Getting to Know Your Browser

Objectives and Overview

Becoming comfortable with how a web browser works is a crucial digital literacy skill. This lesson introduces Chrome, a web browser created by Google. There are many other web browsers such as Safari, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and many others. This lesson walks through the Chrome interface and shows basic skills such as creating and switching between browser tabs.

Lesson Objectives

  • Identify key parts of the Google Chrome interface
  • Understand the difference between new tabs and windows
  • Demonstrate the ability to create a new tab and a new window
  • Identify Chrome browser shortcuts

Getting to Know Chrome

This activity walks through the Google Chrome interface and covers basic skills you should know for success with the Chrome browser.

Chrome Interface: Main View

Let’s start by opening up Chrome. You can do this by clicking on the Chrome icon. If you have Chrome in your dock, you can launch it from there. This opens up a new window in Chrome. Let’s take a look at the interface:

Let’s take a big picture view of the Chrome browser. Check out this image:

Chrome browser showing Google with boxes drawn around the "web address bar" and "search bar."
  • The navigation tools are for moving around pages you’ve visited
  • The web address is where you’ll enter website addresses you want to visit, such as
  • The search area is where you can search the Internet for information

There are key more pieces of the interface that we should check out. Let’s dive deeper:

Chrome browser interface with key items annotated.
  1. This is the address bar where you enter website addresses such as
  2. These are your extensions – tools you can add to Chrome
  3. This is your bookmarks bar – quick access to websites you’ve saved
  4. This is the search bar – you can enter a term and search for it

Navigating Chrome

The main navigation buttons are back, forward, refresh, and home. These buttons are to the left of the URL bar:

Google Chrome "web address bar" with a box drawn around the navigation tools.
  • The back button returns you to the previous page.
  • The forward button moves you forward (only if you’ve navigated back).
  • The refresh button reloads the current page.
  • The home button takes you to the home page, which is by default.


You’re able to save websites you like by creating a bookmark. You can think of bookmarks the same way you would bookmark a page in a book. It’s a way to save a page so you can quickly jump to it later. To add a bookmark, click the star button to the right of the URL bar:

Google Chrome "web address bar" with a box drawn around the bookmark icon.

Once you click on the star button you can name the page you’re saving:

Google Chrome "Edit bookmark" window with example.

You’ll need to manage your bookmarks. To do this, you can use Chrome’s Bookmark Manager. To open this, click on the Bookmarks menu and choose Bookmark Manager:

Gif showing the steps to bookmark a site in Chrome.

Tabs and Windows

Chrome has tabs and windows. The main view you’re working in is called the window. Opening a new window is like opening Chrome again without losing your previous work.

To add a new window, go to the File menu and click New Window:

GIF showing how to open a new window in Google Chrome.

If you prefer to only use a single window of Chrome, you’re able to add new tabs. Tabs are new pages but within a single view of Chrome. To open a new tab, click the + button next to your current tab:

GIF showing how to open a new tab in Google Chrome.

You can now switch between tabs!

Why use Tabs?

You may be wondering why you’d want to use tabs instead of windows. This is personal preference, but tabs are nice when you’re opening related web pages (such as if you’re working on a project) and want them to be in the same Chrome window. Be careful though, if you close the window, you’ll lose all your open tabs!


Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts: Here is a collection of useful keyboard shortcuts that will save you lots of time when using Chrome. They’re listed for Mac, Windows, and Linux.