Chrome OS isn’t the operating system with the most options, but there are a few things you can do to make your Chromebook’s desktop look and work the way you want it to.
Customize your Chromebook’s wallpaper
First, let’s tackle the basic appearance of your desktop:
- Right-click anywhere on your Chromebook’s desktop and select Set wallpaper from the menu that appears.
- Click on one of the Google categories to view a selection of preset images, or click on the My images option to select an image from your own local storage.
- If you want your wallpaper to change to a new image every day, click Change daily Button available at the top of every Google category page. (Sorry, this option is not currently available with your own images.)
Customize the background of your browser
You can also personalize the page that appears every time you open a new tab in your browser:
- Open a new tab in Chrome and click the Customize Chrome button (or pencil icon) in the lower-right corner of the browser.
- Choose background to select an image from the Google collection or Upload from device to select an image from your own local storage, then follow the prompts to locate and confirm the image you want.
- Choose color and theme to change the look of your browser’s frame and background. You can choose from a number of preset themes, or click the eyedropper circle and choose custom colors.
Customize the shelf of your Chromebook
Last but not least, take control of the Chrome OS shelf – the Dock-like row of shortcuts at the bottom of the screen. First, choose exactly what icons appear in this pane:
- Open your app drawer (by clicking the circle icon in the bottom left corner of the screen and then clicking the up arrow on the sub-drawer that appears). Right-click and select any item in the list Pin to shelf.
- To add a website, open the website, click the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner of Chrome, and then select More toolsfollowed by create link.
If you want the website to open in an app-like window without the usual browser elements at the top, click the Open as a window option in the Create link? pop-up window that appears. Then click on the blue Create Button.
- Drag and drop any of the icons in the tray to change their position.
- Have you decided that you don’t want the icon on your shelf after all? Right-click the icon and select it Solve.
And one last couple of options, if you want your shelf to appear on the left or right side of your screen instead of below, right-click anywhere in it, select shelf positionthen select Left or Right. And if you want your shelf to stay hidden by default and only show when you mouse over it, right-click the shelf and select Auto hide shelf Possibility.
Update from May 27, 2022 9:30am ET: This article was originally published on October 12, 2019 and has been updated to reflect minor changes in the operating system.