Look and Feel – Feel Free to Go Crazy

thatjeffsmith SQL Developer 26 Comments

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Apparently SQL Developer doesn’t look super awesome on some Windows high-resolution displays (Macs are apparently A-OK!) 4 and 5k monitors. But that’s OK – it’s fixed in Java 9, and that appears to work just fine with SQL Developer v17.2.

That’s no fun, but he got it fixed running Java 9 out of the box!

But another question came up – how can I make SQL Developer look…different?

Well, the easiest way is to look at your OS Theme settings.

On Windows 10, that would be something like this.

Yeah, this applies to your ENTIRE OS.

Pick something you like…a LOT.

OK, let’s see how this looks.


This won’t happen by default. You’ll have to:

  1. Go into preferences, and change the Look and Feel from ‘Oracle’ to whatever your OS is
  2. Restart SQL Developer
  3. Play around with your OS setting to find something you like/li>

Oracle looks better but Windows will run leaner

I’d show you how this works on a Mac, but I don’t have a Mac anymore. Same key concept, change your look and feel to OS X. Then configure your Mac as appropriate.

Other Benefits

Apart from being able to control exactly how your application will look, you’re ALSO telling Java that it can rely on the OS to take care of this. If you’re going to use the Oracle Look and Feel, then that will ‘cost a bit extra’ – or in other words, it might take more resources to run. If your machine is already a bit slow, this won’t help matters any.

And if you have a hi-res display, you’ll definitely want to use the native look and feel…and run Java 9 JDK on Windows.

You’ll PROBABLY be OK, but we can’t officially support you since Java 9 is still in beta.

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Comments 26

  1. IDE sucks in high res screen in my 14 inch laptop. I came here for a solution and I am reading all the comments and wondering…..Why do these folks get to keep a job? Something is fundamentally wrong here.

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
    2. thatjeffsmith Post
  2. Yeah, I suppose.
    How about a sliver of hope instead?

    “I’ll put it on the backlog but as it is a low priority it probably won’t get looked at for a long time unless someone scratches an itch in their spare time one Friday.”
    “Maybe when/if it gets open-sourced you could add a pull request.”


    1. thatjeffsmith Post

      Absolutely yes on the open-source channel. Netbeans/JDev and internal resourcing stuff, esp for what we need as a db tool – it’s an interesting juggling act of keeping all the balls in the air. Right now we’re trying to get full support for Java 9 going, and that’s a much higher priority for us.

  3. I tried to set the look and feel of other Java applications using the command line but it failed.

    It turns out that the OracleLookAndFeel does not extend from the base look and feel so the cast fails.

    It’s disappointing that Oracle hasn’t followed it’s own documentation on how to create a look and feel for Java.

    Can you ask the team that develops the code to make it interoperable with the Java look and feel framework instead of reinventing the wheel. Thanks

    1. thatjeffsmith Post

      I could, but not going to – and it’s not that I don’t agree with you. We just don’t have the resources to set aside to do this when there are approximately 3 people in the world that want to do what you’re attempting to do.

      We have 2 supported Look and Feels today, the native OS and the Oracle one. You can do something else if you want, but you’re on your own.

      1. thatjeffsmith Post
  4. I have noticed that in Oracle SQL Developer 17.4 Version with JDK 9
    in Preferences ellipses appeared in the menu items, for example:
    – Comp… instead of Compare
    – Datab… instead of Database
    – and so on.
    Additionally UI starting from splash screen looks like it would be in low resolution,
    while using JDK 8 everything looks normal.

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
      1. thatjeffsmith Post
      2. Additionally, when Oracle SQL Developer is starting splash screen looks like it would be in lower resolution than while using JDK 8.

      3. Strangely I have the same behaviour on Oracle SQL Developer 17.3 with JDK 9,
        while with JDK 8 looks fine.

      4. I have also checked that on macOS 10.12.6 Sierra and Oracle SQL Developer 17.4 with JDK 9 looks normal, so it seems that such behaviour is limited to Windows with I believe specific configuration.

  5. Is there a particular reason why the Oracle Look and Feel jar (fusionblue.jar?) is not licensed for use in other applications or why it isn’t open source?
    It is a nice look and feel and would be nice if I could pretty up some other Java applications with it.

    1. thatjeffsmith Post

      Sounds like a good idea. It’s not technically our teams code, so I’m not sure I can do anything about it, but I’ll kick the idea over.

      We are getting ready to open source a large part of our tools. Stay tuned.

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
  6. Themes like Classic, Desert blue, Desert green, Desert yellow, Desert red are good if they are back to this new version ( like how they are available in SQL Dev v3.2)

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
  7. What about creating a new theme as described in
    Is it still up to date?
    “This document was last modified 02:27, 18 April 2007”


    1. thatjeffsmith Post
      1. I just tried to add a theme but then I get
        at oracle.ideimpl.IdeUIManagerImpl.getPlasticThemes(IdeUIManagerImpl.java:580) …
        Maybe it is possible to replace fusionblue.jar with a modified fusionblue.jar but the theming as described in the document no longer works.
        One clue would be that there is no drop down list of available themes as there has been until 3.2.2 if you chose Oracle look and feel.

      2. thatjeffsmith Post

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