Google's Chrome browser is full of shortcuts, hidden functions, and tweaks that can save you time and improve your workflow. All you have to do is carve out a few minutes and learn how to take advantage of 'em.
So read on -- and get ready to transform the way you use your browser.
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Chrome tip No. 1
Wish there were a way to keep videos and other Flash content from automatically playing when you open a page? There is: Type
chrome://settings/content into Chrome's Omnibox (aka its address bar), scroll down to the section labeled "Plug-ins," and select "Click to play." Now, any piece of multimedia content will appear as a grayed-out box until you click to activate it.
Be aware that this may cause issues with certain websites; you'll probably want to click the "Manage exceptions" button and whitelist sites that rely heavily on plug-ins to operate -- YouTube, Vimeo, and Pandora, for instance -- in order to avoid any funky behavior.
Chrome tip No. 2
You probably know you can drag tabs in and out of windows, but there's also a lesser-known shortcut in the tab management family: Middle-clicking a tab's title box (at the top of the browser window) will cause the tab to close.
Chrome tip No. 3
Middle-clicking has another hidden use throughout Chrome: It will cause a link to open in a new tab in the background, so you can continue working in your current tab without interruption. It'll work with a link on a Web page as well as with an item in the drop-down list that appears when you type into the Omnibox.
Chrome tip No. 4
If you don't like to middle-click, don't worry: Holding down the Ctrl (or Cmd) key while left-clicking will accomplish the same feat described in tip No. 3. Holding down Shift while left-clicking, meanwhile, will open the link in a new background window instead of a tab.
Chrome tip No. 5
Another useful Omnibox key combo: Try pressing Alt-Enter after you type a search term or URL into the box. That'll cause your results to open in a new tab instead of in your current tab.
Chrome tip No. 6
Not a fan of Chrome's revamped New Tab page? You're not alone. Google recently phased out a workaround that let you switch back to the old New Tab style, but a third-party extension called New Tab Redirect can help fill the void. Once you've installed the extension, head into its settings and click the option to use the Apps page as your New Tab page. It's not identical to the original New Tab setup, but it's darn close.