The default font size used in menus, dialogs, views, etc. is too small. Can I make it bigger?

Yes. The size of the interface font is controlled by the --fontsize <size> option. The default <size> value is 11. You can set it to 12 or even a higher value and see if it works better for you. The --fontsize argument applies to fonts used in menus, dialogs and most components in the IDE.

To change the GUI font-size only once, you can launch NetBeans with the --fontsize <size> option.

To change the GUI font size permanently, edit netbeans.conf file. Specifically, in netbeans.conf (which is located in the /etc folder of your NetBeans installation), look for the line that starts with "netbeans_default_options=". Edit the fontsize parameter if present. If not, add something like "--fontsize 16" (without the quote) at the end of the line.

The size of fonts used in editors (rather than the user interface) is also based on the --fontsize parameter, unless it has been customized in Tools | Options | Fonts & Colors (or Tools | Options | Editing | Editor Settings in older versions).

GTK look&feel specifics

If GTK L&F is used (default for NetBeans 6.1+ when running under Gnome with JDK 6u3 or newer), the --fontsize option does not work because GTK L&F always uses the font size that is set in the Gnome settings. In such a case, you must specify another look&feel or change your Gnome settings.

To specify look&feel that should be used in NetBeans, run NetBeans with option --laf <L&F class name>.

To change the font settings in Gnome, use the appropriate menu item in the Gnome menus. The menus differ depending on the OS distribution and version. In recent Gnome releases, it is usually:

  • System > Preferences > Appearance, tab Fonts, row Application font


Run NetBeans with a larger font size:

netbeans --fontsize 14

Run NetBeans with Metal L&F and a larger font size:

netbeans --laf javax.swing.plaf.metal.MetalLookAndFeel --fontsize 14

Applies to: NetBeans 3.6, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x, 7.x

Platforms: All

How do I read the fontsize value from my netbeans module?

See DevFaqCustomFontSize.

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