How to Access the Chromebook Shelf

By Mark LaFay

The shelf is where all the magic happens on your Chromebook. Your shelf is customized specifically to you. In order to access it, however, you must first log in to your Chromebook with your Google username and password.

Signing in takes you out of Guest mode. When you’re in Guest mode, you can’t install apps or permanently customize your Chromebook, so it’s of limited use. However, Guest mode is a great way to give your friends and family access to your Chromebook without fear of them changing or manipulating your settings in any way.

Okay, now that you’re logged in, you find a row of icons lined up along the bottom of the screen. This is the shelf. The shelf appears by default at the bottom of the screen. You can change the location of your shelf — but for now, leave it on the bottom of the screen.

A quick tour of the shelf reveals two key groupings of icons — one on the left and one on the right:

  • The icons on the left include

    • The App Launcher (on the far-left of the screen): This is similar to the Start button in Windows. Click the App Launcher icon, and a collection of app icons appears arranged in a grid. Click any icon to launch the app.

    • App shortcut icons (immediately to the right of the App Launcher): Any of the apps you see in the App Launcher can be placed for convenience on your shelf. By default, your Chromebook comes with a few popular app shortcuts already installed on the shelf. You can add or remove any of these as you like.

  • The group of icons on the right is referred to as the status area. These icons include

    • Clock

    • Wi-Fi signal indicator

    • Battery icon (indicates battery charge)

    • Google profile picture

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