IntelliJ Platform Plugin SDK Help

User Interface FAQ

Useful classes


Always use JBColor instead of plain java.awt.Color (highlighted via inspection Plugin DevKit | Code | Use Darcula aware JBColor). Custom colors must be retrieved via JBColor.namedColor() set by the current Theme. See Exposing Theme Metadata on how to expose corresponding metadata.

If it's needed to retrieve a color from one place and use it in another, do not just retrieve once and use the retrieved value. Instead, use JBColor.lazy() and pass in a lambda expression to retrieve the color. This lambda expression needs to be fast and safe enough, as it will be called every time the color is retrieved, for example, for painting. Following this approach ensures that the color will be properly updated if it's changed at the source, for example, due to a theme or scheme change.

Generic UI colors (e.g., for drawing borders) can be accessed via UIUtil and JBUI. A number of hardcoded colors is defined in JBColor, Gray, and LightColors

ColorUtil allows tuning existing colors.


Use NaturalComparator for "natural" sorting of items.

StringUtil contains a number of useful methods for manipulating text for UI usage:

  • unpluralize()/pluralize() using English rules

  • formatDuration() to format duration: 2 m 3 s 456 ms

  • formatFileSize() to format filesize: 1.23 KB

  • escapeLineBreak() and related methods to escape special characters

  • shortenTextWithEllipsis() and shortenPathWithEllipsis() to produce abbreviated UI texts ending with '…'

  • quote() and unquoteString() to wrap values: Usages of "$value$": 218 found

See Internationalization for information about internationalizing plugins.

See NlsMessages to produce localized messages.

"Recently Used" entries

To store and retrieve values for Recently Used entries (e.g., filter values), use RecentsManager.

Current Theme: Dark or Bright?

To determine the current Theme's style, use JBColor.isBright().

Borders and Insets

Always create borders and insets via factory methods from JBUI.Borders and JBUI.Insets, which create DPI-aware instances. Using standard DPI-agnostic instances (reported by inspection Plugin DevKit | Code | Use DPI-aware borders and Plugin DevKit | Code | Use DPI-aware insets) can result in UI layout problems.

If you use DPI-aware insets in an empty border (JBUI.Borders.empty()), then the insets will be updated automatically, for example, if scaling is changed because the IDE Zoom action was performed or for any other reason. If you use the insets elsewhere, you need to manually call JBInsets.update() in your component's updateUI() method to update the insets accordingly.

Last modified: 19 April 2024