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How to use Chromebook Quick Files (and why you should)

If you're a Chromebook user and you're looking for an even more efficient workflow, then you need to add Quick Files to your routine.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Using the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3i
June Wan/ZDNET

Google is always thinking of ways to make the Chromebook even easier to work with. Chromebooks run Chrome OS -- and what was once nothing more than a web browser operating system has become something far greater. With the latest iterations of Chrome OS, you'd be hard pressed to call it anything but a full-fledged operating system.

Take, for instance, a feature that was added to Chrome OS back in 2022. The feature is called Quick Files, which took the place of the short-lived Tote. Quick Files resides in your system tray and allows you to pin files to that location, so you don't have to open the File Manager and search for the file you want to access. It's a much more efficient method of working with often-used files. It's also a great place to temporarily pin a file, so you can remember to deal with it sooner rather than later.

Also: 5 reasons why Chromebooks are the perfect laptop for most people

Quick Files makes working with Chrome OS even more efficient than it already is, so chances are pretty good you'll want to take advantage of this feature. 

And, like nearly everything within Chrome OS, Quick Files are very easy to work with. Let me show you.

How to use Quick Files

What you'll need: The only things you'll need for this feature are a Chromebook with an updated version of Chrome OS, a valid Google account, and files to add. That's it. Time to get to work.

1. Add a file to Quick Files

Log in to your Chromebook and open the My Files app. Navigate to a file you want to add to Quick Files from local storage or even Google Drive. Once you've located the file you want to pin to Quick Files, two-finger tap it (or right-click it, if you're using a mouse), and select Pin to Quick Files.

Also: How to connect to a network share from your Chromebook

You can add as many files to Quick Files as you need. You can also add files from both local storage and Google Drive. Once you've finished, you can close the My Files app.

The Chrome OS My Files right-click menu.

You can also compress the file from this menu by selecting Zip Selection.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Accessing Quick Files

Once you've pinned files, you should notice round thumbnails of some of the images appear on your Shelf. If you tap that section, a new popup will appear, listing both your pinned files and any recent screenshots you've taken. 

Also: How to change the task overdue sound on Google Calendar so you never miss a deadline

To open any file that's listed, all you have to do is tap it and the associated application will open the file, so you can work with it.

The Chrome OS Quick Files pop-up.

You'll find both pinned files and screenshots in the Quick Files popup.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Removing files from Quick Files

If you two-finger tap (or right-click) one of the Quick Files entries, you'll notice an Unpin entry in the popup menu. Click that entry to remove the file from Quick Files. Do note that unpinning the file does not delete it from your Chromebook and only removes it from the Quick Files feature. 

Also: These top Chromebooks choices for students do it all

Another way to remove a file is to two-finger tap (or right-click) the file in the My Files app and select Unpin from Quick Files.

The Quick Files right-click pop-up menu.

You can either remove files from Quick Files here or via the My Files app.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

And that's all there is to using the Quick Files feature in Chrome OS. This feature is one of those additions to Chrome OS that makes using your Chromebook even more efficient.

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