IntelliJ Platform Plugin SDK Help

Exposing Theme Metadata

All available UI Customization Keys that can be used in Custom Themes must be defined in a dedicated *.themeMetadata.json file which is registered via com.intellij.themeMetadataProvider extension point.

The following minimal sample demonstrates all details required when exposing UI customization keys of your plugin's UI.


<idea-plugin> <extensions defaultExtensionNs="com.intellij"> <themeMetadataProvider path="/META-INF/MyPlugin.themeMetadata.json"/> </extensions> </idea-plugin>


{ "name": "My Plugin", "fixed": false, "ui": [ { "key": "MyComponent.border", "description": "The border for my component. Not used anymore.", "deprecated": true, "source": "com.myplugin.MyComponent", }, { [more keys...] } ] }


  • name- Human-readable name, e.g., plugin name

  • fixed- false by default, true if metadata describes external elements, e.g., an UI library

  • ui- Root element listing all customization keys:

    • key- Customization key name (see Key Naming Scheme)

    • description- Description to be shown to Theme authors editing *.theme.json files

    • deprecated- true when key is deprecated, please provide explanation and/or replacement in description if available

    • source- FQN of the underlying UI component implementation

    • since- The release number (e.g. [2019.2]) when this UI customization key was exposed. A release number prior to 2019.2 is valid.

Color keys can be used via JBColor.namedColor() providing defaults for Light and Dark theme:

private static final Color SECTION_HEADER_FOREGROUND = JBColor.namedColor("Plugins.SectionHeader.foreground", new JBColor(0x787878, 0x999999));

Other keys can be obtained via javax.swing.UIManager#getXXX() methods.

Key Naming Scheme

All keys must follow this Naming Pattern:


Key Naming Pattern


WordUse forExample
foregroundText color.Label.foreground
backgroundBackground color for objects with text.Label.background
<part>ColorObjects with a single color (do not have foreground/background). Do not use the word “Color” separately, always use with the “part” word.

The word “Color” shows that this is a color property. Otherwise, it can be confused with a property of another type.


WordUse forExample
ActiveEnabled components, default state. Omit this word. The default state does not need explicit naming.Notification.background
InactiveEnabled components that might be perceived as interactive but are actually not. Example: a tree with visible selection but not in focus. Goes after other state words.Tree.inactiveBackground
FocusedThe current focused component.Button.focusedBorderColor
SelectedA selected tab or any other control that has equally meaningful selected and inactive states.ToolWindow.HeaderTab.selectedBackground
An action as indicated in states.Link.hoverForeground
Validation states. See example in the guide article.ValidationTooltip.errorBackground
DisabledUnavailable components.Label.disabledForeground


A part is an internal element of a component, e.g., an arrow button in a combo box. Create a separate key for a part if its properties differ from the parent object.

If a part is common among several components, use the same name for it. Notable examples of common parts:

Common partsUse forExample
Shortcut foreground.Menu.acceleratorForeground
BorderA line around a component.NavBar.borderColor
CaretThe vertical line that denotes typing place.TextField.caretForeground
ModifiedItemAn object that has been modified but not yet saved.

Example: change anything in the Settings dialog, the setting group name in the tree becomes blue.
FocusWide focus border around a component.Component.focusColor

“Component” is a special key that sets common properties for several basic input components.
InfoSecondary labels with additional useful information. Usually appear in gray color to the right or below a regular label.CompletionPopup.infoForeground
IconAn icon that is created with a source code (not an image file).Table.sortIconColor
SelectionThe focus place in a component with selectable text. Can be in a typed text or in a list or tree.
Goes before other state words (for historical reasons).
SeparatorA horizontal or vertical line inside a component. Can be with a label.Menu.separatorColor
ShadowA shadow below a component.Button.shadowColor


Use a subobject when creating keys for one of the following:

  • An implementation variation. Usually has a similar set of UI property keys as the parent object. Examples:
    • Default button: Button.Default.background

    • Tool window notification: Notification.ToolWindow.errorBackground

  • An internal smaller component of a complex component with its own UI and behavior. Examples:
    • Tool window tab: ToolWindow.HeaderTab.inactiveBackground

    • The hint text at the bottom of a popup: Popup.Advertiser.background

Gradient Color

If a component has a gradient color, add the words “start” and “end” for the beginning and ending of a gradient. Examples:

  • Button.startBorderColor/ Button.endBorderColor

  • SearchMatch.startBackground/ SearchMatch.endBackground


Capitalize Object and SubObject. Use lowerCamelCase for property.

Do Not Use

Do not useUse instead
Color as a separate word<Part>Color
darcula and other look-and-feel namesOmit

Swing Legacy

Some color keys are not named according to the rules above. Such keys are inherited from Java Swing and cannot be renamed for compatibility reasons. Do not use naming patterns from the legacy keys.

Examples of Swing keys:

  • activeCaption Correct: WindowsDialogHeader.background

  • Button.disabledText Correct: Button.disabledForeground

  • TableHeader.background Correct: Table.Header.background

IntelliJ Platform Metadata

Metadata is split up as follows:

New keys should be added to IntelliJPlatform.themeMetadata.json only (or corresponding "local" *.themeMetadata.json file of the plugin if applicable).

Please make sure to add a description and use since and deprecated attributes explained in Attributes. Respect Key Naming Scheme and keep alphabetical ordering of keys.

Last modified: 14 January 2021