How To Theme Chrome On Almost Anything

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Google Chrome is by far the most popular browser on just about any platform but that doesn't mean your Chrome has to look like everybody else's, thanks to a couple of easy-to-use theme-related options. There are two methods, in particular, that can aid that. Those are themes in the Chrome Web Store and Chrome Colors.

Both options will work on just about every platform aside from Android and iOS. Google hasn't quite made it around to allowing themes on the mobile platform just yet. Each also comes with its own caveats. For instance, neither allows the menu or sub-menu UI to be altered. They only change the surface appearance of the browser. But for those who really just want something different, that isn't too hard to accomplish at any skill level.

The Chrome Web Store

The most straightforward way to theme Chrome is going to be via the Chrome Web Store. That's because Google has, since very early on, made theming a possibility with Chrome. So the store itself has many themes to select from, developed by a huge number of developers and designers. Those are housed in their own section of the website.

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There are a number of categories to choose from and the themes aren't necessarily well-organized. But the company makes up for that by including some of its own takes on customization too. Without further ado, let's dig into how to get to the Chrome Web Store and how to apply a theme.

Getting to the Chrome Web Store

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The Chrome Web Store can be found by searching Google or by URL

Now, the easiest way to get to the Chrome Web Store is going to vary from user to user. The URL address of the store is "chrome.google.com/webstore." For any desktop platform, it's fairly easy to find themes at that URL. But the store can also easily be found via a simple Google search for those that have a more difficult time remembering URLs.

Typing Chrome Web Store into a Google search will bring up the appropriate link as the first search result. Clicking on that will pull forward the page, with extensions loaded up by default.

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Themes are right in the sidebar

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Chrome Web Store has a dedicated "Theme" section

Finding themes on that page is as easy as looking to the sidebar on the page UI. That's found at the left-hand side of the screen, just below extensions. There's a search bar just above that if you happen to know a specific theme you're looking for.

Google Themes are at the top, with categories set in sections below

Once "Themes" has been clicked, the page UI will change to show only themes. The sidebar UI will have changed too but we'll get to that momentarily. For now, the main area of focus is going to be on the sorted categories. Google itself has made themes of its own available for users to choose from. Those are found in the first category, with each category showing all of the top options.

Next to the category title, Google's Chrome Web Store embeds a "View All" button. Clicking on that reveals more themes within the category. To begin with, only the top themes from a given category are shown. Clicking on a given theme will pull forward a storefront menu for downloading and applying the themes. That comes complete with a tab for reviews and another for related themes.

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To apply a theme, users just need to click the "Add to Chrome" button. The changes will be applied automatically.

Sorting isn't great but is still possible

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Chrome Web Store's sidebar allows theme searching and sorting

The categories themselves won't necessarily stay the same over time, making the search bar more important. Users can find a specific theme they're looking for by entering a related search term. After searching, the bubble next to the "Themes" option, just below the search bar, needs to be selected.

Whether in the Themes section or following a search and selecting "Themes," the sidebar will change to offer more sorting solutions. Now, that's not going to be too intensive or even necessarily helpful but that doesn't make it pointless. Users can select from the sidebar UI to sort by "Artist" or only show results "By Google."

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Conversely, themes can also be sorted by star rating so that only the most consistent and highly-regarded themes are shown. That will also help weed out themes that aren't necessarily coded to work properly or that aren't well maintained across versions of Chrome.

Via Chrome Colors

Finding the Chrome Colors options

The second method for applying a theme Google's browser is Chrome Colors. This newer approach isn't quite as extensive in terms of tab bar customization. But it is the new official way to get the task done.

That doesn't mean its all that easy to find.

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Google hid away its Chrome Colors menu in the new page UI. That means that locating it requires users to open up a new tab. That can be accomplished by tapping the "plus" symbol in the tab bar. Conversely, users can click the three-dot menu in Chrome, located at the top-right-hand side of the interface, before selecting the "New tab" option. Holding down the "Ctrl" key and pressing the "t" key will have the same effect.

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Chrome Colors is tucked neatly away behind a pencil-shaped icon at the bottom right-hand side

On the new page, Google tucked Chrome Colors under a pencil icon at the bottom-right-hand side of the UI. Clicking that icon will bring Chrome Colors forward.

Applying a background image

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Chrome Colors allows custom or daily updating wallpapers in the new page UI

The first section of Chrome Colors that Google brings forward is the option for a background image. That image will only apply to new pages but it's nice to have choices there for those who see that page a lot.

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The options are loaded into categories such as Landscapes, Textures, Life, Earth, Art, Cityscapes, and more. Google has also included a blank background image that just shows a white page, as well as the ability to upload an image. Within each category, Chrome lets users either select or deselect a toggle labeled "Refresh daily." That does precisely what's implied. It swaps out wallpapers on a daily basis within that category.

Once a wallpaper has been selected or uploaded, users simply need to click "Done" to apply that to the new page UI. Clicking "Cancel" will leave the tool with changes unsaved.

Applying a color theme

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Chrome Colors offers an array of theme colors and accents, including custom colors

Changing up the colors of tabs, bookmarks bar, and other toolbars in Chrome is fairly straightforward too. Navigating to Chrome Colors, following the steps above, users need to select the "Color and theme" option. That's located on the left-hand side of the UI.

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Once that's selected, Google lays out 23 custom color options. That's one color and one accent color split across the UI. Those range from minimalist grays, blacks, and whites to more colorful blues, greens, pinks, reds, and purples.

There's also one final option that allows users to pick their own color and automatically assigns a lighter accent color. Clicking "Done" once an option has been decided on will apply the theme.