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How To Use Google Chrome

At Home Computer Course beginners guide to using and setting up Google Chrome.

Google Chrome is easily the most popular web browser currently being used on the Internet. It’s estimated that around 70% of all web surfing is done using Chrome. Despite concerns over privacy, Chrome remains the people’s favourite browser.

Google Chrome.

In this guide to using Google Chrome, we’ll look at some of its features and how to change some of its settings to better suit you.

We’ll set up the Start Page, Bookmarks and the Home Page.


Google Chrome Start Page.

When you start Google Chrome (or any web browser) the first web page that you see is called the Start Page.

The default Start Page in Chrome is the Google web page (well what else would it be).

If on your computer, Chrome opens on a different web page, or you’d like it to open to a different page, you can change the setting that controls it.

Google website home page.

How to Set the Start Page in Chrome.

To set your Start Page in Chrome you’ll need the web address of the page you want to use.

If you know the address and it’s easy to type, then you can simply type it into the relevant box.

Sometimes though, web addresses can be long and complex, difficult to remember and type correctly. If that’s the case, I’ll show you how to get around the problem a little lower down the page.

Left-click once on the Settings icon (the 3 vertical dots) in the top right corner of the window.

On the menu that opens, left-click SETTINGS.

Chrome settings (3 vertical dots) indicated by arrow.

On the Settings page, scroll down until you get to the ON START-UP section.

The default action is to “Open the New Tab page”.

Change that by selecting “Open a specific page or set of pages”.

On Start up in Chrome settings

Then click “Add a new page”.

Add a new Start up page in Google Chrome.

Type in the web address (site URL) into the box provided.

You usually don’t need to type the WWW. part. Chrome will automatically add that in for you.

When you’re done, click the ADD button.

Google.co.uk entered into site URL box.

Whatever address you added is now set as the Google Chrome Start Page.

From this point on, whenever you start Chrome, this will be the first web page you’ll see.

Google set as Start page in Chrome.


Google Chrome Tabs.

At the very top left of the window is the first Tab.

Tabs allow you to have more than one webpage open at a time.

First tab indicated by an arrow.

You can open a new Tab by left-clicking on the plus (+) sign.

And you can close a tab by clicking the cross (X).

You can also open a new tab by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL + T and close the current tab with CTRL + W.

Close tab button and Open New Tab button indicated in Google Chrome.

When you’ve got several Tabs open, closing any one of them won’t close Chrome itself. But if you close the last (or only) Tab, then Chrome will close.

With multiple Tabs open, you can quickly jump between web pages by clicking on the relevant Tab.

If you haven’t used Tabs before, then try it out. Tabs make searching for and comparing websites just so much easier.

Back, Forward and Reload Buttons.

In the top left of the screen, just below the first tab, you’ll find the Back, Forward and Reload buttons.

  • Back Button – takes you back to the previous page.
  • Forward Button – takes you forward again after you’ve used the Back button.
  • Reload Button – Reloads the current web page. This is useful to either update the webpage or if the page hasn’t loaded properly.
Back, Forward & Reload buttons in Chrome browser.

There are keyboard shortcuts as well.

  • Back – Alt + left arrow key
  • Forward – Alt + right arrow key
  • Reload – CTRL (Control) + R
Keyboard with the CTRL, Alt & Arrow keys marked.

Home Page Button.

The Home Page button (or just the Home button) is the house icon beside the Reload button. Clicking on the Home button will take you to your Home page.

Like the Start page, your Home page can be virtually any web page. It can be the same page as the Start page or a different one.

Generally, I’d say have both the Home and Start pages set to Google, because you will want these pages to load up quickly so that you can begin new searches.

As you’re looking at your browser, you might not be seeing a Home button.

The default setting is to not show it. But you can change that in Chrome’s settings.

There is also a keyboard shortcut for the Home page. Alt and the Home key.

Home button marked in Chrome.

How to Show/Set a Home Page in Chrome.

To make Chrome show the Home button and to set the webpage to which it points, we’ll need to go into Chromes’ settings again.

Left-click once on the Settings icon (the 3 vertical dots) in the top right corner of the window.

On the menu that opens, left-click SETTINGS.

Accessing the settings in Google Chrome

On the Settings page, scroll down a little until you reach the APPEARANCE section.

Turn on “Show Home Button” option by left-clicking once on the switch.

Enabling "Show the Home Button" in Google Chrome settings.

Type the web address of the web page you want to use as your Home Page into the “Enter custom web address” box.

Normally you won’t need to bother with the HTTP or WWW part of the address.

Eg. google.co.uk, yahoo.com etc.

Entering a URL for the Home Page.

From now on, whenever you click on the Home button, Chrome will jump to the page that you’ve set here.

Just as with the setting the Start Page, you might want to use a web page that has a long complicated address as your Home Page.

If that’s the case, there’s a quick guide to copying and pasting web addresses lower down the page.

The Address Bar.

Next to the Home button is the Address Bar (sometimes called the Address Box, or in Chrome it’s sometimes called the Omnibox).

The Address Bar shows you the web address of the web page you’re currently viewing.

The small padlock symbol beside the address shows that the page is secure. Data passing between your computer and the webpage is encrypted.

You don’t have to do anything, it all happens automatically in the background.

Address bar marked in Google Chrome browser.

The idea behind encrypting data that passes between you and the website your visiting is to ensure that your details can’t be intercepted.

Although most modern websites are secure, there are still plenty of examples of sites that aren’t.

If the site you’re visiting isn’t secure, Google Chrome will tell you.

Wherever possible, try to avoid insecure websites and pages.

If you do happen to drop onto one, hit the Back button.

"Not Secure" notification in Chrome browser.

The Address Bar can also be used for searching the Internet.

Left-click once in the box and then type whatever it is you’re looking for.

Searching from the address bar.

You can also type a web page address directly into the Address Bar.

When you know the web address of a site, left click in the box, type in the address and then press the Enter key on your keyboard.

When you press Enter, you’ll be taken straight to the website.

The Bookmarks Button (Icon) in Chrome.

The Bookmarks Button is the star icon at the right-hand side of the Address Bar. When you’re using or visiting a web page or site regularly, it’s a good idea to Bookmark that page/site.

With the page Bookmarked, then it’s just a single left click to get you there.

To Bookmark a webpage in Google Chrome, navigate to the page in question.

Then left-click the Bookmark icon.

On the small menu that appears, left-click ADD BOOKMARK.

Adding website as a bookmark in Google Chrome.

The default folder for a Bookmark in Chrome is the Bookmarks Bar.

If Bookmarks Bar is showing in the Folder box, then click the DONE button.

Add to the Bookmarks Bar.

If Bookmarks Bar isn’t showing as the folder, then left click in the box.

A drop-down menu will open.

You should be able to see Bookmarks Bar. Left-click on it.

Your new Bookmark will appear at the end of the Bookmarks Bar.

It’s possible, or even probable, that you won’t have a Bookmarks Bar. Or at least you can’t see it.

We’ll fix that.

Bookmarks indicated on Bookmarks Bar in Chrome.

Show the Bookmarks Bar in Google Chrome.

The default setting in Google Chrome is to not show the Bookmarks Bar. That’s because Chrome is designed to work on both computers and mobile devices. With a mobile device (such as a smartphone) the screen is very small and it’s better to keep the Bookmarks Bar out of the way.

But on a computer (either a desktop or laptop) that’s not usually an issue. So turn the Bookmarks Bar on.

To show the Bookmarks Bar in Chrome, you can either use the keyboard shortcut

CTRL + Shift + B

Or left-click the SETTINGS icon (three vertical dots, top right of screen).

On the menu that appears, move your pointer onto BOOKMARKS.

Then on the second menu, left-click SHOW BOOKMARKS BAR

Showing the Bookmarks Bar in Chrome. Settings (3 dots) - Bookmarks - Show Bookmarks Bar.

Pro guides

As you use Chrome to move around the Internet, you’ll inevitably begin to build up a large number of bookmarks. Click here How To Manage Your Bookmarks In Google Chrome for the complete guide.

How to Copy & Paste a Web Page Address.

When you’re setting up your Start Page & Home Page in Google Chrome, if you’re going to use something like google.com, it’s easy to type it into the relevant box.

But you might want to use a web page that has a very long and/or complex address. Something that’s going to be difficult to remember and type in accurately.

The way to get around that problem is to simply Copy and Paste the web address into the box.

We covered Copy & Paste earlier in the At Home Computer Course, so if you missed it click How To Copy And Paste In Windows 10.

If you need to Copy & Paste a web page address, navigate to (go to) the web page first.

As an example, let’s say you wanted to use this page as your Start Page.

Select the web address by left-clicking once on the address in the Address Bar. The Address will become highlighted.

URL in address bar highlighted (selected)

To be perfectly clear here, to select the address it’s a single left click, not a double click. You have to be careful because we can often get into the habit of automatically double left-clicking.

The other thing is that you should click on the actual address itself, on the writing.

Technically you should be able to just click anywhere inside the Address Box, but sometimes that doesn’t work, sometimes doing that will only select a part of the address. So single left click directly onto the text itself. Works every time.

With the web address selected (highlighted) press CTRL and the letter C on your keyboard to copy the address to your computers’ clipboard.

Keyboard CTRL key and letter C marked.

Now that you’ve got the web address copied to your computer’s clipboard, navigate to either the Start or Home page settings in Chrome.

Click the SETTINGS icon, then click SETTINGS on the menu.

Accessing Chromes settings.

Scroll down to either the Start or Home page setting, whichever you’re trying to set.

Then instead of typing in the web address, press CTRL and the letter V on your keyboard to paste the web address you just copied into the box.

In this example, I’m pasting in the web address for the Start Page.

But it would be exactly the same if you wanted to set your Home Page.

Add a New Page box. Key board with CTRL key and letter V marked.

When faced with long, complicated web addresses, it’s all too easy for us humans to struggle with typing them out manually. But your computer really doesn’t have that problem.

If you copy an address, it will be copied perfectly.

Next Page

How To Download

Downloading is synonymous with computers & the Internet. And since your connected to the ‘net, you’ll have to know what you’re doing when it comes to downloading.

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