A Guide to Customizing the New Tab Page in Google Chrome

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Browsers have come a long way and evolved with time to make their interfaces contained, easy to use and have enhanced features. But the default new tab page in all the browsers doesn’t seem to reflect that. I mean, it’s either blank or will have a thumbnail of recently visited sites… but that gets boring after a while.

Take Chrome’s new tab page for instance. It has got a sliding interface for apps installed from Chrome store and most visited websites and this does help us enhance browsing experience. But then you might have wished to do more with the new tab. This is exactly what we’ll talk about today. We’ll talk about ways to customize Chrome’s new tab page and also invite opinions from you in the comments to suggest more such methods. Let us begin.

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Open Specific Website

So far all browsers let you customize the homepage to open a specific website when you launch your browser. However, I haven’t come across a similar offering on new tabs. Though there are other options that you can play with, you might just be missing this feature.

New-Tab-Extension

No issues, there is an extension for Chrome named Replace New Tab Page which can emulate such a behavior for your new tabs. Install the extension and read our detailed article (shows how to do it on Firefox as well) to learn the use and setup.

Create Thumbnail Bookmarks

Speed Dial is a bookmarking extension for Chrome. The good thing it brings along is that it lets you map your bookmarks as visual thumbnails. It overrides the original tab behavior and allows more than 8 thumbnails. The interface also shows a bookmarks toolbar imitating the default one. At the bottom it has a recently visited bar that stacks recent items.

Speed-Dial-Interface

To add a new thumbnail bookmark you may click on any empty dial. The next splash will ask you to define a Title, URL and Logo of which only URL is mandatory.

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Add-a-Thumbnail

Alternatively, for any current page you may follow the Speed Dial Icon on towards the end of the address bar. Choose the option Add Current Page to see its thumbnail appear.

Add-Current-Page

There are a couple of options to set on the extension. You may choose the row-column size, select a theme or background and check/uncheck interface elements.

Speed-Dial-Options

Customize Chrome’s Original New Tab Interface

The new tab interface has an Apps bar and a Most Visited bar towards the bottom. A user may toggle between them as per requirements. Now, if you wish you may add more bars to it and create a map of bookmarks. For instance I have a Favorite section created for all my bookmarks.

Create-New-Bar

To create a new bar, drag any link to the area and you will find that an additional apps bar appears. Next, double click on the text and rename your interface.

Conclusion

These are pretty decent ways to spice up new tab behavior on Chrome. If you have knowledge about something similar and useful, do let us know in the comments section. Tell us if you would like to see similar stuff for Firefox.

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  • Jollymoon

    I always thought all these cool extensions just slowed down the browser… Seems ok so far…

  • miles__ahead

    I used Speed-dial for quote awhile but became frustrated when I found I had to make the browser window larger and larger to see detail in the thumbnails. I found Speed-Dial2 includes the Title in the thumbnail, allowing it to use larger thumbnails in the same size window. Other than that they are pretty much the same. But it’s just easier to recognize which dial is which with Speed-Dial2.

  • Shweta

    i am not getting theme background to new tab i want to get theme background to new tab what should i do? i a getting white background.

    • San_aggg

      Did you try this: Bring up a new tab -> It will show the new tab interface as per the add-on -> Click on Options -> Select a color from under the Themes section -> Hit on Save and Close (on the bottom of the interface) -> Bring up another new tab (your theme/color should show)

  • Flo

    I really want to have more thumbnails on the tab page, 12 would be perfect. I use firefox. How soon can i expect this feature to roll out please?

  • Arjen

    With http://www.yourls.com you can create your own new tab page with your favorite links. They also have a Google Chrome plugin. works perfect!

  • Cuem

    It’s good article. Thanks

  • Tristan Comley

    There’s a more customizable way that I thought people may want to know about.. here’s an example of a fully customizable way for everyone :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTLaAe8MzB4

  • Nikos

    Thank you very much,that was exactly what i wanted..change the pages in the squares in the New Tab and i couldn’t find it anywhere else!

  • Diane Nowak

    what i am trying to accomplish is a new tab with no thumbnails, just my theme. is this possible??

  • Sanjchy

    Thumbnails of the most visited web sites on google chrome new tab’s page have suddenly shrunk in size,but only the thumbnails,nothing else,and i haven’t changed anything. what should i do to get their size back again in normal?

  • christian campbell

    I made a video about resetting gmails new tab page back to original .the video is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft-tdYBwds8. Your post was great and very informative by the way

  • softnook

    Thanks!