How to customise your Chrome Browser on Chrome OS

By - Dan Millward

Updated -

When it comes to Chrome OS the customisation options you have available are rather limited. This is a deliberate move to ensure Chrome OS stays streamlined. The good news is the operating system has offered more customisation options over time. This will only continue as the team at Google work hard to offer us more options in the future.

If you do like customising your computer then you don’t need to worry. As you do have options available to you. One of these options is to give your Chrome browser a bit of a revamp. We use the internet a lot when using our computers. Therefore, we tend to open our Chrome browser many times throughout the day.

The default Chrome browser provides us with a very familiar but rather boring white background. When you consider how often we look at this screen throughout the day. It makes sense you may want to change your Chrome browser background.

Chrome browser in Chrome OS with white background
The Chrome browser and the familiar white background

Choose a colour theme

When you open the ‘customise Chrome’ menu you’ll be placed on the background tab. It’s very easy to immediately start looking at the images available. However, I would recommend looking at the colour and theme options first. You may decide a change in colours is all you need.

Chrome browser with blue colour theme
Chrome browser with the blue colour theme selected

Another reason why I’d recommend looking at the colours first is that changing these colours isn’t an either-or option. You can change the colour options and leave it like that or you can then go on to adding an image as well. This can dramatically change how your Chrome browser appears.

Chrome browser with dark blue colour scheme and a dark blue image to match
Matching a colour scheme with an image can give you a great look

By doing this it allows you to choose a specific colour scheme that will match the image you also choose. If you play about with this you can get a really striking colour scheme and image combination. Something similar to the image above. I’ve chosen a dark blue colour scheme, which goes perfectly with the dark evening mountain view image selected.

Add an image to your Chrome Browser

One of the easiest ways to customise your browser is by adding a background picture. Adding a background picture immediately removes the cold white background that we see every day. You can choose from a selection of images provided by Chrome or you can choose your own.

There is a wide selection of default images you can choose from. This is the easiest way of customising your browser without having to invest too much time. The great thing about the default images is the quality. These images are of excellent quality, which means you’ll end up with a great new look for your Chrome browser.

Some of the categories of pictures you can choose from:

  • Latino Artists collection
  • Black Artists collection
  • Landscapes
  • Textures
  • Life
  • Earth
  • Art
  • Cityscapes
  • Geometric shapes
  • Seascapes
  • Solid colours

Refresh images Daily

Another benefit of choosing a default image is it also gives you the option to refresh them. Instead of having to manually change the image when you get a bit bored of looking at it every day. If you choose a default image you’ll also see an option to refresh the image, so you see a new image each day.

This is great if you like variety and don’t want to look at the same old image each time you open your browser. It will also save you time because you don’t need to worry about doing anything yourself. Simply set it, and forget about it. Perfect if you’re far too busy to choose your own images.

Refresh Chrome browser images daily
Choosing default images allows you to refresh daily

When you choose to refresh the images daily. It will refresh the images in the category you chose the picture from. This means you will get to a stage where you’ll start seeing the same images again. This isn’t necessarily an issue. However, you could simply go back and choose a new category, and make sure you hit the ‘refresh daily button’. You’ll then have a whole set of new images to look at each day.

Chrome browser with background image
Give your Chrome browser a facelift by adding a background image

How to customise the Chrome Browser

It’s really easy to start customising your Chrome browser. Simply open your Chrome browser and at the bottom right of the window you should see a ‘pen’ icon or text with ‘Customise Chrome‘. Simply click on this icon and you’ll be presented with something similar to what you can see below.

The menu after selecting customise chrome
What you see when you select ‘Customise Chrome’

Go further by adding a video to Chrome

The options I’ve mentioned above give you a great way to customise your Chrome browser. However, you can go even further by adding a video to the Chrome browser background. Again, if you add a video and also match the colour scheme to that video. You’ll end up with a really nice visual.

You do not have the option to add typical video files such as WebM, AVI or MP4. This is because the customisation tool is for images only. However, you can still do this by adding a GIF. A GIF is officially an image file, but it uses frames, which means they can also be videos.

OTHER WAYS TO CUSTOMISE YOUR CHROMEBOOK

Typically, GIFs are much smaller in file size than video files. You can choose a GIF from searching on Google. Once you’ve found the one you like simply download it. The issue with this is a lot of GIFs online are of low resolution to help keep the file size low. This means they are usually in low resolution, and this will then stretch the video to match your screen resolution. This will lower the quality of the video when adding it to your Chrome browser.

Once you have a GIF downloaded you can choose this by simply choosing the ‘upload from device’ option when you have the background tab selected. Because a GIF is classed as an image it will appear the same as any other image you have on your Chromebook or Chromebox.

How to make your own GIF video

As I’ve already mentioned most of the GIFs available online are not very good quality. Therefore, they may not look very good when used as a background on your Chrome browser.

You can easily create your own GIF file, and it’s much easier to do than you may think. To help with this I’ve created a video on how to add a video to your Chrome browser. This video will also show you how to make your own GIF video.

A word of warning. I would strongly recommend not to get carried away when choosing a video. You ideally want to look for a video of about ten seconds at the most. If your final GIF file is too large, anything above 100MB. Then you may end up impacting performance.

Summary

Whether you choose to make your own GIF video or simply change the colour scheme. You’ll find customising your Chrome browser helps to change things up a bit. I don’t know about you, but I do get bored of looking at the same images every day.

It’s a really good way to customise our Chrome OS computers. I’m sure once you’ve changed how your Chrome browser looks. You’ll never want to go back to the default look.

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