How-To Geek

How to Customize the New Tab Page in Chrome

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For most people, the default New Tab Page in Chrome works perfectly well for their purposes. But if you would prefer to choose what opens in a new tab for yourself, then we have some alternative solutions for you.

By default, when you open a new tab in Chrome, you see a search bar, Google’s logo, and thumbnail tiles of the sites you’ve visited most often. However, you can customize the default new tab page a bit (not much), set the New Tab page to a blank page, choose a custom URL to display, or install an extension that adds functionality to the New Tab page. Read on to find out what works best for you.

Customize the Default New Tab Page

Let’s start with Chrome’s default New Tab page. Chrome will automatically add links to webpages you’ve visited most often as tiles. The only way you can customize the default New Tab page is by deleting tiles from the page. To do this, move your mouse over the tile you want to delete and click the “X” button that becomes available in the upper-right corner of the tile.

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A message displays at the bottom of the New Tab page that the thumbnail was removed. You can get the thumbnail back by clicking the “Undo” link.

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The tiles are created from your browsing history. When a tile is deleted, the associated link in your browsing history is not deleted. So, if you want to restore all the tiles you’ve deleted, you can do so by clicking the “Restore all” link at the bottom of the New Tab page.

The message and links at the bottom of the New Tab page go away after a bit, but you can click the “X” to remove them manually.

Display a Blank Page

If you don’t want anything on the New Tab page, you can make it blank. There are two simple extensions that will give you a blank New Tab page.

The Blank New Tab Page extension does exactly what it says: when you open a new tab, it is completely blank.

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Blank New Tab Page with Bookmarks Bar is self-explanatory as well. Unlike Blank New Tab Page, this extension will show you a blank page with your bookmarks bar along the top. Even if you have the Bookmarks bar off (Chrome menu > Bookmarks > Show bookmarks bar [not checked]), it’ll show your bookmarks temporarily on the new tab page, which can be handy.

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Add Your Own URL

You can also display one of your favorite sites, such as How-To Geek, on the New Tab page. However, this is not a built-in feature in Chrome, so we need to install an extension. The simplest one we found that works well is Replace New Tab Page.

Install the Replace New Tab Page extension and then click on the button that’s added to the toolbar. Select “Options” from the drop-down menu.

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Enter the URL for the webpage you want to display on the New Tab page in the edit box and click “Save”

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The next time you open a new tab, the URL you chose displays on the New Tab page.

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Enhance the New Tab Page with Additional Functionality

Other extensions create their own New Tab pages entirely, with different features and lots of customization, such as adding and rearranging the tiles on the page, displaying your bookmarks and recently closed tabs, and changing the background and style of the page,

We tested out several extensions that enhance the New Tab page and found one, called Humble New Tab Page, that has several useful features that display on a new tab in a simple, easy-to-use layout. It displays items such as your bookmarks, most visited sites, apps, recent bookmarks, recently closed tabs, and even the weather.

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Install the Humble New Tab Page extension, open a new tab, and then click the small wrench icon in the upper-right corner of the page to access the Options.

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A popup window with four tabs displays on the right side of the page. The Settings tab allows to change Settings at the top, choose which Content to display on the New Tab page, and specify a location and Celsius or Fahrenheit for the weather, if you choose to display that. There is a button on the toolbar that provides access to the Options popup window as well.

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You can change the look and style using the Appearance tab. Set the font, colors, layout, highlights, and animation. You can even choose your own background image.

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If you want to use this extension in another profile or on another computer, you can back up your settings. To do so, click the “Import/Export” tab on the Settings popup. Select the text in the Export Settings box, copy it, paste it into a text file, and save it. To restore your settings, copy the settings from the text file and pasted the text into the Import Settings box.

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For those of you who have experience with cascading style sheets, you can use them to further customize the look of the New Tab page. To do this, copy the CSS code from the Generated CSS box, change the values in a text editor, and then copy and paste the revised CSS code into the Custom CSS box.

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You can also rearrange the items on the page by dragging and dropping them. You’ll see a black line indicating where the item will be placed. You can even create additional columns by dragging and dropping an item until you see a vertical black line.

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There are many other extensions available in the Chrome Web Store that allow you to customize the New Tab page in various ways. Browse around if none of the above fit your style; you’re sure to find something you like.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 08/5/16

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