Rearrange apps on the shelf and launcher on your Chromebook

Rearrange apps on the shelf and launcher on your Chromebook

The easiest way to customize your Chromebook is to rearrange the apps in the system tray and launcher. Here’s how to do it in a few easy steps.


Quick links

  • Rearrange apps on the ChromeOS launcher
  • Rearrange apps and pin new apps to your Chromebook’s shelf

Do you use a Chromebook or ChromeOS tablet for work, school, or at home for personal things like social media and web browsing? You don’t have to stick with how it was configured out of the box or how your administrator set it up for you. Like many other operating systems like Windows, you can customize the look and feel of ChromeOS to suit your needs. This is in addition to adding mice, docks and other great items to your Chromebook.


One of the most important customization options for Chromebooks is the rearranging of apps in the ChromeOS system shelf, which appears at the bottom of the screen. You can also rearrange apps as seen in the ChromeOS launcher, which you can call up by pressing the All button on your Chromebook’s keyboard or the circular button in the lower left corner of the screen. Today we’re going to explain how you can do both in a few simple steps.


Rearrange apps on the ChromeOS launcher

The ChromeOS launcher is identical to the Windows Start menu. In fact, it used to be a full-screen experience, but with ChromeOS 100, Google tweaked the launcher to be much smaller and resemble Windows 11’s Start menu, but with a touch like “continue where you left off” at the top and a Google search bar. The launcher is home to all the apps on your Chromebook. Here’s how to customize it.

  1. Open the ChromeOS launcher by clicking the circular icon in the lower left corner of the screen. If you have a ChromeOS tablet, just tap it with your finger.
  2. To rearrange existing apps on the launcher, hover over the app icon, click and hold it, and then drag it to the desired location. Other apps will automatically get out of the way.
  3. On a touchscreen ChromeOS tablet or Chromebook, just tap and hold the icon, then drag it to an empty space where you want it.
  4. To create a folder in the ChromeOS launcher, hover over an app icon, click and hold it, and then drag it to another icon. A pop-up will appear allowing you to name the folder. Dragging all the icons out of the folder will delete the folder.
    A folder in the ChromeOS launcher
  5. To create a folder on the ChromeOS launcher on a ChromeOS tablet or Chromebook with a touchscreen, touch and hold an app icon, then drag it to another app icon. You will see the folder created and you can name it.

Rearrange apps and pin new apps to your Chromebook’s shelf

Pin apps to the ChromeOS shelf

Similar to Windows 11’s taskbar or macOS’ dock, you can pin apps to the Chromebook’s shelf. The shelf is the area at the bottom of the screen that holds running apps and apps you’ve selected to pin. A small circular indicator appears at the bottom of the pinned running apps to indicate that a window is open on the screen. Unpinned running applications appear to the right of the small divider in the middle of the shelf. So, with those basics explained, here’s how to rearrange apps and pin new apps to your Chromebook’s shelf.

Pin new apps to the Chromebook shelf

First, let’s start by pinning apps to the Chromebook shelf. This allows you to access your favorite apps without having to open the ChromeOS launcher every time.

  1. Open the ChromeOS launcher by clicking the circular icon in the lower left corner of the screen. If you have a ChromeOS tablet, just tap it with your finger.
  2. Find the icon of the app you want to pin to the shelf.
  3. Move the mouse over the icon. If you have a ChromeOS tablet, you can call up the menu by long pressing the icon.
  4. On a non-touch Chromebook, press and hold the button Alt button on the keyboard while hovering over the icon, then right-clicking on it at the same time.
  5. Choose the Pin it on the shelf Option.

You can remove pinned apps at any time. On a touchscreen Chromebook, simply long press the icon on the shelf and select Unfolds. On non-touch Chromebooks, hover over the icon and hold down the Alt button on the keyboard, then right-click and select Unfolds.

Rearranging apps on the Chromebook shelf

Now that you’ve pinned some apps to your Chromebook’s shelf, you can rearrange them. It only takes a few clicks.

  1. Hover your mouse over the icon you want to rearrange on the ChromeOS shelf.
  2. Hold, click and drag around. Don’t release the click until the app is where you want it to be.
  3. On touchscreen ChromeOS tablets or Chromebooks, simply press and hold the icon and drag it to the desired location.

That’s all it takes to pin apps to the Chromebook shelf and rearrange them. Now let’s move on to customizing the ChromeOS launcher.

That’s all you can do to rearrange apps on the ChromeOS launcher and the ChromeOS shelf. It’s a very simple process. We recommend pinning important apps to the shelf, such as the Settings app or the Google Play Store. You can then use the ChromeOS launcher to create custom folders for work and school apps, games, photography, social media, and more. All of these are great ways to make your Chromebook more personal.

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