I’m kind of tired of the same dozen HD themes that Google has for Gmail users and read that there’s a way I can set my own image as the background instead? How do I do that?
Every so often, Google seems to remember that there are millions of Gmail users who might just want something with a bit more visual pizzaz so they introduce a new theme, feature or capability to the popular Web-based email service. But they’re few and far between. Even themes. There haven’t been any new themes introduced for years, which is too bad as that would be an easy way for people to have a bit more fun with Gmail. In particular, I really like the themes that have different images based on the time of day.
Gmail does allow you to specify a background graphic or photo of your choice and even has a small gallery of about 20 different choices too, but while that’s what we’ll consider, there’s no way for us Google Mail users to specify a set of wallpapers and the condition that should be met for a transition from one to another (for example daytime/nighttime or even just a simple rule like “every two hours”). Maybe someday.
The challenge with images is to find one that has just the right color palette so that you can easily read all the text superimposed by the Gmail interface. Their solution: you pick a “light” or “dark” color scheme and see how it works.
Turns out, I already have a custom background from the Gmail gallery, so my starting point looks like this:
Gorgeous but I’ve had this image for almost two weeks now, so it’s time to change.
To do that, click on the gear icon on the top right to have this menu show up:
Choose “Themes” as you can see I’m highlighting here.
Scroll down a bit past the preset themes from Google and you’ll see:
Here’s where you can see the “Light” and “Dark” theme options. I’m going to stick with a light color scheme since the background image I’m going to use — of London’s famed Tower Bridge — is black & white, so I’ll leave that selected.
To change the background photo, click on “Change your background image” and you’ll see the gallery and options:
(there are a lot more images when you look at this live, of course)
Since the image I want to use is already on my computer, I’ll click on “Upload photos” on the left side.
This brings up a standard Google image drop target, to which I’ll drag and drop “tower-bridge-london.jpg”:
When it uploads the image immediately changes in Gmail and you’re done.
In my case, Gmail now looks like this:
I think it looks beautiful!
If the text is difficult to read on your screen, don’t forget you can back up and try the “dark” color scheme to see if it’s any better.