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This is what a function tooltip looks like for Eclipse CDT in Ubuntu 10.04 with the default theme:

black is the new black!

There's nothing in Eclipse's General > Appearance > Colors And Fonts preferences settings. Is there an easy fix for these unreadable context sensitive help boxes?

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Thanks for asking this. I experienced the same problem, but it never occured to me that this would just the place to find people solving that problem for me. :) – Bananeweizen Aug 20 '10 at 19:38
See (ubuntu bug report) and (eclipse bug report). Both said this is fixed, but it doesn't work for me as of now. – Elazar Leibovich Aug 26 '10 at 18:26
There is a solution in this post too...… – Chris Mancini Apr 27 '12 at 14:23

10 Answers 10

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This can be solve by changing the background colour in Ubuntu. I’ve tried changing the background colour in Eclipse but it doesn’t seems to works. To change the background colour in Ubuntu, go to

System > Preferences > Appearance

enter image description here

“Appearance Preferences” panel shows up, click on “Customize…”.

enter image description here

“Customize Theme” shows up, go to “Colors” and select a lighter color for “Tooltips” Background, a darker color for “Tooltips” Text.

enter image description here

Start or restart Eclipse, you will see the the lighter colors you selected when the code-assist appears.

This solution is copied from:

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This may fix Eclipse, but it breaks tooltips in other applications. White on white tooltips for Firefox now! EDIT: aha - restarting seemed to sort Firefox out... I'll keep this setting, it's looking good so far. – richq Aug 8 '10 at 19:48
This is a bug in Eclipse (, so I think there is no better solution to this problem at the moment – lukasz Aug 8 '10 at 20:24
@richq in order not to break everything else, switch the whole theme to, say, "New Wave". – Elazar Leibovich Aug 26 '10 at 18:07
It would be great if you could copy the relevant instructions from that article and add them to your answer. That way, if the link breaks, we'll still have all of the important information. – Michael Martin-Smucker Feb 7 '12 at 1:47
Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Peachy Nov 10 '12 at 12:03

Go to Window -> Preferences -> C/C++ -> Editor Under "Appereance color options" edit your "Source hover background"

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I've solved using this tip:

But I also changed the selected_fg_color to black. So I did change as follows:


So just

sudo gedit /usr/share/themes/Radiance/gtk-2.0/gtkrc 

and insert in place of the first line:

gtk-color-scheme = "base_color:#ffffff\nfg_color:#4c4c4c\ntooltip_fg_color:#000000\nselected_bg_color:#f07746\nselected_fg_color:#000000\ntext_color:#3C3C3C\nbg_color:#E6E6FA\ntooltip_bg_color:#C0C0C0\nlink_color:#DD4814"
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My solution: Set the tooltip background to a gray variety. Works for both white and black text!

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An easy workaround to fix this is to install gnome-color-chooser. Open it, go to Specific -> Tooltips and put black foreground over pale yellow background.

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For CDT do the following:

Window>Preferences>C/C++>Editor: Appearance Color Options>Source Hover Background

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an application-wide setting. Kind of ridiculous.

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Eclipse seems to take the tooltip backgroud color from the system theme.
I wasn't able to change the tooltip color without changing the system theme. I'm using the tropical theme with ambiance window decorations, currently, and it's working great! Give it a try!

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Try to customize the used Ubuntu theme System > Preferences > Appearance > Customize In the tab Colors change the background and text colors of Tooltips

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I had the same problem with Zend Studio, it seems that the only fix at the moment is to adjust the tooltip colors in the appearance settings for ubuntu.

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i think, the tool you want to install is Gnome Color Chooser

i have the screenshot here:

type this to install Gnome Color Chooser:

sudo apt-get install gnome-color-chooser

open it, and go to Spesific -> Tooltip - Background

choose your desired color, and apply it.

does not need to restart your eclipse, the tooltip background color is immediately changing.

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