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make igoogle themeFor the past few months, I have been using iGoogle more but part of me has wished that I could easily make my own iGoogle theme without the need to know lots of programming. Well it seems that Google has read my mind once again because they have now rolled out ThemeMaker where you can make my iGoogle theme and upload it by simply by “pointing and clicking”.

For those of you who have been living in space for the past few years and who don’t know what iGoogle is, this is the big G’s attempts to get you to personalise your Google start page with what you want to have on the page. This could be gadgets that Google offers you Ten Cool Gadgets You Must Add To iGoogle Ten Cool Gadgets You Must Add To iGoogle Read More or gadgets that you have made yourself How To Make Your Own Personalised iGoogle Gadgets How To Make Your Own Personalised iGoogle Gadgets Read More . You can also have various themes to decorate your page.

But as I said, you can now create your own iGoogle themes and even have them automatically uploaded to the Google Directory so that other people can use them and enjoy them too.   Here’s how to do it :

  • First, go to ThemeMaker and click on “Upload An Image”.
  • create igoogle theme

  • The upload box that appears is identical to the one that pops up in Gmail when you are uploading your picture in the settings. As you can see from the screenshot, you can choose an image from your computer, Picasa Web Albums or an URL,The image in question needs to be a minimum 680 pixels in width and needs to be in either JPG, PNG or GIF format. I decided to go with an image of the Marienburg Fortress in Würzburg, Germany.
  • When the image has uploaded, now comes the VERY tricky part and it took me ages to get this right. You may have to re-upload the image and crop the image over and over again until you get it right. Using your mouse, you have to crop the image to specify what you want to show in the header. But depending on the image, it may not work the first time around. Or the second time. Or the third, or the fourth…or the fifth… When you think you’ve finally got it right, press “apply changes”.
  • Next, you’ll be asked for some “theme info”. So give your theme a name, give your own name and describe your theme. Then press “create theme”.
  • create your own igoogle theme

  • Nope, you’re still not finished yet. But don’t despair because you’re almost there. Now you have to specify to Google if you want to keep your theme private or if you want to share your creation with the world. You also have to accept Google’s Terms Of Service. If everything looks good, just click “accept” and you’re done.
  • You’ll then be taken to your iGoogle page where you’ll see your newly installed theme!

You can make a nice collection of imaginative and creative iGoogle themes in this way and offer them to other people. I will post the link to the Marienburg Fortress theme here when Google puts it in the themes directory.

Have you used ThemeMaker to make your own iGoogle theme? If so, what theme did you make?

    December 20, 2009 at 3:31 am

    I made a few themes and some of them got into the library so I could retrieve them for other pages. Then it stopped working and won’t load pictures. Says they’re the wrong size, even if they are pictures I uploaded before.

    I’ve given up. It’s broke and I don’t think Google wants it fixed.

    December 20, 2009 at 3:30 am

    I made a few themes and some of them got into the library so I could retrieve them for other pages. Then it stopped working and won't load pictures. Says they're the wrong size, even if they are pictures I uploaded before.

    I've given up. It's broke and I don't think Google wants it fixed.

  3. todd
    December 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    upload button does nothing just "errors on page" any ideas?

  4. chaz
    September 16, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    how do u make the image the right size? it always says that my image should be one size or another, and i dont know how to make it the right size :/

  5. Peter
    September 1, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Does not work.

    It gets to "Congratulations" and freezes.

  6. Khrys
    July 19, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I confirm it to be full of bugs (Mozilla Firefox, on an eeePC, linux).
    After a dozen attempts to upload a file, I decided to use an online picture from my site (that worked). Then comes the croping. Failed the 8 first times with such message : "Error, blahblah, I can only take JPG, PNG, GIF". That WAS a JPG file. Anyway, I got through that step eventually. Now it has gotten stucked on "Congratulations, you're almost done !". Obviously I tried again a good dozen times. I never get to the licence agreement.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I successfully made four different themes and checked the box on two of them, so I can get access to them. The problem is that for the past week I have been unable to upload any more jpg files. I have reduced them, renamed them, even converted them to gif, but I still always get the message:

    The file you selected could not be uploaded. It may be too large or it was not a valid image file. Please select another file or click the upload button to try again.

    I tried to do it in IE, but the upload screen doesn't even load.

  8. ygi
    March 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I am also having the same error....:( the graphic not fitting the entire header area.... I did it a lot but getting the same problem...

  9. cc
    February 22, 2009 at 12:45 am

    I am having an issue with the graphic not fitting the entire header area. I created a graphic 680 pixels wide, selected the entire graphic with the crop tool, any suggestions?

  10. nick
    January 26, 2009 at 2:13 am

    Thanks for the post.

    But cant get it to work for me. Thought it may be due to being in the developers sandbox program? Have opted out of sandbox to test this with no success, but still noticing that the preview the theme tool displays is of the sandbox view, even after signing out. Would love to get this working though and it'll be really cool if support for Gmail is in the pipe line. Perhaps I'll have to look into building a theme the traditional way.

  11. Elena
    January 23, 2009 at 4:39 am

    IMHO this app is too buggy to go online. It didn't work for me at all. Plus the cropping tool is simply exasperating: what about giving some info about what size the image should be, or how should we crop it to make it fit the header? Not to mention the constant error messages about image format, even if you upload one that's apparently supported by iGoogle.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 23, 2009 at 6:04 am

      There IS the occasional bug but you just have to work around it. I DID say in the article how big the image should be (minimum 680 pixels in width).

      As for how to crop it, I can't advise you there as it's all a matter of trial and error. You just have to work on it with the mouse until you get it right.

      Every new app has its growing pains but you just have to adopt a "not going to let this damn thing beat me" attitude. Within 15-20 minutes, I had it fixed and the way I wanted it.

  12. chanklor
    January 22, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    does this work for other countries? apart from U.S.?

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 23, 2009 at 5:57 am

      Works everywhere I think. I am in Germany and it worked for me.

      • chanklor
        January 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm

        mmm i'm in mexico and the page just doesn't show up

  13. Alain
    January 22, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Does this work with gmail themes also?

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 23, 2009 at 5:58 am

      What do you mean? To make your own Gmail theme?

      • Alain
        January 23, 2009 at 8:06 am

        Exactly. Can I?

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