Oct 1, 2012

How to fix unreadable Eclipse tooltips in Ubuntu 12.04

[Originally posted on G+ on May 7th 2012]

Similarly to what happened in earlier versions of Ubuntu, the default tooltip colors of the Ambiance theme (Ubuntu default) results in unreadable Eclipse tooltips (black foreground text on black background).

In earlier versions of Ubuntu you could edit the Ambiance theme via Gnome control panel and change the tooltip colors. Unluckily, the new "Appearance" settings dialog of Ubuntu 12.04 allows you to select the theme but you cannot tweak its colors anymore.

So here is how you can fix the problem.
Install gnome-color-chooser:
sudo apt-get install gnome-color-chooser 
run the tool and switch to the Specific tab. Activate the Tooltip group and set your tooltip colors (I use black foreground on white background). Then, at the bottom of the dialog select the value Theme Default for the profile combo and press apply. The next time you start Eclipse it will honour your tooltip colors.

For those who may be interested, gnome-color-chooser will change your ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file.


  1. Great! This helped me easily and quickly. :o)

  2. I followed this, choosing black text on yellow background. Then this caused my Firefox hover-over text to be an unreadable white on a yello background. Hmm not sure why.

    1. I am sorry for the issue, I did not experience this problem. My only suggestion is to try experimenting with other colours.

  3. Thank you - worked for Ubuntu 14.04 as well.

  4. Thanks! It worked very well.