Chalk this one up as a hidden gem. Among all the Chrome OS keyboard shortcuts that exist, there is a new one that was made active as a part of Chrome OS 96 that hasn’t even been added to the keyboard shortcut help screen that you can see that by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + ?. As a matter of fact, we were tracking this as a thing that might be in the Canary Channel of Chrome OS 99 and right before finding a Chromebook around the office in that experimental channel, I thought I might as well try it out on my Stable Channel Chromebook first. And you know what? It already works!
Moving Virtual Desks with keyboard magic
As much as I pined for the ability to move through my virtual desks with a 4-finger swipes on the trackpad before that was implemented, I’ve found that my actual, daily use of virtual desks relies far more-heavily on the keyboard shortcuts Google has put in place to move around your device. I’m just as comfortable hitting the overview key as I am swiping up with 3 fingers to get to the virtual desk bar and I find the Everything Key + [ or ] shortcut to be a far more productive way to quickly get from one desk to another.
While I love that I can simply right-click on a window and send it directly to a desk with my mouse cursor, I also use the Everything Key + Shift + [ or ] to move windows between desks on a regular basis as well. My point is, though there are great trackpad and mouse options available for manipulating your virtual desks, doing so without having to lift your hands from the keyboard simply makes things faster in most cases. For those wondering what those shortcuts are, you can try them out with the following:
- Search + Shift + = New desk
- Search + Shift + – Remove desk
- Search + ] Navigate to desk on right
- Search + [ Navigate to desk on the left
- Search + Shift + ] Move active window (or highlighted window in overview) to desk on the right
- Search + Shift + [ Move active window (or highlighted window in overview) to desk on the left
Adding a new shortcut to the mix
The new shortcut we’re seeing today gives users the ability to re-order their desks without touching the mouse or trackpad, and is really easy to do. When on the overview screen where all your virtual desks are in view, use the arrow keys to highlight the desk you’d like to move, then simply hit CTRL + left arrow or right arrow to make that highlighted desk move to whatever position you desire.
It’s a simple thing, but when Google added the ability to move my desks around by dragging and dropping, I found it to be a big productivity boost. Different workflows call for different desk to be side-by-side to make sense. I use the drag/drop method very regularly, so having another method to do this with is a welcome addition for users like myself. As virtual desks just continue to get better, having a variety of ways for people to get the most out of them only makes sense, and I know I’ll be using this new shortcut on a regular basis moving forward.