Google Docs is forever adding new features. For example, the ability to insert links and other elements simply by typing the “@” symbol or to add text above or behind an image. And, of course, these are some of the things that make it one of the best word processors for Android. Or on the web. But the basics are still important too. Such as the fact that you can change the background or page color in Google Docs.
Now, the most common reason to change the page color — or background color — in Google Docs is probably going to be eye strain. Especially for those who are using “dark” or “night” mode-theming elsewhere to alleviate that. After all, loading up Google Docs presents you with an almost purely white screen.
But some may also want to change the color for thematic or presentation purposes. Maybe a grey or black color works better from a design or aesthetic perspective and you’re not making a text-heavy document. Or, perhaps, you’re looking to give your document a bit of color to make it more fun for children to read.
Whatever your reason, the ability to change the color is incredibly useful, if not the most intuitive feature to find. So let’s dig in and see how this works.
You can change the background color in Google Docs
First, it’s worth pointing out that you can actually change the background or page color in Google Docs directly from your phone. Rather than just on your computer or Chromebook. But you’ll have more options on your computer. At least for now.
Additionally, this doesn’t change the page background unless you’re working in the “Pageless” view. If you’re working in the default “Pages” view, where pages are shown with a background-style border, it will change the color of your page. Not the background behind that.
Now, it’s also worth noting that this is quite different from the dark mode theming available for Google Docs and other Workspace files. In fact, this will change the entire background color to effectively any color you’re comfortable working in. But it also isn’t widely rolled out just yet. So you may not yet see it on your mobile device.
For computers, there appears to be a wider array of colors available as well. As shown in the example images below our guide.
Fortunately, regardless of where you’re editing Google Docs, the option appears in exactly the same place. With one or two minor caveats we’ll discuss directly in the steps below. So you shouldn’t need a separate how-to guide.
Here’s how to change the page color
- The first thing you’ll need to do is to open up a Google Docs file. It won’t matter whether you’re on your computer or mobile device. This step will remain the same
- Next, you’ll select the “File” option at the top of the page. If you’re on a mobile device, you’ll need to select the three-vertical-dot icon instead. That’s located at the top right-hand side of the UI
- In the resulting menu, regardless of platform, select “Page setup.” On mobile, there’s also an option to “View in Light” or “Dark” mode. Depending on which of the modes you’re currently using. You can forego that option as that’s something else entirely
- In the Page setup menu, select “Page color” if you’re in the “Pages” view. If you’re in Pageless view, you’ll need to look for “Background color” instead
- On your computer, you’ll be presented with an array of preset colors and a “Custom” option. On mobile, you’ll only have the presets. Select the color you’d like to use. You can choose essentially any color on a desktop platform
- If you’re on a mobile device or tablet, tap the back arrow at the top left-hand side of the screen to confirm your selection. On a computer, you’ll need to select the “Ok” button to confirm your selection and apply the change
- Your page will now be shown in the color option you’ve selected. It’s worth noting, at this point, that choosing a different color than the default won’t change the color of text or other on-page elements. So, for example, choosing a black background will make black text and images effectively disappear. You’ll need to change those accordingly or select a background color accordingly