Chromebooks are known for their simplicity and now for their user-friendly Material You interface. But let’s talk about one aspect of customization that often flies under the radar: shelf positioning. Most of us are content with the default bottom placement, akin to the familiar Windows taskbar. But have you ever considered shifting it to the left or right? Here are a few benefits of shaking things up a bit, and a few reasons to stick to tradition as well.
Before we discuss, here’s how to do this for your own device. Simply right-click your Chromebook wallpaper and hover over the “Shelf position” option in the context menu. From there, hover over the secondary menu that appears, and choose “Left”, “Bottom”, or “Right”. If you don’t like the result upon clicking, you can always change it back using the same method!
I just want the instructions!
- Navigate to your Chromebook wallpaper or “desktop” by minimizing any open apps
- Right-click the wallpaper or shelf
- Hover over “Shelf position”
- Hover over the secondary menu and choose “Left”, “Bottom”, or “Right”
- You can always change it back using the same instructions!
The perks of left or right Chromebook shelf alignment
Let’s be real; left or right-aligned shelves just look awesome. It’s a subtle change that can give your Chromebook a unique appearance. If you’re into personalizing your desktop, this is a simple, but effective way to make your Chromebook stand out, especially in public. I mean, a Chromebook already stands out in public, but that’s another discussion entirely.
Altering the shelf’s position can also breathe new life into your Chromebook experience. Think of it as rearranging your furniture; sometimes, a small change can significantly impact how you interact with your device and make it feel fresh! If you’re getting a tad bored with the status quo, consider shifting your shelf for a refreshing twist, even if it’s temporary.
One practical advantage of doing this is the ease of access it provides to your open apps and web apps at eye level. This comes in handy, especially if you have a slew of things and want to switch between them seamlessly, without constantly glancing at the bottom of your screen.
Breaking tradition for better or worse
Of course, every change comes with its challenges. The primary drawback of moving your shelf at all is that it challenges what you may be accustomed to. The conventional bottom placement has been the norm, largely thanks to Windows.
If you’ve dabbled in Linux distributions, you might be familiar with the shelf residing at the top—a sort of “rear-view mirror” style of usage, as I like to call it. While it might feel intuitive to some, it can be a leap for those who’ve always used the bottom shelf. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer the option to place the shelf at the top. Fingers crossed that this may change in the future, providing us with more customization options, but yeah, not a thing right now.
Which one should you choose?
Speaking from personal experience, adjusting to the left or right can be a bit of a challenge, especially when you have a long list of apps open or pinned. Scrolling through them with the mouse scroll wheel can feel a tad unfamiliar, and not as much can fit visually in that space with a vertical design. I mean, your screen is wider than it is tall, right? Some users do use a vertical display, but not as a primary!
However, one noteworthy perk of left shelf positioning is that quick settings appear more accessible and, dare I say it, “cooler” when compared to the bottom. It can add a dash of flair to your daily Chromebook interactions, so long as you can get used to it – something I couldn’t.
Did you know you can also align your shelf to different edges for each of your external displays when using your Chromebook in desktop mode? While this level of customization might not be for everyone, it’s interesting to know that ChromeOS offers such flexibility. If you find yourself using your Chromebook with multiple monitors, it’s worth exploring. I tried it for all of five minutes before the psychology of looking in different places split me in three!
Share your thoughts: vote in the poll and join the conversation
So, have you ventured into new shelf territory, or do you prefer the classic bottom placement? Take a moment to cast your vote in our poll below and share your experiences in the comments. The fact that Chromebooks offer so much customization and more is being added each day, especially over the past year or two, is just staggering, and I love it!