As Chromebooks are just like laptops, they all have trackpads - or touchpads if you prefer. One thing you'll have noticed is that you Chromebook doesn't have two buttons below it as you may be used to on Windows laptops.
That can make it a little tricky to work out how to right-click (as well as some other functions). You might even be wondering if right-clicking even exists on Chromebooks. Well, it does, and here’s how you can do it, plus a couple of other useful tips.
Do note that you can usually plug a USB mouse into a Chromebook: most work without any problems. If you don’t have a mouse, but are thinking of buying one, it’s worth looking for the Works with Chromebook logo, which guarantees compatibility.
How to use right-click on a Chromebook
Chromebooks all have the tap-to-click feature enabled as standard, so tapping one finger on the trackpad will act as a normal click.
To use the right-click command (and access contextual menus, among other things) all you need to do is tap two fingers on the trackpad instead.
If you do this and the screen scrolls up or down, it means that you’ve just kept your fingers on the trackpad too long, as ChromeOS uses the two-fingers-to-scroll gesture as well. So, just take your fingers off the trackpad, tap it with your two fingers again, and you should see the right-click menu appear.
How to use other trackpad gestures on a Chromebook
Alongside the right-click feature, there are several other useful trackpad gestures that can make life easier on your Chromebook. Here are those we use most often:
See all open windows
If you have multiple apps or browser windows open at the same time, it can be tiresome to have to either tab through them all or go down to the dock and select the correct icon. Instead, swipe up with three fingers and you’ll instantly be presented with all the windows currently open on your Chromebook.
Open a link in a new tab
If you’re on a webpage and want to open a link but also want to keep the current page, tapping on the link with three fingers will open it in a new tab.
Move between pages
When using the browser, you can move back and forth between pages you’ve already opened by swiping left with two fingers (to go back) or right with two fingers (to go forward). This is very useful if there was something on the page you’ve just left that you wanted to know.
Move between tabs
This is probably our favourite of all the ChromeOS trackpad gestures. Again, in the Chrome browser, if you have multiple tabs open and want to easily switch between them, place three fingers on the trackpad and move them left or right. You’ll see the highlighted tab change to match your gesture, then lift your fingers off the trackpad to select the one you want. So simple, so useful.
That’s just a few ways to use the trackpad gestures built-in to ChromeOS. It’s surprising how reliable and consistent the trackpad experience is across pretty much all the Chromebooks we’ve tried, especially when compared to some Windows laptops. If this makes you want to try out a Chromebook for yourself or upgrade your current model to a brand new one, be sure to read our guide to the best Chromebooks so you’ll pick the device that’s best suited for your needs.