Browsers Internet Productivity

How to Change Gmail Themes, Background, Fonts, and More

Ben Stegner Updated 02-07-2018

While millions of people have enjoyed Gmail since its launch in 2004, its appearance isn’t the most beautiful. Features like inbox tabs, filters, and search look a lot better when they’re not showing on a boring white background.


Thankfully, you can customize Gmail’s look with themes, backgrounds, and more. Here’s how to put a fresh coat of paint on your Google mailbox.

Customize With Gmail Themes and Backgrounds

Many Gmail beginners The Beginner's Guide to Gmail You may already have a Gmail account. Or, you're thinking about signing up for one. This guide has everything you need to make the most of that shiny new Gmail account. Read More don’t know that Gmail has a built-in way that makes it easy to customize your inbox. The Themes section lets you apply a variety of new looks that are much improved over the drab default.

Here’s how to change your Gmail theme: click the Gear icon above your inbox, then choose Themes. You’ll see a new dialog box with several themes to choose from. Each theme includes a new image that will change your Gmail background.


The ones at the top are from various photographers and show scenery like beaches, chess boards, and similar. Click the More images entry to see dozens more of the best Gmail themes. Tick one you like and choose Select to add it to your theme list.


At the bottom of the list, you’ll see a few simple themes like Dark and various colors. The list caps off with some classic Gmail themes like Graffiti, Terminal, and High Score. You can also choose the Random theme, which will shuffle a new theme for you every day.

Gmail also offers a bit of customization for the modern themes. Click one, then look for a row of icons at the bottom of the window:

  • The Text background button lets you toggle between a light and dark border for messages and buttons.
  • Use the Vignette slider to darken the corners of the image.
  • The Blur slider will, unsurprisingly, unfocus the image.


These customizations aren’t super deep, but they let you add a fancy touch to your Gmail background.


Custom Gmail Themes With Your Photos

Don’t like any of the themes available? You can create a custom Gmail theme with your own photo. Click the My Photos button on the themes dialog, and Gmail will show your images from Google Photos.

If you haven’t already, open Google Photos and upload the image you’d like to use in your custom Gmail theme. You can search your photos if you have many to sort through. Click the image you want to use as your theme just like any other, and apply the options above if you’d like.


How to Increase Font Size in Gmail

Gmail doesn’t have a dedicated option for increasing the font size of your inbox or changing the font. But you can use a few tricks to achieve a similar result.


One is Gmail’s Display Density function. This is a basic feature that resizes your inbox based on your screen size, display resolution, and browser window size. It changes Gmail’s view by moving labels, messages, and other elements closer together to save space.

This will change automatically, but you can try another look manually. Just click the Settings gear and choose Comfortable, Cozy, or Compact.

Comfortable takes up the most space:



While Compact packs everything together:


Don’t forget that like any other webpage, you can also zoom in while using Gmail. Hold Ctrl and press the Plus key, or scroll your mouse wheel up. Press Ctrl + 0 to reset this.

This is a good workaround for increasing the font size when needed. If it’s not enough for you, try changing your OS font settings How to Change Text Sizes and Fonts in Windows 10 Is the Windows 10 default font size too small for you? We'll show you how to adjust your system text size to your liking, along with how to change the default Windows font. Read More or font options in your browser Make Your Browser Look Good in 6 Simple Steps Why not spruce up your browser and make it a pleasure to use? It won't take long -- a few tweaks here, a burst of color there, and you're done. Let's get started. Read More .

How to Change Font in Gmail

You can’t change the font Gmail uses for your inbox, but you can change the font that you use in new messages. To do so, open Settings. On the General tab, you’ll see a section titled Default text style.

This shows your default body text for new emails. You can click the buttons above it to change the font, size, and color. It only offers a few choices, such as Georgia, Verdana, and the tired Comic Sans MS, but you may find one of these choices more appealing.


The Size button lets you pick from four sizes, two of them larger than the default. And you can change the color to a variety of shades here. Feel free to make tweaks here that result in an easier Gmail experience, but beware of changes that could make your emails less professional How to Write the Perfect Professional Email (Backed by Data) Email remains the main form of communication in business. To succeed in that environment, you should learn how to compose effective professional emails. We show you 9 simple tricks that have been proven to work. Read More .

Gmail once had a Labs function 7 Essential Gmail Lab Features to Increase Your Email Efficiency Gmail Labs is home to some really great experimental features that can help you increase your email productivity. Read More for changing your font style, but it’s unfortunately no longer available.

Try the New Gmail Redesign

In April 2018, Google unveiled a new look for Gmail 5 Powerful New Gmail Features You Need to Start Using Right Now These new Gmail features from the Gmail redesign will help you manage your email better, faster, and with less hassle. Read More . Along with a refreshed interface, it brings new features like Smart Reply, snoozing emails, and a Confidential Mode. Even if you don’t care about those, it’s worth a try just to see the redesign and change the font in Gmail. You can always go back if you don’t like it.

To swap to the new Gmail, sign in and click the Gear icon in the top-right of your inbox. Click Try the new Gmail and the page will reload with the new version.


It’s not a radical change, but does introduce some elements of Material Design and a new font. If you decide you don’t like it, just click the Gear again and choose Go back to classic Gmail.

Gmail Customization Is Sadly Limited

Unfortunately, some of the deeper Gmail customization has gone away in recent years. Several Chrome and Firefox extensions that offered more Gmail themes are deprecated or no longer available. And Gmail’s Labs library has nothing interesting to offer.

Gmail doesn’t offer too many built-in ways to tweak its appearance other than themes, but at least you have a few. We recommend changing your Gmail theme and trying the new look for an updated look.

If you need more customization, try these helpful Gmail tools and these desktop and laptop Gmail tools to power up your inbox 5 Gmail Desktop and Laptop Tools to Power Up Your Email Inbox These apps and extensions improve Gmail, turning it into an even cleaner and better email inbox experience. Read More .

Related topics: Email Tips, Gmail.

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  1. D A Codgen
    July 26, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    There is nothing in this article on 'how' to change the theme in gmail.
    Only all the features available, but how do you actually change the theme?

    I select an image and click save and nothing happens/changes, wtf ??