No, not your code. I want you to take a quick look at the visual preferences for SQL Developer. In an earlier post I pontificated on the top 10 options to tweak before starting to use SQL Developer. Now once you have the tool operating the way you want, I think it’s time to make it look the way you want as well. So I suppose this would be #11!

If you’re going to spend many hours a day in the database, your tool shouldn’t be causing eye strain.

I realize that this is a very subjective area, so if you do not like my choice of theme and color, please realize there are a few dozen themes available.


Open the preferences and navigate to the Environment page. The ‘Look and Feel’ and ‘Theme’ controls are what we want to investigate further. According to the docs, the ‘Look and Feel’ allows you to tweak ‘the display colors and shapes of objects like menus and buttons.’

It might be easier to just do some before and after screen captures?


Notice the lack of delineation of the pages and the very light contrast

Sky Yellow

Ah, so much easier on the eyes!

I also enjoy the general grey background going on versus default ‘Fusion Blue.’

Here is the option you want to play around with in the Preferences

Setting to Windows will attempt to match your Windows Theme

Look and Feel

You can bypass the whole theme headache and let SQL Developer attempt to match your Windows (I haven’t tried this on OSX yet) theme. Here’s what that looks like on my Windows 7 machine with the default theme.

Windows Oracle
If you like flat, you might like Windows
This seems much smoother to me

There is no way to ‘preview’ these changes. You’ll need to restart SQL Developer for the changes to take affect. Even so, I think it’s worth a few minutes of your time. If you find a favorite combination, please share it with us below in the form of a comment or screenshot!


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. I can’t see Theme drop-down menu under Environment. I’m using SQL Developer Version: Was the option removed?

    • Do you mean like the Fusion Blue?

      Those were deprecated about 5-6 years ago by the JDeveloper team.

    • Thank you for your fast reply on a weekend!

      According to a figure in this article, there must be a Theme drop-down, on Properties > Environment. When I open Properties > Environment, I see three drop-down menus: Look and Feel, Line Terminator and Encoding but not Theme. Even so, fusionblue.jar can be found on sqldeveloper/ide/theme directory. I wonder if something is missing in my installation or simply the option is not available anymore. I use SQL Developer daily. For that reason I’m really interested in changing the look and feel to something darker that help me to avoid to strain my eyes.

  2. Copy the fusionblue.jar from jdeveloper/ide/themes and you should get your OS native theme as an option in the Environment > Look and Feel list box. Mine shows “GTK+” and “Oracle” as the options. The GTK+ theme looks awesome in my Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3.

    Download JDeveloper 12 from Oracles website and install it or extract it. Again, the fusionblue.jar is in jdeveloper/ide/themes. Copy it to your sqldeveloper/ide/themes folder and launch SQL Developer. I’m currently on version 18.1.

    Great stuff. 😀

    • Nevermind. Worked only once for some odd reason. Probably related to the cache in the .sqldeveloper folder.

      You can force GTKLookAndFeel by modifying the product.conf and adding the following VM option but there are a couple of controls that don’t work:

      The broken controls are the Table Editor Filter field, Worksheet connection chooser, and windows like the Search or Search and replace feature in the Package Editor loose the little “x” in the top right for closing it, however the ESC keep does the same thing.

      Fixing/Changing these 2 (editable filter drop down list and the connection drop down list) would make the native GTK+ LAF work perfectly.

      Please consider this fix. There are an amazingly high number of Java developers that have moved to a Linux desktop or are planning to AND they also use SQL Developer. It would be a huge win for Oracle’s public perception in the software engineering world. You’re user numbers do not accurately reflect the actual number of Linux users. 75% of the over 100 Java developers that I know are Linux desktop users.

  3. Tom Walton Reply

    Win 7, service pack 1, 64 bit. Java SE Dev Kit 8. SQL Dev V 4.0.1. I was unable to delete that folder because that’s where the EXE was housed but I had my tech uninstall and reinstall and the issue was resolved. FYI, I noticed task manager showed multiple instances running but the window did not display. Thanks for the quick reply though!

  4. Tom Walton Reply

    I changed the “look and feel” from oracle to windows. it required a reboot and now it wont open oracle. I get the tip of the day but that’s it. Brand new user. no previous versions installed to back up to.

    • Hmmm. You can go into your application data directory and delete the sql developer folder, and then run the EXE again – you’ll be running with default settings at that point.

      What version of Windows are you running, and what version of SQL Developer and Java are you running?

  5. using sql developer 3.1 and after starting it my windows 7 always switches from my areo theme back to the basic theme. Any way to avoid that?

  6. Alparslan Develioğlu Reply

    Hi first of all thanks for these. but I do not have the theme part in my SQL Developer. Please help.

  7. Ashish Soni Reply

    I am not able to see the option to change the them under environment .. i installed sql developer 4.0

    • You can still choose between Oracle and your OS look and feel, but the themes have been deprecated.

    • Look and feel is still there, but the Themes were deprecated by the JDeveloper framework that we pick up and build SQL Developer off of.

  8. How about a drop down similar to the one in Toad that lets one set current schema?

    • The easiest way would be to use my HTML trick, use an embedded FONT COLOR = ‘BLUE’ or whatever.

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