The Chrome browser has been a staple in the digital world for years. Despite its popularity, many users may not be aware of the hidden gem that is the Chrome side panel. This feature offers immediate access to useful apps and can greatly enhance your browsing experience. In this article, we will explore the Chrome side panel and how it can streamline your workflow.

Discovering the Side Panel

Often, we become creatures of habit and stick to our preferred methods of using apps. However, it is essential to stay open to new features and enhancements that can offer increased efficiency. One such feature is the Chrome side panel. Initially accessed on the right side of the screen, the side panel provides quick access to various apps through an icon resembling a rectangular column.

If you are a Gmail or Calendar user, you may already be familiar with the slim sidebar that holds icons for Google apps. The Chrome side panel will open next to this sidebar. It is highly customizable, allowing you to adjust its width and choose whether it opens on the left or right side of your screen.

Apps Available in the Side Panel

As of now, there are five main apps that can be accessed through the Chrome side panel. Additionally, third-party apps you have installed may also be accessible. Let’s explore these apps and how they can improve your browsing experience:


The sidebar can be used to access your bookmarks. This feature offers an alternative to the traditional bookmark bar that runs across the top of the screen. Give it a try and see if you prefer using the new sidebar. If you do, you can easily get rid of the top-screen bookmark bar by unchecking the “Show bookmarks bar” option or using a keyboard shortcut.

Reading List

Oftentimes, we come across articles or web pages that we want to read but don’t have the time. Chrome’s reading list allows you to save sites for later. By choosing the “Reading List” option from the sidebar’s drop-down menu, you can quickly add the current tab to your reading list for future reference.


We have all been in situations where we accidentally close a tab and realize we still needed it. The History feature in the sidebar solves this problem by providing immediate access to your recent tabs and searches. Simply scroll down to find the tabs you used minutes, hours, or even days ago.

Reading Mode

The internet is cluttered with ads, pop-ups, and complex designs that can make reading content challenging. Reading Mode simplifies the text by stripping away distractions, making it easier to focus on the content. Although Reading Mode is incredibly useful on mobile devices, its usefulness on laptop screens may vary.


It should come as no surprise that the Chrome side panel offers a dedicated Search feature. By utilizing Google’s extensive search capabilities, this app allows you to find information quickly and efficiently. Additionally, you can use Google’s Lens app, located next to the search field, to perform image searches and discover similar images on the web.

Other Apps

Besides the five main apps mentioned above, the sidebar may display additional options based on the third-party apps installed on your computer. Depending on your preferences and workflow, these additional apps can further enhance your browsing experience. For example, you may have a to-do app or note-taking app integrated into the sidebar.

Now that you have been introduced to the Chrome side panel and its various apps, it’s time to take advantage of this hidden gem. The side panel offers a more efficient way to browse the web and access essential features without disrupting your workflow. Give it a try and see if it simplifies your browsing life. The Chrome side panel might just become an indispensable tool in your digital arsenal.


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