Changing the default Look and Feel of NetBeans
August 26, 2011

Why change the default Look and Feel?

Aesthetics apart, every developer should change the default Look and Feel of NetBeans. Why? because it has an annoying bug. Here’s what happens: you’re pumping code in the NetBeans code editor like crazy. You need to switch to another window for a quick copy / paste from your eternal library of super code. You press ALT + TAB, you go to your other window, you press CTRL + C, you press ALT + TAB, you’re in NetBeans again getting ready to kick your paste operation using CTRL + V… but… but… you’re no longer editing the code! You’re now navigating the menu! ANNOYING! SHOW STOPPER!

Luckily, it turns out this is a bug in the Windows Look and Feel of Java (Which NetBeans uses by default). Time to change it of course. Read on.

Note: I’m running NetBeans IDE 6.7.1 under Windows XP SP3 / Java SDK 1.6. If you have a different version, this bug might not manifest (Lucky you!).

8 Steps to change the default NetBeans Look and Feel

  1. Download the three .nbm files from NetBeans substance look and feel plugin
  2. Open NetBeans. Go to Tools -> Plugins -> Downloaded
  3. Click on Add Plugins and add the three downloaded .nbm files (You have to add them one by one)
  4. Make sure the three files are selected, click Install, and follow through
  5. Restart NetBeans
  6. Go to Tools -> Options -> Miscellaneous -> Look and Feel
  7. Choose your preferred Look and Feel and Restart NetBeans again
  8. Enjoy


ALT + TAB switching to/from netbeans on Windows

NetBeans substance look and feel plugin (Project’s home page)

NetBeans IDE – Look and Feel


Technology Development Open Source

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Written by
Mario Awad

Founder of SOFTKUBE, lead developer, and getting things done addict. Passionate about open source, user interface design, business development, and the tech world.

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