There are times when the standard Chromebook desktop isn't quite as efficient as I'd like. When I want to work with two apps (or web pages) simultaneously, I have to take the time to snap the windows to either side of the display and then resize them as needed. In an incredibly busy day, that takes time I don't always want to spend. Fortunately, there's a handy extension, called Dualless, that makes this process incredibly quick and painless.
What this single-purpose extension does is simple: Once installed, you can click on the the extension icon and select a window layout for your desktop. Your currently open windows will automatically snap to the selected sizes and you're ready to work. You can select either vertical or horizontal layouts and even define bookmarks to open in specific window sizes and layouts. This is a free and incredibly useful addition for anyone that tends to work on their Chromebooks with side-by-side windows.
Let me walk you through the installation and usage of Dualless, so you can enjoy efficient window snapping.
The installation of Dualless is as simple as any other Chrome extension. Here are the steps for successful installation:
- Open up Chrome on your Chromebook
- Head over to the Dualless extension page
- Click ADD TO CHROME
- When prompted, click Add extension
- Allow the extension installation to complete
That's it. There's no sign in necessary or the need to create any sort of account. Once the extension is installed, you'll see a new icon in your toolbar (Figure A) ready for action.
When you click the Dualless icon, you will notice a number of layouts to choose from. Click on either the Horizontal or Vertical tab to select from either the pre-configured horizontal or vertical layouts. As soon as you click on one of the layouts, your open windows will snap to match. This removes you needing to snap the windows and manually resize them to fit your needs.
It's that simple.
The developer of the extension took the concept even farther by allowing the defining of bookmarks in different layouts. You can create bookmarks for both windows in a layout, or just one...your choice. How do you do this? Follow these steps:
- Open Chrome
- Go to the site you want to bookmark
- Click on the Dualless icon
- Two-finger tap (your trackpad) on the layout window you want for the bookmark
- In the resulting window, click on the + button
- Edit the information to suit your needs (Figure B)
- Click Back
One thing I did notice was changing the title for a bookmark is a bit tricky. When you go to edit the title, you can only type one character at a time, before you have to click back on the title text area and then type the next character in the title. This makes for a frustrating experience (especially if you're dealing with a long title). This particular issue might be limited to the Dev Channel release I was using on my Chromebook Pixel, so your mileage may vary.
When you have your bookmarks saved, you'll notice they are color coded, according to the color you chose (Figure C).
One thing of note about bookmarking system is that, when you click one of the bookmarks, it only opens that particular page to the placement of the configured size. Even though the bookmarks are paired, you cannot open the pair with a single click. This may seem like a caveat, but it actually makes the bookmarking system a bit more flexible. Create your bookmarks with an eye to what size and placement each needs to properly function and then you can open whatever bookmarks you need. In other words, although it appears bookmarks come in pairs, they work individually.
Not perfect, but close
The Dualless extension isn't perfect, but it does go a long way to make working with multiple open Chrome windows much easier on a Chromebook. Dualless won't give you dual monitor functionality, but for those that do a lot of work with side by side windows on a Chromebook, this extension will make your day to day a bit more efficient. And that, my friends, is certainly worth the price of admission (especially considering that the extension is free).
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.