How to Change Your Google Background in Chrome

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Google Chrome is fairly plain, but it doesn’t need to be. One way to spice it up is by changing the overall look with a new theme. Not only can you change the New Tab background, but you can change the overall colors of your tabs, bookmarks bar, and more.

However, this method does not work in the Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge, nor does it alter the appearance of Google’s website. This method only pertains to Google Chrome, the best browser you can download right now, and its New Tab page.

Here’s how to change your Google background. However, before pressing on, be sure to update Chrome, as the following instructions reflect the latest version of Chrome, version 85.

Use a theme

Here we install a theme you can download from the Chrome Web Store. Themes typically include a custom image that appears on the New Tab background, and new colors splashed throughout the browser.

Part 1: Find the Themes setting

First, locate the Themes setting in Google Chrome.

Step 1: Click the three-dot Customize and Control Google Chrome icon located in the top right corner.

Step 2: Select the Settings option on the drop-down menu.

Step 3: The Settings tab opens in the browser. Select Appearance listed on the left.

Step 4: Click Themes listed on the right. This action takes you to the Chrome Web Store.

Note: You can also access this setting by typing chrome://settings/appearance in the browser’s address field.

Part 2: Pick your theme

Chrome Web Store Themes

The Chrome Web Store’s Themes section opens in a new tab. Here you can browse the store’s many available themes divided by broad categories. The primary image that you see is typically the image that will appear as your New Tab background, so you can use that as a guide for which one to pick. If you need help, these are our favorite themes.

Each category displays eight of the top-rated themes for that content type, but you can expand that category by clicking the View All button. If you only want to view themes developed by Google, click the All option listed under Categories on the left and select By Google on the drop-down menu.

Once you select a theme, make sure to check out its preview images and reviews. The support section will also give you information about problems (if any) users have encountered using the theme. Checking the Related tab will show you more themes by that particular developer.

Remember, most themes extend their colors and patterns throughout the browser window and tabs, so take a look at the full appearance before installing.

Part 3: Add it to Chrome

Undo Google Chrome Theme

If you find something you like, click the blue Add to Chrome button. As Chrome applies the theme, this button turns white, reading Added to Chrome. You’ll also see a blue Undo button for removing the theme.

Your new theme automatically transforms the browser’s appearance. Tabs may or may not change color, and if you open a new tab, you should see the theme’s primary image.

See if you like the overall theme — sometimes you may like the image, but not what it does to your tabs or the colors it adds throughout the browser. If that’s the case, hit the Undo button, or head back to Appearances in the Settings menu and revert to the default theme. You can choose and disable as many themes as you want as you look for the right one!

Warning: While Google supposedly scans everything uploaded to the Chrome Web Store, be cautious about what you install in Chrome. Try to stick with a Google-developed theme and install a custom image for your New Tab background. Not all non-Google themes are malicious, however, but you never know.

Customize Chrome

Perhaps you don’t care for any of the themes, or you’d prefer to use a personal image instead. This section walks you through the steps to add a custom image while the second part shows you how to change colors without installing a theme.

Part 1: Select a custom image

Google Chrome Customize New Tab

First, since it’s the focus of this article, let’s install a custom image provided by you or Google.

Step 1: Open a new tab and click the Customize button located in the bottom right corner.

Step 2: An in-browser window appears with the Background category open by default. Select a background, or click Upload From Device to use an image stored on your PC. If you select the latter, Chrome opens a pop-up window (File Explorer/Finder/Files) so you can locate and select your preferred image.

Step 3: Click the Done button to finalize your change.

When you open a new tab in Chrome, the image now appears on your screen. You can remove it at any time by clicking the Customize button again — it’s merely a pen icon in this case — and choosing No Background.

Part 2: Select a color and theme

You can customize a background picture as well as modify Chrome’s entire layout if you desire. If you don’t know which theme you want to install, do the following:

Step 1: Open a new tab and click the Customize button located in the bottom right corner.

Step 2: Within the Background category, an in-browser window should appear. Choose Color and Theme, listed on the left-hand side.

Step 3: Select a two-color swatch.

Step 4: Click the Done button to finalize your change.

Note: You can see the current theme you have installed from the Chrome Web Store above the list of color swatches. To install a new theme, click on the arrow button to open the store.

If you want to clear the current theme, simply click the Uninstall button. The options about the color swatches won’t appear unless you don’t currently have a theme installed – in which case you should follow the steps in the first part of these instructions.

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