Some weeks, Chrome OS will get so many new options, it seems like we’re virtually drowning in prospects. And man alive, is that ever a pleasant sensation (even with the metaphorical lack of oxygen).One a part of the Chrome OS expertise that hasn’t modified a lot lately, although, is the desktop surroundings — y’know, the Chromebook’s exceptionally humble house display. Sure, the taskbar space (a.okay.a. the Chrome OS shelf) has discovered a couple of new tips over time, however the desktop itself has remained vexingly clean and free from superior capabilities ever since its inception.That’s a stark distinction to Android, the place the house display is an all-purpose panel for each app shortcuts and interactive widgets. Widgets specifically have the potential to make a lot necessary data available, they usually’d be each bit as useful within the much more productivity-oriented Chrome OS setup.But regardless of all my wishing and summoning of magic virtual-genie spirits, Google has but to grant us the power to position widgets on a Chromebook’s desktop. (It’s astonishing, I do know. I’m beginning to surprise if my sorcery powers aren’t as potent as I’ve been led to consider.) You can set up Android apps on a Chromebook, after all, however widgets? Nope. Fuhgeddaboutit. Not gonna occur, Horatio.Or so you’ll suppose. Google could not formally help Android widgets on Chrome OS as of now, however with a little bit artistic tinkering, you possibly can construct your self a customized panel crammed with any widgets you need after which make ’em all out there from anyplace in your Chromebook system. It’s a customized Chrome OS productiveness dashboard, primarily, and it will take you all of 4 minutes to arrange.Here, look — here is a Chrome OS widget panel I plopped collectively in a matter of moments simply now, with widgets displaying my Gmail inbox, a Google Calendar month-to-month view, a Todoist process checklist, and a Google Keep notes assortment:JR Once you get this factor goin’, my goodness, you are gonna be zippin’ round and takin’ care of enterprise like, effectively, no person’s enterprise. So crack these phalanges, seize your self a fistful of crackers, and prepare: It’s time to deal with your self to at least one heck of a Chromebook improve.The Chrome OS widget secretFirst issues first, to tug this feat off, you may have to snag the key ingredient in our zesty and suspiciously greasy geek-stew recipe. It’s an appetizing app known as Taskbar, and whereas it is primarily designed for Android, it really works deliciously effectively on the Chromebook aspect of issues. So go get it — both through the devoted Play Store app in your Chromebook or from the Play Store in your browser — and get it loaded up onto that beautiful little system of yours.(Taskbar is free, by the best way, and it does not require any eyebrow-raising permissions to be able to function. So cost ahead, my fellow courageous explorer — cost ahead with gusto.)Once Taskbar’s in place in your Chromebook, open the app up, and you will find your self gazing its configuration display. There are a couple of changes we have to make to be able to have issues operating the best way they need to, so persist with me and keep affected person; I promise we’ll get to the great half quickly.Okay — begin by clicking or tapping the “General settings” part, and on the menu that comes up:Select “Position on screen” and alter it to “Bottom left (vertical).”
Check the field subsequent to “Alternative position for collapse button.”
Now, click on or faucet the arrow within the upper-left nook of the display to get again to the primary settings space. Select “Advanced features,” after which:Check the field subsequent to “Replace home screen” and comply with the steps to grant the app permission to show over different apps. Taskbar wants that permission to be able to place itself in your Chromebook’s desktop and present up on high of different apps you are utilizing. There’s no actual threat concerned.
Once you’ve got granted the permission, make your manner again to the “Advanced features” menu. You’ll most likely need to verify the field subsequent to “Replace home screen” another time now to get it to take.
Next, verify the field subsequent to “Enable widget support.”
Last however not least, choose “Widget dashboard grid size” and alter it to 2×2. (You can return and play with this later, if you would like, however this setting appears essentially the most appropriate to the Chrome OS surroundings to me. It divides your widget-panel display into quarters and offers you area for 4 completely different widgets with loads of room for ’em to unfold out and breathe.)
Now, take a deep breath your self — we’re virtually performed! Click or faucet the arrow within the upper-left nook of the display to get again to the primary Taskbar settings space once more. There’s only one factor left to do for this preliminary foundational a part of our setup, and it is an necessary one: Click or faucet the toggle within the upper-right nook of that settings display and flip it into the on place. That’s what’ll really activate the applying. (I advised you it was necessary!) You’ll most likely see a immediate asking if you wish to grant a sure permission to be able to embody current apps within the device; I’d counsel clicking “Cancel” and ignoring that for now, because it’s actually not wanted, and it will simply add further litter into the interface for our present functions.And that, my efficiency-adoring amigo, is it. You ought to now see the Taskbar interface proper above the round launcher icon within the lower-left nook of your display — and also you’re able to get your customized Chrome OS widget panel arrange with all of the wuvely widgets you need. (And to be clear, by the best way, “wuvely” is not a typo. It’s the phrase “lovely,” as mentioned with an Elmer Fudd accent.)Customizing your Chromebook widget panelHey, you made it! This is the enjoyable half! Pat your self on the again, then cease screwing round and let’s get this factor performed already.First, to open up your productiveness dashboard, click on or faucet on the arrow above that launcher icon — the identical one we had been simply taking a look at a second in the past.JR Yup — that is the one, you sensible and succesful sea creature. Once you click on that unhealthy boy, you need to see an expanded bar with a square-shaped icon displaying six small rectangles inside it. See?JR Click that, and bam: There’s your dashboard. It’ll pop up atop anything you’ve got bought open, whether or not it is your function-free Chrome OS desktop, a browser window, or any number of Chromebook-compatible apps. Of course, it is clean proper now, which is not particularly helpful. So let’s repair that, lets?Hover your mouse over any of the 4 quadrants of your display — or faucet your finger onto any of ’em as soon as, for those who’re utilizing a Chromebook with no keyboard useful — and you need to see the phrases “Click to add widget” seem. Can you guess what we’re gonna do subsequent?Yes, oh sure: Click or faucet onto that very space, and holy jumpin’ jackalopes: Just like that, you may see a easy widget choice interface seem proper in entrance of your overly moist eyeballs.JR Pick out any widget you need, comply with the steps to configure it as wanted, and earlier than you understand it, you may be gazing a elaborate interactive widget — proper in your crusty ol’ Chromebook.JR And bear in mind: Just like with a widget on Android, you possibly can scroll up or down in it, as supported, and faucet any lively space of it to leap on to the associated factor. You can refill all 4 spots and have a wide range of widgets on demand and out there — together with any of my high Android widget suggestions, for those who’re in search of inspiration — or you possibly can hold issues easy and simply add one or two objects into the combo. Remember, too, which you can at all times return and regulate that “Widget dashboard grid size” setting from a minute in the past to mess around with what number of spots can be found (and thus additionally how a lot area every one among ’em is ready to take up).A handful of different issues value noting earlier than we name it a day:Anytime you wish to entry your widgets, simply comply with the identical steps from above and click on or faucet that small arrow to disclose the complete Taskbar bar, if wanted, then click on or faucet the square-grid icon to make the widgets present up.
Clicking or tapping that square-grid icon a second time will make the panel go away; clicking or tapping the arrow icon once more will make the bar collapse.
When the bar is expanded, you can too click on or faucet the round icon in that space to see and rapidly entry any Android apps which might be put in in your Chromebook. It’s not essentially the most vital advantage of this setup, for those who ask me, nevertheless it’s an fascinating further contact that is there and price conserving in thoughts.
If you ever wish to take away a widget out of your panel, double-click it — or long-press it along with your finger (offered you have got a Chromebook with a touch-screen, that’s; in any other case, you will not accomplish something greater than smudging up your show and making your self really feel foolish).
You’ll need to manually open the Taskbar app as soon as each time you restart your Chromebook to be able to get it up and operating. The app does have an possibility in its settings to start out itself mechanically upon booting, nevertheless it does not appear to work within the Chrome OS surroundings. It’s a minor further step however a fairly painless one to take care of. You may even pin the app to your taskbar space to assist your self bear in mind and hold it a single click on or faucet away.
And that, my pricey, is all there may be to this. All that is left is to widget away — widget away with abandon, rattling it! — and go away everybody else round you questioning how on the planet you make that virtual-genie-level magic occur.Want much more Googley information? Sign up for my weekly publication to get next-level suggestions and perception delivered on to your inbox.
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