Chrome OS isn’t the most option-packed oper­at­ing sys­tem around, but there are some things you can do to make your Chromebook’s desk­top look and work the way you want.


Cus­tomize your Chromebook’s wall­pa­per

First, let’s tack­le your desktop’s basic appear­ance:

Right-click any­where on your Chromebook’s desk­top and select “Set wall­pa­per” from the menu that appears. Click through Google’s cat­e­gories to select an image, or click the “My Images” option at the bot­tom of the list to choose an image from your own local stor­age. If you want your wall­pa­per to change to a new image every day, click the “Dai­ly Refresh” tog­gle that’s avail­able on the first thumb­nail of any of Google’s cat­e­gories. (That option, unfor­tu­nate­ly, isn’t cur­rent­ly avail­able with your own images.) Cus­tomize your browser’s back­ground

You can also per­son­al­ize the page that comes up every time you open a new tab in your brows­er:

Open a new tab in Chrome and click the “Cus­tomize” but­ton (or the pen­cil icon) in the browser’s low­er right cor­ner. Select “Chrome back­grounds” to choose an image from Google’s col­lec­tion or “Upload an image” to pick an image from your own local stor­age, then fol­low the prompts to find and con­firm the image you want. Cus­tomize your browser’s theme

Google has promised that soon you’ll be able to click that same “Cus­tomize” but­ton and pick a cus­tom theme that’ll change the col­ors of your browser’s tab and tool­bar area. Until then, how­ev­er, if you want a theme for your brows­er, you’ll have to down­load it from the Chrome Web Store.

For now:

Open the “Themes” sec­tion of the Chrome Web Store. Find a theme you like, click it, and then click the “Add to Chrome” but­ton. Cus­tomize your Chromebook’s shelf

Last but not least, take con­trol of the Chrome OS shelf — the dock-like row of short­cuts at the bot­tom of your screen. Start by select­ing exact­ly what icons appear in that area:

Open your app draw­er (by click­ing the cir­cle icon in the low­er-left cor­ner of the screen and then click­ing the upward-fac­ing arrow on the par­tial draw­er that appears). Right-click any item in the list and select “Pin to shelf.” If you want to add a web­site, open the site, click the three-dot menu icon in Chrome’s upper right cor­ner, and then select “More tools” fol­lowed by “Cre­ate short­cut.”

If you want the site to open in an app-like win­dow, with­out the usu­al brows­er ele­ments on top, click the “Open as win­dow” option in the “Cre­ate short­cut?” pop-up win­dow that appears. Then click the blue “Cre­ate” but­ton.

Drag and drop any of the icons in the shelf to change their posi­tion. Have you decid­ed that you don’t want the icon in your shelf after all? Right-click on the icon and select “Unpin.”

And one final pair of pos­si­bil­i­ties: If you want your shelf to appear on the left or right side of your screen instead of at the bot­tom, right-click any­where inside it, select “Shelf posi­tion,” then select “Left” or “Right.” And if you want your shelf to remain hid­den by default and appear only when you mouse over it, right-click the shelf and select the “Auto­hide shelf” option.

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