How to Personalize Your Gmail with Themes!

Q. I learned a lot from your recent infographic on Gmail. It turns out I didn’t know as much as I thought I did about Gmail. I had no idea about Undo Send, very cool!

I also learned that I can change the look of my Gmail by using themes but I don’t know how to do that. Can you do an article on how to use themes with Gmail?

➤ See, How Much Do You Know About Gmail? [Infographic]

A. Sure. If you use Gmail you may as well make the most of the experience by using themes. Instead of staring at a colorless page, you can enrich your experience by choosing an appealing theme or even creating one of your own. Using a theme is easy and takes just a few steps to turn your Gmail into a personalized, beautiful experience.

How to Choose a Gmail Theme

Click on the Gear icon ⚙ in the upper right corner of Gmail and choose Themes from the drop-down menu:

The Themes page shows you a variety of choices, including color, HD and classic themes. You can choose serene themes such as Mountain Tops or Ocean, or fun ones such as Candy, Ninja or High Score. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can choose Random.

Try out your new theme for a while. If you don’t like it, try another one. They’re free!

Your theme will show on Gmail using your computer. Your theme will not show on email apps or on emails that you send to others.

Light vs. Dark

Themes come in two flavors: light and dark. Dark themes have, well, a dark background with white font while light themes have a white background and black font. You can see whether themes are light or dark by the color of the bottom right corner of the thumbnail icon.

Dynamic Themes

Some scenery themes are dynamic and change with the time of day and/or the weather. If you enter your location, the theme will show changing scenes such as sunrise, sunset, daylight, night, sun, clouds, etc. You can enter your location at the bottom of the Themes page to set the theme to your time and weather.

Themes that change have a symbol in the bottom right corner of the thumbnail icon:

Custom Themes

Your choice of themes becomes virtually limitless if you decide to use a custom theme. Want to use your own photo of your adorable children, cute puppy or a French Girls selfie? Not a problem!

To create a custom theme, choose Custom Theme, Light or Dark from the Themes page. You can use your photos from your computer or the Internet. Google recommends you use a photo larger than 2560 x 1920 px.

➤ See, How to Resize an Image in 3 Easy Steps!

Sharing a Custom Theme

If you’re particularly pleased with your Custom Theme, you can share it with others. After you’ve created your theme, Google will ask you if you want to share it using a link, Google Plus, or Gmail.

Note that the image you use for your Custom Theme will be stored in either Picasa or Google Plus. If the image is deleted then your theme will be deleted too.

Finding Custom Themes

If you want to create a Custom Theme using other images, check out GmailSkins which has a gallery of high quality photos for using in Gmail Custom Themes. You can search the images by topic (nature, architecture, water, etc.) and sort them by popularity, date or title.

The photos are stunning, leave yourself plenty of time to browse.



When you find a photo you like, you can make it your new theme with just two clicks. Click on the picture you want, then click on Set as Gmail Background, Light or Dark.  Your Gmail page will open with a confirmation that this theme is your choice. Click OK and you’ll have your new theme!


You can share your images with GmailSkins. Just click on Upload a New Image to add your image to their gallery of themes. You can also share themes from GmailSkins on Google Plus.



Your Thoughts

Do you use a theme with Gmail? What theme do you use?Have you ever created your own Custom Theme? Have you checked out GmailSkins? Let us know in the Comments section below!


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  1. says

    Hey Carolyn,

    I use Gmail (but not as frequent as yahoo) but I recently found out how you can change the themes and get something you like. It was amazing.

    I knew you are able to create custom themes but what I didn’t know is the fact that you can share them. This looks like something I’ll get back to Gmail settings to check

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of information
    Enstine Muki recently published this awesome post..How To Edit A PDF Document ~ Soda PDF review!My Profile

  2. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    Informative post indeed :)

    Yes, I love the Gmail themes, though it’s been a while since I changed mine. I usually prefer the simple one without having any distractions as I work, as Gmail is my official email ID, and I fear if I get lost in themes, I’d just keep browsing all the good ones and adding them up :)

    But jokes apart, just as Enstine mentioned, and as is mentioned in your post, I didn’t know that you can even share the custom themes. Need to check that out and perhaps add a bit of color to my work life, after all why not.

    Thanks for sharing and the great reminder. Have a nice week ahead :)
    Harleena Singh recently published this awesome post..The Aha!NOW Chat with Berry Fowler [Interview]My Profile

    • says

      Hi Harleena, Yes, since you use Gmail for your work email you could make a theme with your logo and share that!

      I agree it’s best not to have a theme that is distracting. If a theme has too many colors and shapes you may not be able to read what’s in your sidebar. But if a theme gives you a sense of peace and serenity, then that would be a bonus!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Do Not Disturb – The iPhone Feature You Should Be UsingMy Profile

  3. says

    Hi Carolyn,
    I love this one – I just put the mountain theme on mine – it will be more relaxing to work now :) I never played with the themes before. I love the delete an email if you do within 5 minutes of sending, that’s a lifesaver.
    Thanks for sharing this with us and making it easy! Have a great week Carolyn.
    Lisa recently published this awesome post..What Do You Need to Inspire You as Inspire to Thrive Turns 3?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Lisa, Yes, I really like the Mountain theme. I used that one for quite a while. I really like the dynamic themes that change with the time of day and weather.

      You’re right, Undo Send can be a lifesaver, career saver, friendship saver, etc. Everyone who uses Gmail should set that up!

      Congratulations on 3 years blogging, Lisa! I read your article this morning and I will head back to comment. :-)
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Facebook’s New Save Feature — Find Important Stuff Later!My Profile

  4. says

    Hi Carolyn,
    To be true, I don’t use Gmail themes and I don’t even use the standard Gmail now. I just love to use the basic html (don’t know why). Well, my internet is 1 MBPS so that’s not the reason.
    Though my brother has a theme on his e-mail, he will surely love the tips you have shared regarding them.
    Anurag recently published this awesome post..Xiaomi Mi3 vs OnePlus One – ComparisonMy Profile

  5. says

    Hey Carolyn,

    You have make me aware about a new idea about G-mail modification.
    I was not aware about using any theme in my G-mail account.
    With this explanation I have come to a new thing about G-mail.

    Whenever I come to your blog you teach me a new stuff.

    Thanks a lot Carolyn for helping me to learn more.

    I hope you have an awesome weekend.:)

    Ravi Chahar recently published this awesome post..How To Install Akismet Properly So That It Works?My Profile

  6. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I did know about Gmail themes and I never liked any of those custom ones they gave. So, I always kept the default one in place.

    However, if somebody really wants to have some fund with these themes, some of those additional custom themes you’ve shared about, look great. Fancy choices for fancy people :-)

    Kumar Gauraw recently published this awesome post..7 Important Elements Of A Powerful About PageMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Kumar, Yes, the Gmail choices are limited which is why it’s great that you can create your own themes. I also really was impressed with the quality of themes available on GmailSkins. I also like how you can make any GmailSkin theme light or dark.

      You’re right, fancy people may like fancy themes, such as the dynamic themes or some of the beautiful photos on GmailSkins. People with more simple tastes may want to change the theme to a simple color. Because you can create your own theme easily you can get the theme that works best for you!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..How to Make Your Twitter Profile More Appealing in 1 Simple StepMy Profile

  7. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I had no idea you could personalize your Gmail with themes. I use Gmail all the time, but I’ve integrated it with Airmail on my mac. If not, I would check out the themes.


    • says

      Hi Jens, Yes, themes only work on the Gmail site, not on 3rd party apps. If you never go on Gmail directly you wouldn’t have a use for themes.

      I like using Gmail directly for features such as Undo Send, Rapportive and Boomerang though I use the Mail app on my iPhone so I can check more than one email account at once.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..8 Top Tips for Joining Group Pinterest Boards!My Profile

  8. Aditya Antil says

    Hi Carolyn,
    Although I use Gmail mostly but I haven’t tried any theme more than once. Just checked it how the mail looks. As sometimes I find it difficult to read mail as the transparency feature diverts the actual text to strike on my eyes. :p

    I love to keep it simple as professionally I don’t like to be colorful. But, yes they look quite good and freshen up the look of the old boring look of Gmail.

    Will checkout the Gmailskins for sure to see what it has in store for its users.

    • says

      Hi Aditya, Excellent point. As much as you might like a photo, you may not enjoy using it as a theme. If the photo is busy or hides text then it won’t make a good theme for you.

      The good news is that it’s very easy to try out themes to see if they work for you and go back to your old theme if they don’t!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..12 Must-Have Apps for Road Trip Fun!My Profile

  9. Sagar says

    Nice post

    themes have been introduced to G mail long back. G mail is one of the top most mail services used worldwide. I am currently using moon theme which is already present in the themes provide by it. The best part is that we can use custom themes. We can customize the theme by using our personal image or our friend group any. I do not find it much interesting because that theme can only be seen by us, as mail is our own and personal.

    Even though applying a theme gives us fresh look to our mail account . The above post explains on how to use a custom theme. I will surely try out the G mail skins

    Thank you for sharing.

  10. says

    Hey Carolyn,

    I have a custom skin on all of my Gmail accounts. A few times I’ve added my own images but I’ve not shared them with anyone because they are mostly of Kayla. I did know about sharing them as well and I’m happy to say that over all the years I’ve been using Gmail that I’ve figured a lot of stuff out.

    This is one of those free things that Google offers that I love about them. You know the other stuff that drive me crazy about Google but they did it right with Gmail.

    Adrienne recently published this awesome post..Thankful Thursday: Blogging, YouTube, Social Media, GoogleMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Adrienne, I bet there are plenty of people who would love to see adorable Kayla in a Gmail theme!

      I’m not surprised you already knew about Gmail themes, Adrienne and that you’ve created your own themes. You are a tech whiz, Adrienne! :-bd

      You’re right, Gmail offers a lot of features that make it very useful for us.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Are You Spoiled by Unlimited Internet (for Now)?My Profile

  11. Muhammad Mairaj says

    Hi Carolyn
    Nice post. which contains very useful material before reading this post i don’t have any idea about G-mail in depth. Thanks for sharing excellent piece of information.

  12. Bhanu kumar says

    I am just a casual user of Gmail, use it to only read and send mails without much emphasis on the personalization. But, after reading your tutorial , I will surely give it a try.