How to Customize Google Chrome With Chrome:flags

chrome flags

This TechJunkie article covered how you can customize Firefox with about:flags. Google Chrome’s equivalent of about:config is chrome:flags. That includes a variety of additional settings which you can customize the browser with. These are a few of the chrome:flags options you can configure Chrome with.

First, enter ‘chrome:flags’ in Google Chrome’s address bar and press Enter. That opens the page shown in the snapshots below. The page includes a list of experimental settings to customize the browser with.

Press Ctrl + F to open the chrome:flag search box. There you can enter the settings covered below to find them more quickly. Matching settings are then highlighted as below.

chrome flags

Add Smooth Scroll

Google is planning to add smooth scroll to Chrome in further updates. However, at the moment it still doesn’t have the smooth scrolling you’ll find in Firefox. Without the smooth scrolling, Google jumps directly down one page.

You can enable smooth scroll in Chrome with chrome:flags. Enter ‘smooth scroll’ in the search box to find the setting in the shot directly below. Select Enable below that setting to switch smooth scrolling on in the browser.

chrome flags2

When you select that option, or adjust any other setting in chrome:flags, you’ll also need to restart the browser. Press the RELAUNCH NOW button to restart Google Chrome and activate the smooth scroll setting.

Add Extension Icons to the top of Chrome’s Customize Menu

Google Chrome includes extension icons on the right of the address bar. If you open lots of them, they’ll gradually shrink the address bar. However, you can instead add the extension buttons to the top of the browser’s Customize menu by adjusting the Enable extension toolbar redesign setting in chrome:flags.

So enter ‘enable extension toolbar redesign’ in the chrome:flag search box to find the setting. Click Enable to switch it on. Then restart the browser.

Next, you should right-click an extension icon right of the address bar to open its context menu. That will now include a Hide in Chrome menu option. Select that option remove the extension button from the toolbar.

chrome flags3

Now press the Customize button at the top right of the browser to open the menu shown below. The menu will include the extension buttons you selected to remove from the toolbar at the top. You can restore an extension button on the toolbar by right-clicking it and selecting Show in toolbar.

chrome flags4

Material Design Downloads

Google might be planning on giving the Downloads page a revamp in further updates. For now, you can revamp it by adjusting the Enable Material Design downloads setting in chrome:flags. So enter ‘material design downloads’ in the search box to find the setting highlighted below.

chrome flags5

Then click the drop-down menu below that and select Enabled. Restart Google Chrome as before, and press the Customize button at the top right of the browser’s window. Select Downloads to open the page in the shot below.

chrome flags6

So, as you can probably tell, the main difference from this new Downloads page and the default one is that it has a grey bar at the top. Plus the search box is now at the top right of the page.

Customize the Toolbar

You can also select further material design options that alter the toolbar design. Input ‘material design’ in the chrome:flag search box to find the setting.

Then click the drop-down menu for that option and select Material from it. When you restart the browser, the toolbar will be as in the shot directly below. The default one is included below that snapshot for comparison.

chrome flags7


chrome flags8

There isn’t much of a difference, except perhaps the Customize button at the right of the toolbar. The new design has three dots instead of the hamburger button.

Add an FPS Counter to Chrome

You can add an FPS counter to the browser with chrome:flags. That counter shows the frame rate of each page in a little box. This is flag that might come in handy for developers.

Search for FPS Counter with the chrome:flags search box. When you’ve found the setting, select Enable to switch it on. Now the browser will include an FPS counter at the top right of the window when restarted.

chrome flags15

Open Page Tabs and Videos in Separate Window Panels

You can also open Google Chrome page tabs and videos in separate panels. To do that, you need to adjust a chrome:flags setting and add a couple of extensions to the browser. First, open chrome:flags and enter ‘enable panels’ to find that setting. Next, click Enable under Enable Panels to switch that option on.

Then restart the browser and open this page. Panel Tabs is an extension that enables you to open website pages in separate panels outside of the browser. So press the + Free button to add it to Google Chrome. You’ll find a Panel Tabs button on the toolbar as shown in the show below.
chrome flags 10

When you press that, it might have a notification requesting that you enable the panel option. However, you can skip the guidelines if you’ve already done that. Alternatively, add the extension to Chrome first and then go through its guidelines to enable the panel option.

Open a website page to add to a panel, and press the Panel Tabs button on the toolbar. Then you can select a Pop this tab into a panel option. Press that button to add the selected page tab to a panel as shown in the shot below.

chrome flags 11

The panel is effectively a separate window on the taskbar, so you can minimize the browser and keep the page’s panel open. That also closes the page in Google Chrome. You can always restore the page tab by pressing the extension button again and selecting Put back.

chrome flags 14

PIP Video is an extension that opens videos in separate panels. As was the case for Panel Tabs, you need to switch on the Enable Panels setting on the chrome:flags page for this extension to work. Click here to open the PIP Video page and add the extension to Google Chrome.

When you’ve done that, open a YouTube video page. You’ll find the video includes a new icon at the top left corner as shown in the shot below. In addition, your toolbar will also have a pip video options button on it.

chrome flags12

Click the icon at the top left of the video to open it in a new panel as below. You can resize the panel window by dragging its borders, and it includes the YouTube video options. As the panel is separate from browser, it has its own taskbar button.

chrome flags13

Add a Mute Button to Chrome Tabs

When you play a video in Chrome, a tab speaker icon highlights which page the clip is playing in. You can turn that icon into a mute button that switches off the video audio from the tab. To do so, Open chrome:flags again and search for Tab audio muting UI control  by entering the setting in search box. 

Click Enable under that option to switch it on. Then restart Google Chrome, open a YouTube page and play a video. Click the speaker icon on the tab to mute the video audio. The speaker icon will then have a line across it as shown in the snapshot below.

chrome flags15

So those are a few of the chrome:flag settings you can select to customize Google Chrome with in Windows 10. With them you can customize the browser’s toolbar, download page, scrolling, add new FPS counter and open page tabs and videos in new panel windows.

Posted by Matthew on March 18, 2016

1 thought on “How to Customize Google Chrome With Chrome:flags”

  1. Charlie Wilson says:

    How do I change the color of visited sites to RED?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TechJunkie Also Recommends