Chromebooks are quite different from traditional laptops in many ways — and not just because of their software.
The most obvious physical difference? Chromebooks have keyboards with a variety of Chrome OS-specific features, meaning they don’t have standard keys like F1 or even Caps Lock. Depending on how you work, that can be a welcome change or a huge pain.
However, if you’re not happy with that arrangement, don’t despair. You can remap quite a few keys from your Chromebook and drastically change the way you use your device.
To get started, just go to the Keyboard section of your Chromebook’s settings:
- Click on the clock in the lower right corner of the screen.
- Tap the gear icon in the panel that appears.
- Scroll down to the Device subheading and click the Keyboard option.
There you will see a list of keys that you can customize:
- The Launcher key (also known as the search key)
- The Ctrl key
- The Alt key
- The Escape key
- The Backspace key
- The Assistant key (On Pixelbooks only)
Each key can be reassigned to perform one of the following functions:
- Launcher / Search (the Chrome OS app drawer and search prompt)
- Caps Lock
- Assistant (on devices where Google Assistant is available)
To remap a key, click the box next to it and select the function you want. For example, you might want to return the Launcher (or Search) key to Caps Lock. Or, if you’d like to have the Launcher key in its default role but still miss Caps Lock, you might want to assign the Caps Lock function to your Escape or Assistant keys.
If you have a Chromebook other than the Pixelbook (which, as mentioned, has a dedicated Google Assistant key) and want easier access to the Assistant, consider assigning the Escape key or even the Launcher key to to perform that function.
There’s another keyboard remap option worth mentioning: below that list of customizable keys, you’ll see a setting called Treat top row keys as function keys† In addition, activating the switch will convert the special keys on the top row of your Chromebook’s keyboard — the commands to go back, reload a page, maximize a window, and so on — into standard F1-style function keys. . In that scenario, you can still access their special features, but only if you first hold and then press the Launcher key.
Update May 25, 2022, 2:30 PM ET: This article was originally published on October 21, 2019 and has been updated with a few minor clarifications about the Launcher/Search key.