Brighten up Your Day – Add Color to IntelliJ IDEA!

Posted on by Zlata Kalyuzhnaya

For a long time, IntelliJ IDEA came only in black and white, with developers advocating for customization tirelessly. Today we have exciting news for you: IntelliJ IDEA 2019.1 will become more flexible than ever thanks to Custom Themes!

Now you will have the power to design your own theme from scratch, and even better, we’ve made this incredibly easy to do!

We’ve created a few brand new themes to get you started. Add more color to your IDE right away by downloading one of the following new themes and selecting it as your new Theme in the Appearance settings!

Dark Purple theme

DarkPurpleTheme

Cyan Light Theme

CyanLightTheme

Gray Theme

GrayTheme

We’ve made significant changes in our codebase so that you can tweak the entire IDE appearance, including icon colors, radio buttons, arrows, the color scheme, and everything else you can think of. You can literally change the color of anything!

Each theme is actually a theme plugin that you can download directly from our plugin repository. Or, if you feel up to it, you can create your own theme plugin using the DevKit and modify the IDE appearance via the JSON file. It really is as simple as that.

This major change affects our IntelliJ Platform which means that all IntelliJ-based IDEs will have this new ability in v2019.1. That includes IntelliJ IDEA, PhpStorm, PyCharm, RubyMine, WebStorm, DataGrip, GoLand, CLion, AppCode, and Rider.

Brighter theme? Low-contrast theme? Fun new theme? A theme that just rocks? Develop your own theme for your IDE! Then share it with the community for everyone to enjoy – by uploading it to our plugin repository!

Here are some links that you may find useful:

We hope you’ll enjoy this great new feature in IntelliJ IDEA! Let us know what you think here in the comment section, or on Twitter.

P.S. Join our Early Access Program by downloading the latest available build of the upcoming IntelliJ IDEA 2019.1 and try the new Custom Themes for yourself!

Happy Developing!

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50 Responses to Brighten up Your Day – Add Color to IntelliJ IDEA!

  1. Darrel Ross says:

    March 14, 2019

    I am trying to install the Dark Purple theme in Beta 3 and I cannot. I can select Default, Darcula, and High Contrast, but no other option, or even the ability to install a new theme . Any pointers?

    • Zlata Kalyuzhnaya says:

      March 14, 2019

      Hi Darrel,
      Each theme is actually a theme plugin. You need to install it at first and after that, you will be able to select it from the Appearance settings.
      Step 1. Go to Settings/Preferences | Plugins and install Dark Purple theme plugin.
      Step 2. Restart the IDE.
      Step 3. Go to Settings/Preferences | Appearance & Behavior and select Dark Purple theme from the drop-down list of the theme options.

      • Alex Simkin says:

        March 15, 2019

        Tried to install Grey Theme from plugin registry.
        – It didn’t show up in a list of themes in Settings/Preferences | Appearance & Behavior
        – It disappeared from the marketplace
        – it’s not in the list of installed plugins

        What have I done wrong?

        • Alex Simkin says:

          March 15, 2019

          Never mind. I found it.

          • rayon says:

            March 15, 2019

            How did you solve it?

            • Zlata Kalyuzhnaya says:

              March 15, 2019

              Please make sure that you are using the latest available build of the upcoming IntelliJ IDEA 2019.1 https://www.jetbrains.com/idea/nextversion/

              • rayon says:

                March 16, 2019

                Thank you for your reply.
                I will try in [2019.1] version!

            • Horsty says:

              March 15, 2019

              You have to go to Plugins and then install from disk the jar file that you downloaded beforehand from this site.
              Then you have to restart your IDE.
              After that you can select it in the apperance section.

              • Mark says:

                March 15, 2019

                I get “Error plugin ‘Gray Theme’ is incompatible with this installation”. Any idea why? My IntelliJ is completely up to date.

              • rayon says:

                March 16, 2019

                Thank you

              • Shaun says:

                March 17, 2019

                Why is this such a hard thing to accomplish…. ugh.
                I have the latest version 2019.3 and running on linux. When I try to install via the plugins section as a jar, says “Plugin Dark Purple Theme is incompatible with this installation”
                Also tried import settings and its rejecting the file.

              • Zlata Kalyuzhnaya says:

                March 18, 2019

                Hi Shaun,
                the Theme plugin compatible with the upcoming version of IntelliJ IDEA – v2019.1. You can download from our website: https://www.jetbrains.com/idea/nextversion/

  2. TheBestPessimist says:

    March 14, 2019

    Finally i can enjoy the nyan _theme_ and not only the nyan progress bars!

    nyan-nyan!

    • Willem Van Wyk says:

      March 15, 2019

      Thank you

      I have it too now, is there a way to get something always loading?

  3. Aardvark says:

    March 15, 2019

    Slowly approaching feature parity with vim, eh? 😉

  4. Farid says:

    March 15, 2019

    Nice, great! I really like it! But why 2 light and 1 dark. More dark themes from Jetbrains!

  5. Nick says:

    March 15, 2019

    Some get started on gruvbox!

  6. James Yeoman says:

    March 15, 2019

    Mojave dark mode support? The white bar at the top is annoying.

    • Zlata Kalyuzhnaya says:

      March 18, 2019

      Hi James, the dark title bars are supported on macOS. Go to Preferences | Appearance & Behavior | Appearance and select the ‘Use dark window headers’ option.

      • Daniel Neades says:

        March 28, 2019

        Is it possible to use dark title bars under Windows 10?

        • Zlata Kalyuzhnaya says:

          April 15, 2019

          Hi Daniel. Yes it’s possible for Windows too. Please refer to this ticket for the instruction: https://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-68006

          • Daniel Neades says:

            April 15, 2019

            Hi Zlata. Thank you! Enabling the ide.win.frame.decoration setting certainly helps a lot.

            Even with this setting, note that there is still a thin strip along the top edge of the window frame that is a little clunky (particularly when the window does not have focus, as it is then very light), especially since that strip is wider in some places than others (e.g. it is thicker above the IJ icon in the top-left corner and towards the right, but thinner above the menu items). Still, the situation is nevertheless much improved over the standard caption bar.

            • Fred Deschenes says:

              April 30, 2019

              Holy !”*? thanks for this, I can’t believe this isn’t available in the regular settings panel (especially since it’s the default in Rider so it’s not like it’s some obscure feature).

  7. Khanh Tran says:

    March 15, 2019

    Really enjoy the dark purple. Great!

    • Zlata Kalyuzhnaya says:

      March 18, 2019

      Khanh, thank you for your feedback!

  8. Junaid Atari says:

    March 16, 2019

    Gray Theme is my choice. I loved it!

    • Zlata Kalyuzhnaya says:

      March 18, 2019

      Hi Junaid, Great! Thanks for the feedback.

  9. Mihail says:

    March 17, 2019

    How do I get the light green theme for Webstorm 2019.1 Beta? I wasn’t able to find it.

  10. Tyler Thrailkill says:

    March 17, 2019

    I created a Solarized Dark and Light theme! Please come help me improve it. It currently only needs a few more touches here and there. (It hasn’t been approved on the plugins repo yet, but that won’t happen until Monday at the earliest).

    https://github.com/snowe2010/solarized-jetbrains
    https://plugins.jetbrains.com/plugin/12112-solarized-theme

    • Zlata Kalyuzhnaya says:

      March 18, 2019

      Looks awesome!

    • Arnaud De Bruecker says:

      March 27, 2019

      You’re the real mvp. I will stay tune to the repo and help if I can 😉

    • gshegosh says:

      March 28, 2019

      Brilliant, thank you very much for sharing!

  11. Nicolas M says:

    March 17, 2019

    Do the new changes allow to change the layout/spacing of elements? I really wish I could make the editor more compact in certain parts.

  12. Xinky says:

    March 22, 2019

    Modify the IDE appearance via the JSON file is really convenient, but how can I define a color and multiplexing them to different component properties in the json file?

  13. John says:

    March 25, 2019

    This is the best news! Had a quick try of Dark Purple in WebStorm and really like it. It’s a lot darker than Darcula and a lot easier on the eye than High Contrast. I’m looking forward to having a play about to see what customisations can be done. Thank you!

    Only thing missing is some nice theme gallery with previews. But I might just stick with Dark Purple anyway. 🙂

  14. Onnfee says:

    March 28, 2019

    It’s something I’ve been waiting for for a long time.
    I really like this improvement.

  15. Luke says:

    March 28, 2019

    I want to know, where to set up to see the “curved small arrow” inside the screenshot? It looks like useful。

  16. PhpStormer says:

    March 29, 2019

    1 Dark theme and 2 light themes? Who uses light themes? I like my eyeballs, and I don’t want to fry them.

    “Purple” for the dark theme? What about like a dark cobalt blue or solarized dark? I guarantee if you made either of those it would be more popular than all 3 of these.

    • R. G. says:

      March 29, 2019

      People that have a certain level astigmatism with a “high enough” amount of diopters, like me, find easier to use a bright theme.

      See more info here:
      https://ux.stackexchange.com/a/53268

    • Eeeeerika says:

      March 29, 2019

      Well, I’m using a light theme during the day, precisely because I like my eyeballs 😉

      When it’s dark a dark them is better, when it’s bright a light theme is better.

    • Tyler Thrailkill says:

      March 29, 2019

      I have made a solarized theme. It has both dark and light. Just search Solarized in the plugins section to find it. I’m still trying to improve it, but file any issues you see at https://github.com/snowe2010/solarized-jetbrains

      • R. G. says:

        April 1, 2019

        Awesome, thanks!

  17. William Stam says:

    April 1, 2019

    i think this whole “theme” thing is a bit of a waste.

    you can change the editor background and the gutter background colours etc from the settings UI, you “should” be able to do the same for the rest of the UI from there to. where a “theme” comes in handy is if it allows spacing changes, fonts, package the colour scheme and settings etc for distribution.

    just changing the colours and calling it revolutionary awesome feature a theme is very deceptive tbh

    • R. G. says:

      April 1, 2019

      at some point (if not already) might have support to fix https://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-192025, which has 200 votes and 120+ comments. Regardless of how was introduced, what was improved of what was fixed. Related to the origin of that issue and this “theme” feature 🙂

  18. Tyler Thrailkill says:

    April 17, 2019

    How can I force this notification to pop up in order to test its colors? https://imgur.com/M9RSkhX

    • R. G. says:

      April 24, 2019

      would it work with a search of test, or member that has 0 results?

      • Tyler Thrailkill says:

        May 6, 2019

        That works nicely thanks. Only problem is I can’t leave it open to test out different colors, but I guess I’ll just have to work around that.

  19. Xiang Zhou says:

    May 30, 2019

    Hello, I like Intellij very much, and I often use CMD + E to open recent-files page, and then use CMD + E switch recent files, but in the 2019.1 update, you remove this function, when I press CMD + E in the recent-file pages, I can just toggle “show changed only”, could you give us a setting for the previous function?

  20. Ravin Sharma says:

    May 30, 2019

    Hi,

    Great set of themes, thank you! I’m trying to get this themes running in Android Studio, but don’t see them in the plugin repository. What should I do to load them into Android Studio?

    Thanks Again!

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