chrome.action

Description

Use the chrome.action API to control the extension's icon in the Google Chrome toolbar.

The action icons are displayed in the browser toolbar next to the omnibox. After installation, these appear in the extensions menu (the puzzle piece icon). Users can pin your extension icon to the toolbar.

Availability

Chrome 88+ MV3+

Manifest

The following keys must be declared in the manifest to use this API.

"action"

To use the chrome.action API, specify a "manifest_version" of 3 and include the "action" key in your manifest file.

{
  "name": "Action Extension",
  ...
  "action": {
    "default_icon": {              // optional
      "16": "images/icon16.png",   // optional
      "24": "images/icon24.png",   // optional
      "32": "images/icon32.png"    // optional
    },
    "default_title": "Click Me",   // optional, shown in tooltip
    "default_popup": "popup.html"  // optional
  },
  ...
}

The "action" key (along with its children) is optional. When it isn't included, your extension is still shown in the toolbar to provide access to the extension's menu. For this reason, we recommend that you always include at least the "action" and "default_icon" keys.

Concepts and usage

Parts of the UI

Icon

The icon is the main image on the toolbar for your extension, and is set by the "default_icon" key in your manifest's "action" key. Icons must be 16 device-independent pixels (DIPs) wide and tall.

The "default_icon" key is a dictionary of sizes to image paths. Chrome uses these icons to choose which image scale to use. If an exact match is not found, Chrome selects the closest available and scales it to fit the image, which might affect image quality.

Because devices with less-common scale factors like 1.5x or 1.2x are becoming more common, we encourage you to provide multiple sizes for your icons. This also futureproofs your extension against potential icon display size changes. However, if only providing a single size, the "default_icon" key can also be set to a string with the path to a single icon instead of a dictionary.

You can also call action.setIcon() to set your extension's icon programmatically by specifying a different image path or providing a dynamically-generated icon using the HTML canvas element, or, if setting from an extension service worker, the offscreen canvas API.

const canvas = new OffscreenCanvas(16, 16);
const context = canvas.getContext('2d');
context.clearRect(0, 0, 16, 16);
context.fillStyle = '#00FF00';  // Green
context.fillRect(0, 0, 16, 16);
const imageData = context.getImageData(0, 0, 16, 16);
chrome.action.setIcon({imageData: imageData}, () => { /* ... */ });

For packed extensions (installed from a .crx file), images can be in most formats that the Blink rendering engine can display, including PNG, JPEG, BMP, ICO, and others. SVG isn't supported. Unpacked extensions must use PNG images.

Tooltip (title)

The tooltip, or title, appears when the user holds their mouse pointer over the extension's icon in the toolbar. It's also included in the accessible text spoken by screen readers when the button gets focus.

The default tooltip is set using the "default_title" field of the "action" key in manifest.json. You can also set it programmatically by calling action.setTitle().

Badge

Actions can optionally display a "badge" — a bit of text layered over the icon. This lets you update the action to display a small amount of information about the state of the extension, such as a counter. The badge has a text component and a background color. Because space is limited, we recommend that badge text use four or fewer characters.

To create a badge, set it programmatically by calling action.setBadgeBackgroundColor() and action.setBadgeText(). There isn't a default badge setting in the manifest. Badge color values can be either an array of four integers between 0 and 255 that make up the RGBA color of the badge or a string with a CSS color value.

chrome.action.setBadgeBackgroundColor(
  {color: [0, 255, 0, 0]},  // Green
  () => { /* ... */ },
);

chrome.action.setBadgeBackgroundColor(
  {color: '#00FF00'},  // Also green
  () => { /* ... */ },
);

chrome.action.setBadgeBackgroundColor(
  {color: 'green'},  // Also, also green
  () => { /* ... */ },
);

An action's popup is shown when the user clicks on the extension's action button in the toolbar. The popup can contain any HTML contents you like, and will be automatically sized to fit its contents. The popup's size must be between 25x25 and 800x600 pixels.

The popup is initially set by the "default_popup" property in the "action" key in the manifest.json file. If present, this property should point to a relative path within the extension directory. It can also be updated dynamically to point to a different relative path using the action.setPopup() method.

Use cases

Per-tab state

Extension actions can have different states for each tab. To set a value for an individual tab, use the tabId property in the action API's setting methods. For example, to set the badge text for a specific tab, do something like the following:

function getTabId() { /* ... */}
function getTabBadge() { /* ... */}

chrome.action.setBadgeText(
  {
    text: getTabBadge(tabId),
    tabId: getTabId(),
  },
  () => { ... }
);

If the tabId property is left out, the setting is treated as a global setting. Tab-specific settings take priority over global settings.

Enabled state

By default, toolbar actions are enabled (clickable) on every tab. You can control this using the action.enable() and action.disable() methods. This only affects whether the popup (if any) or action.onClicked event is sent to your extension; it doesn't affect the action's presence in the toolbar.

Examples

The following examples show some common ways that actions are used in extensions. To try this API, install the Action API example from the chrome-extension-samples repository.

Show a popup

It's common for an extension to display a popup when the user clicks the extension's action. To implement this in your own extension, declare the popup in your manifest.json and specify the content that Chrome should display in the popup.

// manifest.json
{
  "name": "Action popup demo",
  "version": "1.0",
  "manifest_version": 3,
  "action": {
    "default_title": "Click to view a popup",
    "default_popup": "popup.html"
  }
}
<!-- popup.html -->
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <style>
    html {
      min-height: 5em;
      min-width: 10em;
      background: salmon;
    }
  </style>
</head>
<body>
  <p>Hello, world!</p>
</body>
</html>

Inject a content script on click

A common pattern for extensions is to expose their primary feature using the extension's action. The following example demonstrates this pattern. When the user clicks the action, the extension injects a content script into the current page. The content script then displays an alert to verify that everything worked as expected.

// manifest.json
{
  "name": "Action script injection demo",
  "version": "1.0",
  "manifest_version": 3,
  "action": {
    "default_title": "Click to show an alert"
  },
  "permissions": ["activeTab", "scripting"],
  "background": {
    "service_worker": "background.js"
  }
}
// background.js
chrome.action.onClicked.addListener((tab) => {
  chrome.scripting.executeScript({
    target: {tabId: tab.id},
    files: ['content.js']
  });
});
// content.js
alert('Hello, world!');

Emulate actions with declarativeContent

This example shows how an extension's background logic can (a) disable an action by default and (b) use declarativeContent to enable the action on specific sites.

// service-worker.js

// Wrap in an onInstalled callback to avoid unnecessary work
// every time the service worker is run
chrome.runtime.onInstalled.addListener(() => {
  // Page actions are disabled by default and enabled on select tabs
  chrome.action.disable();

  // Clear all rules to ensure only our expected rules are set
  chrome.declarativeContent.onPageChanged.removeRules(undefined, () => {
    // Declare a rule to enable the action on example.com pages
    let exampleRule = {
      conditions: [
        new chrome.declarativeContent.PageStateMatcher({
          pageUrl: {hostSuffix: '.example.com'},
        })
      ],
      actions: [new chrome.declarativeContent.ShowAction()],
    };

    // Finally, apply our new array of rules
    let rules = [exampleRule];
    chrome.declarativeContent.onPageChanged.addRules(rules);
  });
});

Types

OpenPopupOptions

Chrome 99+

Properties

  • windowId

    number optional

    The ID of the window to open the action popup in. Defaults to the currently-active window if unspecified.

TabDetails

Properties

  • tabId

    number optional

    The ID of the tab to query state for. If no tab is specified, the non-tab-specific state is returned.

UserSettings

Chrome 91+

The collection of user-specified settings relating to an extension's action.

Properties

  • isOnToolbar

    boolean

    Whether the extension's action icon is visible on browser windows' top-level toolbar (i.e., whether the extension has been 'pinned' by the user).

Methods

disable()

Promise
chrome.action.disable(
  tabId?: number,
  callback?: function,
)

Disables the action for a tab.

Parameters

  • tabId

    number optional

    The ID of the tab for which you want to modify the action.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

enable()

Promise
chrome.action.enable(
  tabId?: number,
  callback?: function,
)

Enables the action for a tab. By default, actions are enabled.

Parameters

  • tabId

    number optional

    The ID of the tab for which you want to modify the action.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

getBadgeBackgroundColor()

Promise
chrome.action.getBadgeBackgroundColor(
  details: TabDetails,
  callback?: function,
)

Gets the background color of the action.

Parameters

Returns

  • Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

getBadgeText()

Promise
chrome.action.getBadgeText(
  details: TabDetails,
  callback?: function,
)

Gets the badge text of the action. If no tab is specified, the non-tab-specific badge text is returned. If displayActionCountAsBadgeText is enabled, a placeholder text will be returned unless the declarativeNetRequestFeedback permission is present or tab-specific badge text was provided.

Parameters

  • details
  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    (result: string)=>void

    • result

      string

Returns

  • Promise<string>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

getBadgeTextColor()

Promise Chrome 110+
chrome.action.getBadgeTextColor(
  details: TabDetails,
  callback?: function,
)

Gets the text color of the action.

Parameters

Returns

  • Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

getPopup()

Promise
chrome.action.getPopup(
  details: TabDetails,
  callback?: function,
)

Gets the html document set as the popup for this action.

Parameters

  • details
  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    (result: string)=>void

    • result

      string

Returns

  • Promise<string>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

getTitle()

Promise
chrome.action.getTitle(
  details: TabDetails,
  callback?: function,
)

Gets the title of the action.

Parameters

  • details
  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    (result: string)=>void

    • result

      string

Returns

  • Promise<string>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

getUserSettings()

Promise Chrome 91+
chrome.action.getUserSettings(
  callback?: function,
)

Returns the user-specified settings relating to an extension's action.

Parameters

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    (userSettings: UserSettings)=>void

Returns

  • Promise<UserSettings>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

isEnabled()

Promise Chrome 110+
chrome.action.isEnabled(
  tabId?: number,
  callback?: function,
)

Indicates whether the extension action is enabled for a tab (or globally if no tabId is provided). Actions enabled using only declarativeContent always return false.

Parameters

  • tabId

    number optional

    The ID of the tab for which you want check enabled status.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    (isEnabled: boolean)=>void

    • isEnabled

      boolean

      True if the extension action is enabled.

Returns

  • Promise<boolean>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

openPopup()

Promise Chrome 118+ Requires policy
chrome.action.openPopup(
  options?: OpenPopupOptions,
  callback?: function,
)

Opens the extension's popup.

Parameters

  • options

    Specifies options for opening the popup.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

setBadgeBackgroundColor()

Promise
chrome.action.setBadgeBackgroundColor(
  details: object,
  callback?: function,
)

Sets the background color for the badge.

Parameters

  • details

    object

    • color

      string|ColorArray

      An array of four integers in the range [0,255] that make up the RGBA color of the badge. For example, opaque red is [255, 0, 0, 255]. Can also be a string with a CSS value, with opaque red being #FF0000 or #F00.

    • tabId

      number optional

      Limits the change to when a particular tab is selected. Automatically resets when the tab is closed.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

setBadgeText()

Promise
chrome.action.setBadgeText(
  details: object,
  callback?: function,
)

Sets the badge text for the action. The badge is displayed on top of the icon.

Parameters

  • details

    object

    • tabId

      number optional

      Limits the change to when a particular tab is selected. Automatically resets when the tab is closed.

    • text

      string optional

      Any number of characters can be passed, but only about four can fit in the space. If an empty string ('') is passed, the badge text is cleared. If tabId is specified and text is null, the text for the specified tab is cleared and defaults to the global badge text.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

setBadgeTextColor()

Promise Chrome 110+
chrome.action.setBadgeTextColor(
  details: object,
  callback?: function,
)

Sets the text color for the badge.

Parameters

  • details

    object

    • color

      string|ColorArray

      An array of four integers in the range [0,255] that make up the RGBA color of the badge. For example, opaque red is [255, 0, 0, 255]. Can also be a string with a CSS value, with opaque red being #FF0000 or #F00. Not setting this value will cause a color to be automatically chosen that will contrast with the badge's background color so the text will be visible. Colors with alpha values equivalent to 0 will not be set and will return an error.

    • tabId

      number optional

      Limits the change to when a particular tab is selected. Automatically resets when the tab is closed.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

setIcon()

Promise
chrome.action.setIcon(
  details: object,
  callback?: function,
)

Sets the icon for the action. The icon can be specified either as the path to an image file or as the pixel data from a canvas element, or as dictionary of either one of those. Either the path or the imageData property must be specified.

Parameters

  • details

    object

    • imageData

      ImageData|object optional

      Either an ImageData object or a dictionary {size -> ImageData} representing icon to be set. If the icon is specified as a dictionary, the actual image to be used is chosen depending on screen's pixel density. If the number of image pixels that fit into one screen space unit equals scale, then image with size scale * n will be selected, where n is the size of the icon in the UI. At least one image must be specified. Note that 'details.imageData = foo' is equivalent to 'details.imageData = {'16': foo}'

    • path

      string|object optional

      Either a relative image path or a dictionary {size -> relative image path} pointing to icon to be set. If the icon is specified as a dictionary, the actual image to be used is chosen depending on screen's pixel density. If the number of image pixels that fit into one screen space unit equals scale, then image with size scale * n will be selected, where n is the size of the icon in the UI. At least one image must be specified. Note that 'details.path = foo' is equivalent to 'details.path = {'16': foo}'

    • tabId

      number optional

      Limits the change to when a particular tab is selected. Automatically resets when the tab is closed.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Chrome 96+

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

setPopup()

Promise
chrome.action.setPopup(
  details: object,
  callback?: function,
)

Sets the HTML document to be opened as a popup when the user clicks on the action's icon.

Parameters

  • details

    object

    • popup

      string

      The relative path to the HTML file to show in a popup. If set to the empty string (''), no popup is shown.

    • tabId

      number optional

      Limits the change to when a particular tab is selected. Automatically resets when the tab is closed.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

setTitle()

Promise
chrome.action.setTitle(
  details: object,
  callback?: function,
)

Sets the title of the action. This shows up in the tooltip.

Parameters

  • details

    object

    • tabId

      number optional

      Limits the change to when a particular tab is selected. Automatically resets when the tab is closed.

    • title

      string

      The string the action should display when moused over.

  • callback

    function optional

    The callback parameter looks like:

    ()=>void

Returns

  • Promise<void>

    Promises are supported in Manifest V3 and later, but callbacks are provided for backward compatibility. You cannot use both on the same function call. The promise resolves with the same type that is passed to the callback.

Events

onClicked

chrome.action.onClicked.addListener(
  callback: function,
)

Fired when an action icon is clicked. This event will not fire if the action has a popup.

Parameters

  • callback

    function

    The callback parameter looks like:

    (tab: tabs.Tab)=>void