Customizing the Look and Feel of the Netbeans IDE

Doc Contributor: Cydey


Look and Feel of the Netbeans IDE is customizable using the Substance Plugin developed by kirillcool. As of August 25, 2008, the Substance Plugin is no longer being developed.

Downloading Substance Netbeans Module

  • Visit the link https://substance-netbeans.dev.java.net/, the project Page for the Substance Netbeans Module.
  • Click the download link to download the module as a .nbm file. A pop-up window would open up asking for where to download. You can create a separate folder which would contain all the netbeans modules you wish to install.

File:Choose where to download

Installing Substance Netbeans Plugin

1. Open the Netbeans IDE. (Netbeans 6.0 used in the images) 2. On the Menu Bar choose Tools and further choose the 2nd last option Plugins from the submenu.

File:Plugin Manager

3. The Plugin manager by default opens up the Update Tab; change the tab to Downloaded.

File:Plugin Manager (after changing tab)

4. Click the Add Plugins button; A window pops up; navigate to the directory where you downloaded the plugin and add it. It shows up as visible in the figure. 5. Click the install button on the Bottom-left corner of the window.

File:Install the Plugin

6. A confirmation window pops up; click Next to continue the installation. 7. Next you need to read the license agreement and accept it. The plugin is licensed under CDDL.

File:Accrpt the licence agreement

8. Since the plugin is designed by kirillcool it is not digitally signed and you would need to ignore and continue inspite of the Validation Warning.

File:Ignore the Warning

9. The plugin would install automatically; Once the installation is finished the window would show an option to restart the IDE. Please do so to complete the installation.

File:Restart to complete Installation

Configuring the Plugin to suit One's taste

1. When the Netbeans IDE restarts, you will find that the look of the IDE has already changed to a default look as shown in the figure.

File:New Default Look after restart

File:Another Look at the theme

2. If you would observe carefully, a new submenu items are added in the View Drop Down Menu such as Button Shapes, Colors, Skins, Themes, Watermarks etc.

File:New Submenu Items

3. You can change the skin using the Skin submenu item in the View Menu.

File:New Skin

4. You can also change the theme and add watermarks as required.

File:With Watermarks

5. A lot of themes categorised into Bright, Cold and Dark are available in the Themes menu.

File:Mixed Theme

6. Some Screenshots of Netbeans customised with Substance are as shown, these are the entries for the Look & Feel Competition (see references)

File:Substance1 , File:Substance2 , File:Substance3

File:Substance4 , File:Substance5 , File:Substance6

File:Substance7 , File:Substance8 , File:Substance9


1. Substance Look and Feel Home

2. Additional Themes

3. Additional Watermarks

4. Special Substance for Netbeans

5. Online Substance Color theme editor

6. Online Substance Button Shape editor

7. Look and Feel Competition Screenshots

8. Kirill Grouchnikov's Blog

9. Netbeans IDE 5.0 Look & Feel

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