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It's Only Getting Darker

Continuing my quest on getting a darker UI (see my previous post I Have Gone Dark), I thought I would share some of my experience. This time it's about Eclipse, Visual Studio and iTunes. Yes, I'm slowly darkening (at least, trying to) all the programs I typically use.


I am using Eclipse Indigo, so the screen shots below are Indigo specific. I also tried the approach for Eclipse Juno and it works too. Juno has a neat in-built support for theming, while Indigo relies on the Operating System color theme. However, that Juno is so slow, that you need a very decent machine to run it properly. I'm keeping with Eclipse Indigo for now.

I installed the plugin Eclipse Color Theme from There are plenty of color themes there. I ended up using one of the most popular ones, Oblivion. It's very relaxing for eye (compared to most of the other dark themes). Other good themes are Obsidian, Wombat.
 And this is what Eclipse looks like. One thing to note here is that the themes from will only skin your editors in Eclipse. If you want to skin the rest of the IDE, you will need to change the OS theme (for Eclipse Indigo) or use an Eclipse theme (for Juno).

Visual Studio

I'm using Visual Studio 2010 Professional, so the screen shots below are the that specific version. Theming VS 2010 is a two-step process.

First, the UI itself should be themed. This is not an in-built feature, so I downloaded an installed VS plugin Visual Studio Color Theme Editor. This will give you an item Theme in the top menu and the possibility to change the UI colors and fonts, import, export color schemes, etc. I used the import function to set a theme called Dark Expression.

Second, you will need to style the editor itself. Just like Eclipse, this feature is available in the product and it allows changing the fonts and colors of different editors. I found a nice dark editor called Son of Obsidian (plenty of styles to choose from at, which comes in the form of a .vssettings file export.


There is no support for themes in iTunes for Windows (I am using version 10). I heard there is some support for Mac.

So, in order to skin iTunes, you will need to hack the bits out of it. This is exactly what Silent Night dark theme does (and does it very well, by the way).


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