How to add websites and apps to your Chrome OS shelf

Here’s a handy tip I picked up the other day. Adding bookmarks to Chrome is pretty damn easy, obviously, but for some reason Google haven’t added the ability to put them on your Chrome OS shelf yet (the shortcut bar at the bottom of the screen).

However, this feature is being built by Google and with a little under-the-hood tinkering you can make it happen!

Step 1

Visit chrome://flags/ on your Chromebook (copy + paste into your address bar – WordPress doesn’t like these links) – this is the page where all work-in-progress features of Chrome browser and OS are kept. Have a look around – there’s some fun stuff in there.

Step 2

Find the entry called ‘Enable experimental streamlined hosted apps’ (or paste this into your Chrome address bar – chrome://flags/#enable-streamlined-hosted-apps) and turn it on. This gives you the ability to turn normal websites into “apps” (they need to be apps because that’s what are kept on your shelf).

Step 3

Visit the page you want to add to your shelf – lets say The Guardian. Open the Chrome menu, go to More tools -> Add shortcut to this website…


Step 4

There isn’t really a step 4; that’s about it. The website is now in my shelf. You can drag it around or put it in a folder, just like a normal Chrome app.

App Shelf


15 thoughts on “How to add websites and apps to your Chrome OS shelf

  1. chromebook2014 Sorry – WordPress fucks the links up. Copy + paste into your browser bar and it should work.

  2. The “app” opens in a new browser window with no bookmarks bar shown. Is there a flag or anything that I can add to make it open as a new tab in my current browser window?

  3. I don’t see the chrome://flags/#enable-streamlined-hosted-apps in the version of Chrome I’m on. Did they remove this or is it something different now? I can’t figure out how to add bookmarks to my shelf.

  4. I believe the name of the chrome flag has been changed….

    After you open a new tab or window with chrome://flags/

    Scroll down to find


    Switch the toggle to ENABLE

    restart chrome browser

    then go to menu, more tools, and then ADD TO SHELF should appear as an option

    Click on that ADD TO SHELF while on the webpage you want to bookmark on the Chrome OS shelf, and you should get a popup allowing you to customize the name of the bookmark and whether you want it to open a new window or not…

    I am using this on a Chromebox….. Chrome 43 Stable channel… it works for me!

  5. Thanks for the tips, this feature is available by default now

    ChromeOS – Version 48.0.2564.48 beta

    After a search in Google “how to add a google doc to shelf?”

    Add apps to your shelf. When you pin an app to your shelf, it stays there until you move or remove it.
    Pin apps: Click the Launcher , right-click the app you want to add, and select Pin to Shelf.
    Pin webpages: Open the webpage and go to the Chrome Browser Menu > More tools > Add to shelf > Add.

    thanks :)

  6. Thank you! I powerwashed my Chromebook and some of the apps didn’t reappear in the launcher, so that I could add them to the shelf. Your workaround worked!

  7. Thank you for posting this awesome article. I’m a long time reader but I’ve never been compelled to leave a comment.

    I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Twitter.

    Thanks again for a great post!

  8. I savor, lead to I found just what I was looking
    for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.


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