Bet you didn’t know you could do this with Chrome apps

Chrome has the ability to run apps, some of which are simple and are little more than a shortcut to a website, but others are more like whole applications. You can do some interesting things, such as...

Run Chrome Apps

1. Show Chrome apps

To see what Chrome apps are installed, enter the URL chrome://apps and they are displayed in the browser window.

 Run Chrome Apps

If the bookmarks bar is displayed, there is an Apps button at the left side. Clicking it is easier that typing the URL. If you don’t see the Apps button, right click an empty part of the bookmarks bar and select Show apps shortcut.

2. Rearrange apps

The order in which the apps appear on the screen is not fixed and the icons are easily rearranged. Just click and drag an app icon and the others will scoot around to make space for it. The left side and the top left corner in particular is the best place to put your most used app. We read from left to right, top to bottom and top left is where your eye is drawn.

3. Configure app launching

Right click an app to display a menu. The menu options it contains depends on the app you click. Right click Google Calendar and there are four window options: Open as regular tab, Open as pinned tab, Open as window, and Open as full screen.

 Use Chrome apps

Select Open as pinned tab and the tab at the top of the browser window is tiny and takes up minimal space, leaving more for the regular tabs. The tab is sticky too and if you close Chrome and reopen it, it is still there. This is useful for tabs you want to keep open permanently, such as Calendar.

Open as window is interesting and you get a plain window with no address box, no bookmarks bar, no status bar and so on. It looks like a desktop program running in a window.

Whichever window option you choose, it becomes the default and is used every time the app is started.

4. Create shortcuts

If you find it a nuisance having to show the bookmarks bar and click the Apps button to display the apps, right click and app and there is an option to create shortcuts. These place an icon on the desktop or in the taskbar, making it as easy to start Chrome apps as any other application.

Combine this with the open to open in a window and you have what looks and acts like a regular application installed in Windows.

5. Uninstall apps

If you do not use an app and no longer need it, it is easily removed. Right click an app and select Remove from Chrome.

6. Check the security

Apps may or may not be able to access information on your PC and perform various tasks. To find out what an app is permitted to do, right click it and select App info. Read the Permissions section.

7. Access settings and options

Some apps have settings, such as Calendar, Drive, Gmail, and Picasa. Right click the icon and select Options to view them. Right click Gmail for example, and select Options to be taken to Gmail’s settings.

8. Get more apps

Apps are installed from the Chrome Web Store and there are lots of them to choose from.

 Chrome apps in the Web Store

Click the big Web Store icon on the Apps screen or click the little Web Store icon in the bottom right corner of the browser. Then  select the Chrome Apps option in the panel on the left. This filters the Web Store contents and shows only apps.