28 June 2007

Magnification and General Font Size in SQL Developer

As a speaker at conferences, it is important that customers can see what I am demonstrating, no matter the size of the room, or how far back they sit. When I was working in the JDeveloper team, I used to change the font settings in JDeveloper so that the text would be clearly visible. For some time now, I have been using a Magnifying Glass instead of changing the font. Mostly becuase of the loss of real estate when making all the fonts much bigger. The magnifier I like is one I got from Source Forge - http://magnifier.sourceforge.net/

Using a magnifier is great for what I need, when speaking and doing demos, because I can show the audience just what I want them to see. It's no good if you need the font on your IDE to be a little bigger while you are working. Also real estate is typically less of problem when working at home or in the office, as most of us are not limited to the small screen of a laptop.

Changing the font size in SQL Developer is an enhancement that a few have asked for. In JDeveloper we just changed the setting in the ide.properties file. As we don't have the property in our ide.properties file, it didn't seem to be something we could control. While working on something quite different today, I came across the ide.properties file in SQL Developer again, and while the font property is not there, it occurred to me that by adding it, it might override the default. It does!

Increasing the Font Size in SQL Developer
  • Locate the ide.properties file in your installation in the following folder:
    {your SQL Developer install directory}\sqldeveloper\sqldeveloper\system\oracle.sqldeveloper.
    - you'll see I am using SQL Developer 1.2
  • Add the line Ide.FontSize=14 or what ever size suits you. The default for the IDE is 11
  • Restart SQL Developer
The Code Editors are not affected by this. To update those, you need to change the settings once you have restarted SQL Developer. Select the menu Tools -> Preferences... Expand the Code Editor node and select Fonts to update those. This property affects the SQL Worksheet, along with the Execute script (F5 ) output, and the PL/SQL Editors. My initial review seems to show reasonable dialogs throughout, with the exception of some of the new Migration Workbench dialogs.

Have fun!


Steven Feuerstein said...

Thanks for the tip on the magnifier, Susan. I do lots and lots of presentations and generally I DO increase my font size dramatically inside Toad (I can tweak just about every display aspect of the tool). But you are right. Real estate suffers. Next time out, I am going to try VMG. Looks very cool.

Regards, Steven Feuerstein

Anonymous said...

Thanks Susan, working with sql developer on an Ubuntu laptop, I really appreciate your tip.

One thing I'd like to know is
how to modify the fonts in the help windows, it is difficult
to read the small fonts...

Thank you!
Andreas Haunschmidt
from Austria

email: haunand@gmail.com

Søren Werk said...

Hmm... Not working! When I start SQL Developer v.1.2.1 the ide.properties file gets overwritten! Somewhere I could turn that off?

Sue said...


You need to have SQL Developer closed when you make the mods to the ide.properties file. This is indeed updated when you open SQL Developer, so if the product is open when you make the changes then they are lost when you close SQL Developer.

So the process is, have SQL Dev closed, then update the ide.properties, then start up SQL Developer.


Sue said...


You asked about the Help font. You can change this for the window you are in, i.e. the help topic, by using crtl + or -. This is for the duration of the window. We have a bug logged to have this persisted.


Anonymous said...

I use sqldeveloper 1.1.3, to change IDE font size as sue describe find the file ide.properties at your home directory.
Usually at hidden directory in my case the path is /home/mesz/.sqldeveloper/system/oracle.sqldeveloper.

Anonymous said...

Thanks tons for the "Ide.FontSize"-hint!! I was about to get sore eyes with those tiny SQLDeveloper fonts....

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to change the font let's say to Courier New?

Chandu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kajdo said...

Hi Sue, i found your blog once more while i was searching for some hints to improve my work with sqldeveloper. as a previous poster already asked ... Is it possible to change the font let's say to Courier New? (in the result window not code editor)

thx for all your good work

Anonymous said...

Author, Thank you for article!
The tip for windows' users: search "ide.properties" file in your "Documents and Settings" folder.

Sue said...


There is a request logged for the IDE to have more control on the FONT settings. This is not yet approved, but we are aware of the requirement.


blackweta said...

Hey Sue!

Just posting an update for anyone that finds this post, as the locations are different in the current 2.1.1.x release.

SQL Developer now puts ide.properties in the user settings location on Windows.

So in my case (as an example):

C:\Documents and Settings\brocask\Application Data\SQL Developer\system2.\o.sqldeveloper.

Thanks for your post - it put me on the right track.

Now if we could just get Java 6 to use ClearType properly our font woes would be over.

I add the following to sqldeveloper.conf (could just as well go in other .conf files) which helps somewhat with the horrible java rendering of fonts:

AddVMOption -Dswing.aatext=true
AddVMOption -Dawt.useSystemAAFontSettings=lcd