Geertjan's Blog

  • January 12, 2013

New Dark Theme for Nimbus in NetBeans IDE

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager

A brand new plugin by the NetBeans Team's window system guru Stan Aubrecht:


Dark theme for Nimbus Look and Feel. It goes well with "Norway Today" editor color scheme. It does not affect other look and feel implementations so you must force Nimbus l&f, i.e., by using --laf Nimbus command line switch. To revert back to the default Nimbus theme just uninstall this module.

In Stan's words, this is a "poor man's" solution. There are some area that would need more tweaking, e.g., the top bar in the Options window. But it would mean changing code in NetBeans. This new module just adjust a few UIManager constants.

I think this is also interesting for any other application based on the NetBeans Platform, especially since the sources are available in the contrib repository:


In particular, look at the ModuleInstall class:


Patches and tweaks are welcome.

Note: You need a very recent build of NetBeans IDE, i.e., NetBeans IDE 7.3 Beta 2 is not recent enough. It needs to be more recent than that, i.e., download the latest NetBeans IDE 7.3 development build to try out this plugin.

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Comments ( 6 )
  • guest Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Hello all

    I'm currently develop a CAD software based on Netbeans RCP + JavaFX + JMonkeyEngine.

    I use JavaFX to create a MS Ribbon 2010 like toolbar, and was dealing with nimbus color for a black theming near "Blender colors".

    So i've created a module dealing with Nimbus consts, you can fine the resulat at (except for the ribbon, just the ide because i've applied it to netbeans for working with :-) ) :


    this is my module code for Nimbus black theming, as usual in the installer :

    public class Installer extends ModuleInstall {


    public void restored() {

    try {

    //set Nimbus Look And Feel


    //to nod display tabs

    UIManager.put("EditorTabDisplayerUI", "icare.ui.tweak.tab.NoTabsTabDisplayerUI");

    //because Nimbus LAF do not use opaque option, force it to allow painting of custom tab.

    //UIManager.put("TabbedPane.tabsOpaque", true);

    //set Nimbus LAF primary colors

    UIManager.put("control", new Color(114,114,114));

    UIManager.put("nimbusBase", new Color(64,64,64));

    UIManager.put("nimbusFocus", new Color(191,191,191));

    UIManager.put("nimbusLightBackground", new Color(176,176,176));

    UIManager.put("nimbusSelectionBackground", new Color(90,130,195));

    UIManager.put("text", new Color(0,0,0));

    } catch (ClassNotFoundException ex) {


    } catch (InstantiationException ex) {


    } catch (IllegalAccessException ex) {


    } catch (UnsupportedLookAndFeelException ex) {





    need some tweak, but efficient enough for me, and works with netbeans 7.2.1 in less than five minutes (create the module, copy the code, install the nbm in netbeans ide and voilà !).

    Hope this will usefull also !

  • Neil C Smith Monday, January 14, 2013

    That's a nice looking theme! Out of interest, what's the reasoning behind the need for a recent 7.3 build? Is Nimbus going to be better supported with NB 7.3? I'd like to use it more, but find it throws exceptions and doesn't properly load on some occassions due to NB doing things off the EDT.

    It is possible to alter the options window top bar without changing code in NetBeans itself - see http://praxisintermedia.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/the-dark-arts-of-netbeans-hackery/ (hack #3) It would need altering for Nimbus (it currently works for Metal-based LAFs) but that wouldn't be too hard to do. Inserting custom UI delegates is a slightly hacky but useful way of getting around the few things in NB that are not set up for theming.

    Best wishes, Neil

  • Geertjan Monday, January 14, 2013

    Hi Neil, no, it's just that's where Stan created the module in, i.e., in 7.3. You can just take the ModuleInstall class he's got, referred to above, and use that for Praxis.

  • Neil C Smith Monday, January 14, 2013

    Hi Geertjan, I was actually more thinking about using this in the IDE than in Praxis LIVE (not that I wouldn't consider a switch in future). However, this bug http://netbeans.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=174500 still seems to be an issue for me on occasion, and judging from the number of duplicates I may not be the only one!

  • Geertjan Monday, January 14, 2013

    Neil, it says there quite clearly at the end: "there are no exception reports from nb 7.0 nor from recent dev builds. closing."

    You seem to have a different experience, so why not go to that issue and indicate that -- with steps to reproduce and with all the details about your environment?

  • guest Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Nice, but it completely messes up the "new file" menu due to the fonts there.

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