While Chrome has long been customizable via themes from the Chrome Web Store, it’s not been easy for the average person to personalize their browser to their own unique tastes. Google is looking to fix this with a built-in easy-to-use custom theme generator for Chrome.

Traditional themes, as found in the Chrome Web Store, allow for in-depth customization including background and toolbar images. However, many of the most popular themes, including the ones recently published by Google itself, only adjust the browser’s color scheme. To that end, Google has already begun to include a significant number of built-in color-based themes, behind a pair of flags, that make customizing Chrome as simple as can be.

However, up to this point, if you wanted a custom color scheme outside of what’s available in the Chrome Web Store, you needed to create a Chrome extension. Needless to say, most people would not be willing to go through this effort.

According to a pair of recent code changes in Chromium, it seems Google is catering to customizers by developing a built-in theme generator for Chrome. In the code, we see that there will be a new flag in chrome://flags related to “Chrome Colors,” making for a total of three flags necessary to enable these custom themes.

Custom color picker for Chrome Colors menu

Show custom color picker in Chrome Colors menu.


Once enabled, a “custom color picker” will appear in the “Color and theme” page in the Chrome New Tab Page’s “Customize” menu. Clicking it opens to your operating system’s native color selector, which you’ll use to select a single base color for your theme, and Chrome will handle the rest.

Using your chosen color as a baseline, Chrome will build a custom theme with a similar color for the toolbar and a complementary color for the Google logo on the New Tab Page. Under the hood, this is the same process used by Google’s built-in themes, which each only pick one color.

Update 8/2: The folks at Techdows have spotted that Chrome’s custom theme generator is now live in the latest Canary builds on desktop. While Canary is currently on Chrome 78, custom themes are currently planned to launch alongside the “Color and theme” menu in Chrome 77, according to the Chromium bug tracker.

The images above have been updated to reflect Chrome’s real custom color theme options.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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