Application overview

Help documentation, such as it is, can be located by search+1 or from the Help icon. When you have located a site link or an application that you want to open, either press the enter key or tap the touchpad. Of the many ways some task can be accomplished, I will show you one or two, based on the simplest or most general.


Hold down the search key and press 1 (abbreviated search+1) to open Google’s help site. (This will also give you application-specific help options within apps like Mail or Docs.) Use the bottom left arrow keys to explore the site. Remember, the top right arrow keys go back or forward a page, and the circular arrow refreshes the screen. Use the two box keys to change the window size. Change screen brightness with the studded circle keys. Use search+alt+4 to close the window.

Starting from a blank screen, search. Press the down arrow key in the lower left corner to highlight the first application icon. Use the left and right navigation keys to move among the icons, stopping when the green icon with a question mark in the center is highlighted. Now tap the touchpad–that large rectangle between you and the keyboard– or press enter to select Help.

Touch pad

With the Help app open, press and hold the down arrow to scroll through the documentation. Let go of the down arrow when you want to stop.

Scroll down to the section headed “Touchpad and keyboard.” As you wiggle your finger near the center of the touchpad as if you are drawing,  notice that an arrow or hand points to a particular location on the screen.  When it changes to the image of a hand with the index finger extended, you are pointing to a place where action can occur.

Keep wiggling until the pointer changes from an arrow to a hand over “Master your Keyboard”  in white letters on a blue background. Press enter or tap the touchpad to see a review of what the top row of keys can do. When finished,press ctrl+w to close the window. Or wiggle your finger to move the pointer to the X at the top right corner of the screen, formerly known as the close box, and tap the touchpad.

History: function keys

In the previous century, before Microsoft sold mice, ten or twelve keys above the QWERTY keyboard used by typists were made available for special functions. Over time and by convention, F1 became known as the Help key. Other uses were ascribed to F2 through F10. F11 and F12 were assigned by application programmers for proprietary software. As with many legacy systems, what was once done must be carried forward to accommodate those proficient in the old system. Thus, vestiges of the function keys exist even in the 21st century Chromebook, activated by search+ a function key number between 1 and 0 on the keyboard.

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