How to create a custom Chrome theme

You can download themes for Chrome from the Chrome Web Store. There is a fairly decent number of themes available but not enough variety that you’ll always find something you like. Chrome does let you create simple color-based themes from the new tab page, and you have the freedom to set any image of your choice as the background for the new tab page. That said, if you’d like to create a custom Chrome theme, you can use ThemeBeta. It’s a free web app that offers a simple GUI for creating a basic Chrome theme, or if you’re interested, a simple Windows 10 theme.

Custom Chrome theme

The themes that ThemeBeta allows you to create have a background image for the new tab page, and a color theme for the browser. The app will automatically detect the colors in the image that you use as the background/wallpaper and offer you a set of colors for your theme. The selection looks good but you have complete freedom to change any of the colors.

One thing you should be careful about is the image that you used. It shouldn’t be too large in terms of pixel size. It is best to resize the image so that it fits the width of your screen perfectly.

Visit ThemeBeta, and click Upload an image. Select the image you’d like to use as the background for the new tab page. Once the image has been uploaded, you can use the options below the preview window to change how it is positioned. ThemeBeta will automatically start creating a color theme from the image. This can take a bit of time so be patient. Once the colors have been generated, the ‘Pack and Install’ option will become active.

Before you click on the pack button, go to the Colors tab and change any colors you do not like. Click a color box and the preview will highlight the element that you’re picking the color for in red. Once you’re done, go to the Pack tab and click the Pack and Download option.

This will download a CRX file. To install it, open the Extensions page in Chrome, and enable Developer mode from the switch at the top right. Once enabled, drag & drop the CRX file that was downloaded earlier on to the Extensions’ page. You’ll see a pop-up confirming if you want to install the theme, and it will be installed.

The theme, once installed, cannot be edited unless you know how to edit the CRX file directly. You can always go back to ThemeBeta and recreate it with the changes you need to make.

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How to enable tab grouping in Chrome

Tab management has always been something of a challenge in browsers. Tabbed browsing itself is great and shortly after the feature appeared in popular browsers, it was clear that it wasn’t going anywhere. It is far too convenient a way to browse the internet even if managing a lot of tabs can get tedious. For the most part, users make do by grouping tabs into windows; each window contains tabs for a different project or task. If you’d like to group tabs within a window, you can enable a flag in Chrome that adds color-based tab grouping to the browser.

Note: This feature may also be available in Chromium-based browsers.

Tab grouping in Chrome

Open Chrome and in the URL bar, enter the following. Tap Enter.

chrome://flags

This will take you to the Flags page. Use the search bar on this page to look for a flag called ‘Tab groups’. When you find it, open the dropdown next to it and select the ‘Enabled’ option. Click the Relaunch button to relaunch Chrome and apply the new state of the flag.

Now that tab grouping has been enabled, you can start using it. To group tabs, select one tab, hold down the Ctrl key, and then click other tabs that you want to select and add to the same group. Once you’ve selected the tabs, right-click any one of them and select the Add to new group option from the context menu. Repeat this process to create additional tab groups. A single tab can only be part of one group.

Tabs, once grouped, will be moved together and two different tab groups will be differentiated by a colored dot.

You can move tabs from one group to another and remove a tab from a group without adding it to one. To move a tab from one group to another, right-click it and select the ‘Add to existing group’ option. Select the group you want to move the tab to. To remove a tab from a group, right-click it and select the ‘Remove from group’ option.

Tab group colors are assigned by Chrome but if you click the dot that’s added after a group has been created, you can select the color of the tab group. These groups can also be named from the color customization pop-up. You will see a text box that looks as though it’s for searching for a color but the text that you enter in it becomes the ‘name’ of the group. You can change the group name any time you like but the longer the name, the more space it will take up on the tab bar.

Tab groups exist within a window. If you drag a group out of its window into a different window, or a new window, the groups will disappear. When you close and reopen a window, the tab groups are retained.

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How to share the clipboard across Chrome browsers

Clipboards are a feature you can find on both desktops and smartphones. They’re basic and exceptionally useful for copying text as well as images and files. Often, users need to share text not just between apps on a single device but also between multiple devices. If you happen to use only Apple products, you can use the shared clipboard but, if you’re trying to share clipboard content between a Mac and Windows PC, you’re likely emailing or messaging yourself the snippets. If you use Chrome though, you can enable its new shared clipboard feature and share clipboard entries across Chrome. Here’s how.

Share clipboard across Chrome browser

This feature works with Chrome sync. It works on Windows 10, macOS, and Android. Chrome for iOS does not support the feature yet but it is in the pipeline. Make sure you have Chrome installed, and sync enabled on at least two different devices and make sure you’re running Chrome 79, or later.

Open a new tab in Chrome and enter the following in the URL bar. Tap Enter.

chrome://flags

On the Chrome Flags page, you need to find the following three flags. Open the dropdown next to each flag, and select Enabled from it. Once you’re done, click the Relaunch button.

  • Enable receiver device to handle shared clipboard feature
  • Enable shared clipboard feature signals to be handled
  • Sync Clipboard Service

After you relaunch Chrome, open any webpage and select text. Right-click it and the context menu will have a ‘Copy to (device name)’ option. The Device name will, of course, be the other desktop or Android device that you have Chrome installed on. The device must be online i.e., connected to the internet though it does not need to be on the same network as the device you’re sending the text from.

Select the device you want to send the text to.

On the receiving device, you will get an alert from Chrome showing text has been sent. If you click the alert, the text will be copied to the clipboard and you can paste it anywhere you want.

This feature compliments the recent send links between devices feature that Chrome added. It’s an extension of the feature that is meant for sending links but unlike the link-sharing feature, this only works if the other device is also online. So far, text and link sharing have been covered. It may only be a matter of time before Chrome adds a way to share files.

As with most things related to the clipboard, we’re going to caution you about sharing sensitive information.

Read How to share the clipboard across Chrome browsers by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to disable Twitter infinite scroll in the browser

Twitter, like many social media services, has a timeline or feed. This feed loads older content by default the more you scroll down. You basically have a never-ending feed much like Facebook and Reddit. It makes it hard to actually stop browsing Twitter since there’s always something else to read. On the Twitter iOS and Android apps, the feed also reloads when there’s new content making it harder to put your phone away. You can disable the auto-refresh on the Twitter iOS and Android apps. On your desktop browser, you can use an extension/add-on to disable Twitter’s infinite scroll behavior.

Disable Twitter infinite scroll

In order to disable Twitter’s infinite scroll, you need to install an extension/add-on called Twitter Infinite Scroll Disabler which has about as descriptive a name as you can ask for. It’s available for both Chrome, and for Firefox.

Install it and when you reach the end of however many tweets have loaded so far in your timeline, you will see a ‘Show more’ option. Click it, and more tweets will load.

Twitter for web doesn’t automatically load new tweets. You still have to tap the the comma key to load new tweets. Twitter Infinite Scroll Disabler is quite restrictive when it comes to not showing tweets. It doesn’t stop at the tweets that may have already loaded. Instead, it draws the line at the visible tweets. This means that if you scroll further down, any tweets that did not fit inside the browser window will be hidden until you click ‘Show More’. In some cases, it will show more tweets e.g., when the tweets appear to have media attached and tend to take up more space on the screen.

Twitter Infinite Scroll Disabler is newly developed so as yet, it doesn’t have any options to change how many tweets are loaded by default. There’s also no keyboard shortcut support just yet for loading older tweets. It also doesn’t have a toggle option to enable/disable it on the fly which might be useful. Twitter is a social media platform but it’s not always a waste of time. Often it’s a good place to follow a trending topic which is why an on/off toggle can be useful.

Twitter Infinite Scroll Disabler is available for Chrome which means if you’re running the new Edge based on Chromium, you ought to be able to install the extension in it as well. The extension is not available for Safari on macOS.

Read How to disable Twitter infinite scroll in the browser by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to change the language in Chrome

Browsers, much like operating systems on desktops and mobiles, support multiple languages. Some browsers may only support a handful of common languages while others may support more. Chrome is unique in that it’s a Google product and Google also owns Android which is a mobile operating system available in lots of different languages. In fact, language support on Android is much better than it is on iOS and Google can leverage it for its desktop browser. Here’s how you can change the language in Chrome on your desktop.

Change the language in Chrome

Open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. It’s the one that has three dots. From the menu that opens, select Settings.

On the Settings page, scroll to the very end and click ‘Advanced’ to reveal the advanced settings. Once the advanced settings have been revealed, scroll down to the languages section. Here, you will see the language that’s currently in use. Click the arrow next to it. The option will expand and reveal an ‘Add language’ button. Click it.

Use the search bar to look for the language that you want to add.

Chrome can support multiple languages so you’re free to add as many as you like however, the browser doesn’t offer full support for all languages. To prioritize one language over the other, click the more options next to a language and select the Move up option.

For some languages, though admittedly not all of them, you will also see an option ‘Display Google Chrome in this language’. When you select this option, the UI of the browser will change so that it is displayed in this language. For languages that the option is greyed out for, it means that Chrome doesn’t support the UI in that language. There isn’t anything you can do about this. Google will have to add support for this language. The GUI language is basically which language the various buttons and labels appear in, in the browser.

It is odd that Chrome on the desktop does not have as vast language support as Android does. Android’s entire interface can switch over to some of the languages we tested this out with but Chrome does not have that same level of support.

Languages are respected by various websites that you visit e.g., if you select a language and a certain website supports it, you will be able to see the website in that language.

Read How to change the language in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter