ie5skinner.gif (35235 bytes)

Why IE5skinner?

Well, I downloaded this little app from Microsoft that was suppose to allow me to wallpaper (i.e., skin) the toolbar on Internet Explorer, but it wouldn't work. So I figured I'd just slap together my own and add some extra bells and whistles while I was at it =)

IE5skinner randomly skins the Internet Explorer's (as well as Outlook Express') toolbar using BMP images in a specified folder. The delay between changes is adjustable and will automatically vary between +/-25%.

To use IE5skinner:

  1. Run IE5skinner.
  2. Navigate to the folder with the BMP files.
  3. Set the Delay in minutes values.* You can double-click on any file to use that one immediately.
  4. Activate the Run at startup option in the File menu to have IE5skinner run automatically load when you run Windows.

*When changing Delay in minutes, do not backspace to clear the entry. Double-click in the field to highlight the current value, then type in the new value. Fractional minutes are supported and .1 minutes is the minimum.


In the File menu, there is a Start in System Tray option. Use this after you have the settings you want. Activate Run at startup to have IE5skinner automatically run when you start Windows.

Click the Refresh button to refresh the skin list window.

Use the command line Run Once option to run IE5skinner once and then exit. This way, the skin will only change everytime you boot Windows. To do this, make sure the Run at startup option is inactive. Make a shortcut for the IE5skinner program and place it in your Windows Startup folder. Next, edit the IE5skinner shortcut properties Target field and add a "/o" command-line switch after the IE5skinner.exe command (e.g., "C:\Program Files\IE5skinner\IE5skinner.exe" /o).


If you decided to uninstall IE5skinner :-(, please run the Reset before uninstall in the Help menu first. Otherwise, you'll end up with the last skin forever! If you don't do this, you can also move or delete the skin image file.

Other info

The best size for your BMP images depends on many factors, like system font sizes, toolbars used, etc. If you know how, do an Alt+PrintScrn to capture your Internet Explorer window. Then paste into a paint program and measure (or guess at) the size of the toolbar. Otherwise just use the trial-and-error method, which seems to work well for me ;-) The width of the image doesn't matter as much as the height. The image will be titled if it doesn't fill the entire toolbar. I've included a sample for you to start with.

The current skin will only affect new windows that are opened. Existing windows keep the skins they were using at the time they were opened. However, if any window is opened/placed over an old skin, after the skin has changed, it will erase the obscured portion of the old skin. This does not seem to affect Outlook Express, however. (At least on my system it does this :-(   If this bothers you, use the Run Once option.

When Start in System Tray is active, you can right-click on the icon in the system tray to access some features.

If you haven't noticed, the preview window stretches the image. Rest assured that it will show normally when applied.

Skin Tips

Some skins are available at

First off, you may also want to move your Address field to the bottom of the toolbar. This will give you the greatest amount of contiguous space. You can just drag it there with the handle on the left side.

Now, if you are using Adobe Photoshop use guides to identify major open areas. (Again this will vary from PC to PC.). Then, position the image accordingly. Once you've got a good template, save it!

Another option is to make a skin that is all one solid color. Then to a screen grab and load into PhotoShop. Select all of the skin color, with 0 Tolerance, and cut out. Crop the image down to just the skin size. You can then place this layer over images to test!

ie5skinner2.gif (54561 bytes)

I also like to use a gradient that has the same left and right colors. That way, when it tiles, it is seamless.


It appears that once the skin file is switched, other windows that used the old skin can lose the image if it gets covered by another window. Use the Run Once command-line option described above.



  • IE5skinner requires Windows 98, NT4, 2000, XP and Internet Explorer 5+ (of course!).
  • Some BMP files.


IE5skinner is freeware! However, I'd love to receive an e-mail ( from you to hear what you think.

Revision History

Ver Date Comments
1.3 2-8-02 Re-coded most of the app to be much more efficient
1.2 9-12-99 • Fixed no skins error
• 0 time no longer allowed
1.1 8-26-99 • Added Run Once option
• Added skin Refresh button
1.0 8-25-99 • Initial release

Other Products

Don't forget to check out the other cool applications. You'll probably like randomSoundz which randomly plays WAV and MP3 files. IEResize is very cool too!

Copyright 1999-2002 Douglas J. Nakakihara
All rights reserved

IE5skinner randomly skins the Internet Explorer's (as well as Outlook Express') toolbar using BMP images in a specified folder. The delay between sounds is adjustable and will automatically vary between +/-25%.