Chrome has the useful ability to open a website as a window that does not display the browser interface or open external links in a new tab. Or rather, it did: Google last disabled the 2018 feature in Windows and MacOS.
We can't tell why Google decided that only their own ChromeOS devices would get this feature from now on, but if you're upset at their loss, you're not alone. I have spent years with the function "Open as window" to make impromptu web apps easy to open and manage.
But there is a way to get them back, at least for the moment. Like this.
Update : In Chrome version 72, the "open as window" feature linked to the above has been restored to the Windows version of Chrome. It's available in Chrome on MacOS, but you need to enable the following options in Chrome: // Flags:
- The new bookmark app system
- allows host applications to open in Windows
When both flags are enabled, click the menu button Chrome, then "More Tools" and then "Create Shortcut". The "Open as window" option is there, just like in Windows.
Step One: Use Applicationize.me
Applicationize.me makes a regular site a downloadable CRX file, which can then be installed in Chrome as if it were a Chrome file. It is not – the "app" will only be the site you choose, in its own thin window with a link. But it is a useful little hack anyway.
Please note that we normally recommend users to be careful with unnecessary browser extensions and applications. But in this case you only use a regular website, and it's no more dangerous than anyone else (make sure the site itself is not dangerous, of course.)
To get it done, open the site you want to use as an "Open as window" link, then open Applicationize.me in a new tab. Copy and paste the site from the first tab in the field labeled "WEB APP URL".
Click on the web button that says "GENERATE AND DOWNLOAD CHROME EXTENSION." A CRX
Step two: Install the CRX file
Now open another tab in Chrome and go to the address
chrome: // extension . This is a local browser page that displays all the extensions you have installed.
If you do not have it already enabled, enable the "Developer Mode" button in the right-hand corner.
Drag and drop the CRX file from the desktop to the Extensions tab. Click "Add app" in the confirmation window.
Step Three: Create Shortcut
Now open a new tab, this time
Chrome: // apps . The CRX file you installed appears in the list.
Right-click the new icon and then click "Create shortcuts." In Windows, it asks if you want them on the desktop, start menu or both. For our example, we use the desktop, but it doesn't matter which one you choose. On macOS, it will be downloaded to the "Chrome apps" folder, which should open automatically.
Now that you double-click on the shortcut, it opens the site you chose in its own window, without the address bar or other user interface. Any links you click that are not part of the domain (such as an external download link on a How-To Geek article) are automatically uploaded to a separate Chrome window (or in a new tab in an existing open Chrome window). You will also not have access to the context menu when you right-click on a link (even if you still get a context menu when you right-click on an image).
You can place your shortcut anywhere in Windows or MacOS, and it will act as a regular shortcut file. I like to set up a custom icon in Windows and point them to my taskbar to make half-time web apps.
Please note that these manually loaded "apps" are unfortunately not synced over Chrome installations. So if you use this trick on multiple computers, you might have to set it up again for each one.