Productivity Note: Sometimes ad blocker tools can slow your computer down.[/callout]

Section 3: How to Make Google Chrome Prettier

 26. How to Make to Use Themes in Google Chrome

Video 26 Teaches:

  • How to install a theme in Google Chrome
  • Why you might want to uninstall themes in Google Chrome

Productivity Note: Some themes can slow your Google Chrome down and make it slower. Be careful about themes that haven't been installed by a lot of people. Just about anyone can upload a theme. If it slows your browser down, you can always go back to themes in settings and go back to the default. [callout]

27. How to Make Google Chrome Easier to Read

Video 27 Teaches:

  • Some options to make Google Chrome easier to read.
  • Accessibility options for those with disabilities.
  • How to change the font size and make it larger in Google Chrome[/callout]

Section 4: How to Make Google Chrome Do Cool Stuff

 28. How to Have a More Productive New Window When You Open One

Video 28 Teaches:

  • How to have a productive new window open in Chrome that will keep you focused on your goals and on task.

Productivity Note: Be Limitless will also track how you spend your time. You do have to “train” it a little. It lets you set your goals. One note: It does not sync across web browsers, which I love. You can set goals for home and work that are different! [callout]

29. 2 Ways to Save Money with Extensions in Google Chrome

Video 29 Teaches:

  • How to search the price trends of Amazon products (book prices vary over time)
  • How to compare Amazon prices to other websites.


Money Saving Note: There are other apps and tools, but check the ratings. Some of them are spyware. Only turn these on when shopping and turn them off when you are not. [/callout]

30. How to Clear Your Google History in Chrome

Video 30 Teaches:

  • How to see what Google tracks about you (including search, voice, and location)
  • How to clear this data

[callout]Privacy Note: Some services may not function without this data. You do want to know what they have on you. You should clear it if you want to. (I do.) [/callout]

Google Chrome Playlist

I've compiled all of these tutorials into a Playlist that will play without stopping. You can embed this on a website or link to it. I've found that so many people don't know how to use their web browser. Learning to use Google Chrome will make you more productive, safer, and save your time!

[callout]OK, friends. What did I miss? Please share your favorite extensions with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter. Got any more tips about how to make Google Chrome faster — please share! I hope this is helpful. ;-) Vicki [/callout]

Get some of my planner pages right now.

I've got a new productivity series coming out. If you want to see if creating your own planner pages is right for you, take a free peek at my templates now.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Luke Allen October 17, 2015 - 12:04 am

Thanks again the the kind mention.

Vicki Davis October 18, 2015 - 8:58 pm

You have helped me so much through the years, Luke. I appreciate your encouragement and information for IT directors/teachers like me. Glad I have such smart friends.

Marian Taudin-Chabot December 30, 2015 - 4:31 pm

Wow – this is the most helpful blog I have seen on making google as user-friendly as possible. I have spent a couple of hours playing with these features myself, and can see a number of features that I want to introduce to my students in the new year. Thank you!

Vicki Davis January 1, 2016 - 11:08 am

Awesome, Marian! I’m glad it is helpful. Feel free to use the videos in any way that helps you!


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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere