Will this turn out to be a game changer?

Darcula Look and Feel for NetBeans IDE

Geertjan Wielenga

Hamit Hasanhocaoglu, an enthusiastic NetBeans user, has integrated Darcula into NetBeans IDE.

The free and open source NetBeans IDE has established a name for itself as a comprehensive “out of the box” tool for a variety of technologies, in particular for technologies making use of Java, JavaScript, PHP, and C/C++. However, some have been put off by the IDE’s “look and feel”, that is, its general appearance, especially when compared to “new kids on the block” in the tooling and editor space.

Nevertheless, the IDE is extremely configurable, including in its appearance, as shown in JAXenter’s The complete guide to tuning the appearance of NetBeans. Not only the user interface, but the editor fonts and colors can be customized in multiple different ways and the NetBeans community has made multiple different plugins integrating a variety of look and feels and themes into the IDE. One particular look and feel, created by Konstantin Bulenkov from JetBrains, has over the years become appealing to many—the Darcula look and feel. From its first release, Darcula has been open sourced, leaving it up to anyone who wanted it to integrate it into their tool. Hamit Hasanhocaoglu, an enthusiastic NetBeans user, has done exactly that and now the IDE can look as good as this (click to enlarge them image):

Will this turn out to be a game changer? Only time will tell. A lot of enthusiasm has been apparent all over Twitter, on the NetBeans Facebook page, and elsewhere, including on the plugin’s page itself:

The NetBeans community has verified the plugin, so that installing it is as easy as going to Tools | Plugins and then selecting the plugin, as shown below:


As soon as the plugin is installed, after a restart of the IDE, you’ll see your new look and feel throughout the IDE’s user interface. The plugin integrates well into the IDE, for example, when you go to Tools | Options | Appearance | Look and Feel you can switch between look and feels easily.

To change the size of the fonts used throughout the IDE for the Darcula look and feel, as well as any other look and feel, use the “–fontsize” switch in your “netbeans.conf” file. By default the Darcula look and feel uses a font size of 12, which might be too small for some.

Various editor themes are also available, which go well with the Darcula look and feel:

The GitHub repository of the plugin is open to contributions, here:

Feedback and comments are welcome!


Geertjan Wielenga

Geertjan is a product manager of NetBeans IDE, working for Oracle.