8471 - why is editor active tab colored dark grey?

The first thing I noticed about Diana was my editor tabs look funny. When the editor pane is in focus, the active tab is colored grey. If the editor pane loses focus, then the active tab is colored a lighter shade than the non-active tabs.

This is with "Alloy IDEA Theme". I just tried a few of the other themes like "Alloy Default Theme" and "Alloy Glass Theme" and those don't look as bad because the active color is bright color.

This color change seems non-intuitive; I really do not like black text on dark grey for my active editor tab. On my LCD screen I keep the brightness down low and it is actually hard for me to read the tab text when I'm slouching in my chair; Ok, maybe this will encourage me to situp straight with my eyes perpendicular to my LCD at all times. My back thanks you for this change.

Even for the "Allow Default Theme" and "Alloy Glass Theme", it looks odd to me because on those, when the editor doesn't have the focus, the active tab is almost white, lighter than the non-active tabs, but when the editor has focus, the active tab is bright color, darker than the non-active tabs. The problem sticks out more with "Alloy IDEA Theme" because it is almost greyscale so color is eliminated from the equation.

In 7.04, the active tab is always colored lighter shade than non-active tabs. In 7.04 IDEA editor tabs look very similar to Firefox's tabs on windows. Firefox does have slightly more contrast between the lighter shade for the active editor tab and the darker shade for the non-active tabs, which I think helps make the active tab stand out better.

Changing the color to reflect the editor's focus state seems to be solving a problem that no one every had. I never had an issue before except for the lack of contrast between the active and non-active tabs noted above.
Now the active tab changes colors when doing all kinds of things -- even accessing the menu bar changes the tab color, which seems ridiculous. I"m trying to imagine if some other application like Firefox works like this.
While the behavior may be technically correct in showing how the editor temporarily gives up focus while the menubar has it, only to regain focus after you are done clicking Edit->Copy or whatever, it is just kind of pointless, and is creating a distraction to the eye.

Also, over remote desktop, flipping the tab color is costing me a few more milliseconds of my time now everytime I click out of the editor.

My suggestion is to go back to 7.04 tab colors, don't flip the color when the editor loses focus, and look into increasing contrast between active tab and non-active tabs, i.e. make active tab a little lighter and/or make the non-active tabs a little darker.

If you must have this behavior, then I suggest you rethink the three colors being used for active infocus tab, active out-of-focus tab, and non-active tabs. The non-active tabs should always be darker than the active one, whether it is in-focus or out-of-focus. The difference between in-focus and out-focus should be more subtle than the difference between active and non-active.

Or at the very least, please to fix Alloy IDEA Theme which seems to be the worst off for this change. I didnt' go through all the themes; There could be others with the same problem.


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Today, I have switched my theme from "Alloy. IDEA Theme" to "Alloy. Bedoin Theme" which also has neutral background color but uses color to highlight the active tab instead of using dark grey.

If "Alloy. IDEA Theme" is the default theme, I really think you should fix it because it looks worse after this change. Also, "Windows" theme looks bad.

The other thing I noticed is I can no longer double-click the tab to make the editor go full-screen.
I found there already was a Jira open for that ( IDEADEV-26121 ).
It would nice if Jira let you tag a bug as "REGRESSION" so that it could be given higher priority, since the regressions are often what people notice first and keep them from using the EAP, not bugs on the new features in progress.

Shift-click and middle click to close the tab still work.

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It's even worse if file names are colored by VCS.
On my notebook's lcd green on dark blue is almost unreadable - see screenshot.

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Actually, the background color (and all other colors in the IDEA Default Alloy theme) is taken from your OS look and feel. In this case, this is the selection background color. I guess that your OS settings are to use dark color and bright text for selections.

Your problem is related to the fact that the foreground is NOT taken from the OS LaF, but instead it reflects the VCS status.

I am using light background and black text for selection (so my eyes don't have to switch from normal to inverted text) and on my machine the new tabs look ok (though they do look weird).

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Dimitar Dimitrov wrote:

Actually, the background color (and all other colors in the IDEA Default Alloy theme) is taken from your OS look and feel.

No it isn't. At least not if Idea is running in anything else than the Windows LaF.
Try the different Alloy themes. The default scheme "Alloy. IDEA scheme" uses that dark blue background while the other LaFs don't.

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"Alex" <no_reply@jetbrains.com> wrote in message

Today, I have switched my theme from "Alloy. IDEA Theme" to "Alloy. Bedoin
Theme" which also has neutral background color but uses
color to highlight the active tab instead of using dark grey.

I like the "lightness" of the Beodin theme, but the problem (at least on my
Dell LCD) is that the right-hand gutter becomes too light, so I can barely
see the yellow gutter stripes.


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Hi Ted,

I also find the Bedoin theme a little too light. My gutter looks OK, though, because I had modified my error colors to be muted/darker. See screenshot. The default yellow is too bright for my taste.

Also, I customized "Unused symbol" gutter stripe to be gray instead of yellow to match the color used in the editor. I found it annoying that the gutter showed yellow for unused symbols, but in the editor pane there would color the unused symbol in a gray color, which was confusing. IDEA should really do that by default. Maybe it does now; I haven't installed it fresh in awhile.


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I've also tried using the new version of IntelliJ, including the new blue tabs, and it's pretty annoying. Like said before, you cannot read the text on them, and I haven't tried changing the colorscheme yet, but reading a fix on the forum for an out of the box setting is just a little sad, in my opinion. If the default L&F produces these unreadable results, why set it as default? (or include it at all?) Blue on blue is really unreadable, and doesn't make any sense at all.


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