I hear about programs having “skins”-what does that mean?
Before all of our animal loving readers start typing angry email to us, animals are not harmed in the making of “skins” for programs (although you can get animal patterned ones). These “skins” are graphic files used to change the appearance of the user interface to a program. They are sometimes called “themes” and are like wallpaper for your browser, media player, or other programs. You can often download them for free from the software developer, a user group, or even a fan site.
Popular media players like WinAmp, RealOne, and Windows Media Player all offer skins. A couple of the pre-installed skins for Windows Media Player 12 are shown below. Tapping the Alt key will bring up the menus. From there, select View and Skin.
They are available for most browsers like Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer, too.
Every program has a different way to acquire and apply skins. Usually you need to look under Options or Preferences, then choose “Change skin” or “Choose theme”-something like that. For example, in Mozilla Firefox you go to Tools>Options, then click on Manage Add-ons… and click the Appearance tab. It looks like this:
If you select a different theme, you’ll have to restart Firefox, but when it loads back up, you’ll see a whole different animal! As always, carefully read the privacy statement before you download anything. If you don’t mind giving up a little privacy, there’s all kinds of neat stuff out there. Being cool does have a price sometimes.
But, if done wisely, you can make that boring browser or media player your own with a cool new skin!