We conclude Grijjy’s first blog year with a non-technical post for a change. We present two alternative color schemes for the text editor of the Delphi IDE that work well with the new dark theme that has been introduced with Delphi 10.2.2.
I absolutely love Delphi’s new dark IDE theme and icon designs. It is easier on the eyes and provides a more consistent and modern look and feel. Some people may dismiss this as purely cosmetic and form-over-function, but I disagree with that. If you spend hours every day with your favorite IDE, then looks really matter. A color theme that puts less strain on the eyes may reduce fatigue and a consistent and clear design can improve productivity.
Default Dark Theme
As much as I love the dark theme, I am a bit less excited about the editor colors. The text editor has the same background color as all other panels, which makes it harder to differentiate the various sections of the IDE:
Also, the pastel-like editor colors on a not-too-dark background make the text look a bit washed out. Of course, this is all just a matter of taste and you may completely disagree with me.
Another issue with the default dark color theme is that it makes the Search feature very confusing: When you search for some text, the background color of the match is the same is the background color of the editor. As a result, it is difficult to find (no pun intended) the match in the editor (although you will see all other matches). But I’m sure this issue will be addressed in a future update.
Alternative Theme based on Icon Colors
One of the very nice visual touches in the new IDE is the redesign of most icons using a uniform color scheme consisting of only 6 colors. The great thing about this scheme is that it works equally well on light and dark backgrounds.
David Millington has an excellent post about the rationale behind the new icon designs and color scheme. The following editor theme is based on this color scheme:
The editor background is a bit darker, to differentiate it from the rest of the IDE and to increase the contrast of the text.
Visual Studio Code based Theme
However, if you prefer a softer color scheme for the editor, then you can take a look at this theme based on the default theme of the Visual Studio Code editor:
Installing an Alternative Theme
You can find these themes in our JustAddCode/AlternativeEditorThemes repository on GitHub. To install a theme, you use the migration tool that ships with Delphi. For those of you unfamiliar with this tool, follow these steps:
- Shut down the Delphi IDE.
migrationtool.exe, which you can find in the
c:\Program Files (x86)\Embarcadero\Studio\19.0\bin\directory of your Delphi installation.
- Choose the option “Import settings from a migration file” and browse for one of the theme files (with an
- On the next page, accept the defaults (to import all settings).
- On the page after that, select the IDE version you want to import the settings into. You should only select version 10.2 (with update 2) or later, since the theme isn’t designed for earlier Delphi versions.
- Finish the wizard.
You don’t have to worry about your other settings. Only the text color settings will be replaced. If you don’t like the theme, then you can always revert back to the original theme with these steps:
- In Delphi, select the “Tools | Options…” menu option.
- Navigate to “Environment Options | Editor Options | Color”.
- Set the “Color SpeedSetting” to “Dark”.
Alternative Editor Font
In the last two screen shots, I also used a different editor font. I have become quite fond of the Consolas font for text editing since it is very readable, more modern and optimized for ClearType on LCD monitors. This is how it compares to the default Courier New font:
Again, this is a personal choice and a matter of taste. If you want to try it out, then you can change your font under “Environment Options | Editor Options | Display” in your IDE options. You may want to set to font size a bit larger than you would for the “Courier New” font.
If none of the editor themes are to your liking, then I suggest you take a look at the Delphi IDE Theme Editor. With hundreds of themes to choose from, there must be at least one to your liking.
Happy New Year!
If you have any improvements to the themes presented here, then please let us know. We will add them to our GitHub repository.
Next year, we will be back with more technical articles. We’ll see you then and wish you a Happy New Year!