Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to fix NetBeans IDE when it has dark tabs

Sometimes on Windows, you can have Java configured in such a way that the NetBeans IDE (Integrated Development Environment) will use a dark background (like black) on all the inactive tabs, making them difficult (or impossible) to read. Here's an example of what this might look like:




Not good.

As it turns out, there is no way in NetBeans itself to fix this problem, at least that I've found.  You can't change the color scheme or anything.

A work-around for this problem is to change the Java theme for NetBeans IDE to be something else, like Metallic.

To change the theme, open the file "c:\Program Files\NetBeans x.x\etc\netbeans.conf" (where x.x is the version number) with a text editor and add this to the end of the netbeans_default_options line, before the closing quote:

--laf javax.swing.plaf.metal.MetalLookAndFeel"

Here's what NetBeans might look like after making this change:





You can now read the tabs!

Hat tip to Tushar Joshi for a description of changing the look-and-feel of NetBeans.

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