It can be difficult to multitask on a Chromebook when each time you launch an app, it opens as yet another tab in Chrome. Even when you aren’t multitasking, this over-reliance on browser tabs can feel like a drag.
Thankfully, there is a way to make apps in Chrome OS open in their own windows. Doing so not only makes juggling multiple apps easier because they aren’t all jammed into your browser, but it also makes Chrome OS feel more like a fully functioning operating system where you can have a multitude of windows spread across your desktop. Better yet, you can also use this trick to make favorite websites open as their own windows.
Open as window
To set an app to open in its own window, you must first pin it to the app launcher shelf. To do that, click the Launcher button in the bottom-left corner and from the grid of your apps, right-click on an app icon and select Pin to shelf. (You can also just click to open an app and then right-click its icon on the shelf and select Pin.)
Once an app has been pinned to the shelf, right-click on its icon there and select Open as window. Now, when you launch the app, it will open in its own window that removes the browser controls of a standard Chrome window. It’s still a Chrome window, but it feels like its own thing.
You can apply this setting to websites, too. As before, you must first pin a site to the shelf. To do so, navigate to the site you’d like to use as its own window. Next, click the triple-dot button in the top right of Chrome and choose More tools > Add to shelf. Give the site a name (it’ll be the text you see when you mouse over the icon), check the box for Open as window and click the Add button. Boom, this favorite site of yours gets a spot on the shelf and will open as its own window.
To undo an app’s addition to the shelf, right-click its icon in the shelf and select Unpin. To kick it back from its own window to a lowly Chrome tab, click on Open as window in the right-click menu so that the checkmark disappears.