NetBeans Quick Tip #31 - Changing the Look and Feel

Guest Author

I am running NetBeans on Solaris and to be honest I don't like the default look and feel, mainly because of the sick-looking blue color. But it's very easy to change the look and feel. My favorite look and feel is JGoodies Looks. To use a custom look and feel simply run NetBeans with the following parameters (for Looks):

./netbeans --cp:p /export/home/roumen/looks-2.1.2.jar --laf com.jgoodies.looks.plastic.PlasticXPLookAndFeel 

If you want to change the look and feel pernamently, you can add it into etc/netbeans.conf. There is a parameter called netbeans_default_options. Add to this parameter string "--laf [LAF]", where [LAF] is the class representing the look and feel. Note that GTK LaF has improved a lot in JDK 6, so I also recommend trying GTK LaF if you run Linux or Solaris.

Here are screenshots to compare the default Solaris look & feel and JGoodies Looks:

NetBeans with default LaF on Solaris

NetBeans with JGoodies Looks LaF on Solaris

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Comments ( 7 )
  • Daniel Hinojosa Thursday, January 25, 2007
    You can also edit your conf/netbeans.conf and add your laf line to the netbeans_default_options. Here is an example:
    # ${HOME} will be replaced by JVM user.home system property
    # options used by netbeans launcher by default, can be overridden by explicit
    # command line switches
    netbeans_default_options="-J-Xms32m -J-Xmx128m -J-XX:PermSize=32m -J-XX:MaxPermSize=160m -J-Xverify:none -J-Dapple.laf.useScreenMenuBar=true --cp:p /java/looks-2.1.2/looks-2.1.2.jar --laf com.jgoodies.looks.plastic.PlasticXPLookAndFeel"
    # default location of J2SE JDK, can be overridden by using --jdkhome <dir> switch
    # clusters' paths separated by path.separator (semicolon on Windows, colon on Unices)
  • Jani Thursday, January 25, 2007
    Is it possible to change the color of those ugly grey tabs when using JGoodies?
  • Roumen Friday, January 26, 2007
    JGoodies Looks has different themes, however I can't figure out how to set a theme as a switch :(
  • Ramon Saturday, January 27, 2007

    The JGoodies LaF isn't really supported. I was indeed able to change the color of the tabs by means of changing some UIManager values in an own module, but there is so much left that doesn't look good for me yet. The tabs, the toolbar and the editor selector icons have nothing to do with JGoodies. It's some kind of mix of Metal and WindowsClassic. I am sure the support for LaFs will be improved in the future.

    I really would recommend running the GTK LaF. You can see a screen shot in my blog

  • Roumen Saturday, January 27, 2007
    Unfortunately GTK LaF has some serious issues on Solaris... it can hang the IDE.
  • Ramon Sunday, January 28, 2007
    Just released a module that avoids the use of the ugly grey tabs. Look here
  • Roumen Sunday, January 28, 2007
    LOL, I just started writing such module myself... well Ramon you saved me some time :)
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