The Secret Powers of Chrome’s Address Bar

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The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Chrome’s address bar doesn’t do much at a glance. Type in a URL and you’re taken to a web site. But it can do a lot more if you know how to use it.

We’ve covered plenty of great Chrome tricks over the years, but the address bar has always been a bit neglected. You can actually do a ton with it though, so let’s dig into some of the better tricks.

Perform Quick Unit Conversion and Math

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Don’t feel like opening up a calculator just to do some basic math? Just type in the equation and Chrome’s omnibox gives you the answer, no need to press Enter. You can do the same with basic unit conversion, including temperatures. All you need to do is add an equal signs after a query. So, type in something like 50 c = f for temperatures, or 50 feet = inches

Turn A Browser Window Into a Notepad

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar12

This trick works in pretty much any modern browser, but it’s still worth noting here. If you want to get a blank notepad to type in a quick note, just type this into the address bar (or add a bookmark):

data:text/html, <html contenteditable>

You’ll get a blank page where you can type in text easily.

Search for Keywords with Drag and Drop

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

If you’re not a fan of cutting and pasting or you hate right-clicking anything, you can search for a word by just highlighting it and dragging it to the address bar.

Search Specific Sites

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Google veterans are pretty familiar with the old “site:” search operator, but you can also easily get that from the address bar by simply typing in a web site address then tapping the Tab button.

Search Gmail or Google Drive

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Jumping over to a specific web app like Gmail or Google Drive to search for something takes a bunch of clicks. It’s a lot easier to just search those services from the address bar. To do so, you’ll need to do a little bit of set up.

  1. Right-click the address bar and select “Edit Search Engines”
  2. Add a new search engine called Google Drive
  3. Make the keyword something you’ll remember, like “Gdrive”
  4. Enter this in for the URL: http://drive.google.com/?hl=en&tab=bo#search/%s You can do the same for Gmail, just make the URL https://mail.google.com/mail/ca/u/0/#apps/%s

When you want to search your Google Drive or Gmail accounts, just type in gmail.com or docs.google.com and tap the Tab key to intiate your search. You can do a similar trick to add an event to your Google Calendar.

Open a Link at a Specific Tab Spot

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

If you’re obsessive about where a tab is located, you can grab any URL from the address bar or a link, then drag and drop it to a specific location in your Tabs.

Use Your Address Bar Basic File Explorer

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

While there isn’t exactly a great reason why you’d want to use Chrome as a file browser, you can. Type in C:/ on Windows or file://localhost on a Mac and Linux to load up the file browser. You can also drag any file to the address bar to open it in Chrome.

Open a New Email Window

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

Want to quickly send out an email but don’t want to deal with actually looking at your email? Type mailto: into your address bar and it’ll open up a new compose window in whatever your default email client is.

Look at all the Security Information for a Site

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

If you ever find yourself on a shady site and want to get a little more information about what it’s doing, click the lock or page icon to the left of the URL in the address bar. Here, you can research cookies, block javascript, block popups, and more.

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