Mobility

How to roll your own "app" for Chromebook

Do you tend to wind up with too many tabs open on your chromebook? Would you rather have some of those tabs open as their own "apps"? Jack Wallen shows you how.

chromebookhero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

Chromebook lovers tend to spend the majority of their work day (or personal computing time) stuck within a browser window. Tab after tab is added to that window, until it becomes impossible to know which tab is which. Fortunately, there's a way around this. Say, for example, you have a webmail site you visit throughout the day and would rather relegate the site to it's own window (but don't need the standard browser controls that normally appear when you open a page in a new window). Believe it or not, this is actually quite simple; and once you know how to do it, you'll be "rolling your own apps" for that chromebook to make your life a bit more efficient.

Here's what you have to do:

  1. Visit the site you want to add as an "app"
  2. Click the menu button in Chrome (three horizontal lines)
  3. Click More Tools | Add to shelf...
  4. Give the "app" a name
  5. Check to enable Open as window (Figure A)
  6. Click Add

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

Adding the TechRepublic site as its own "app" on an Acer C720 chromebook.

You can even resize the "app" windows (Figure B) or snap and pin them to the sides for side-by-side viewing. This adds a shortcut to your shelf, so you can easily open or minimize the new app window. Should you want to remove the app, simply two-finger tap and then select Unpin and the shortcut will be removed.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

TechRepublic and a webmail page running as "apps".

No, you're not really creating your own apps for Chrome OS, but being able to open web pages as their own "app" can certainly make your chromebook experience a bit more efficient and user-friendly.

What sites have you found make for perfect Chrome OS apps (in this fashion)?

Also see

About Jack Wallen

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.

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