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?


10 Answers 10


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


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

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

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

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

This solution is copied from: http://tipstank.com/2010/05/23/solve-eclipse-black-pop-up-code-assist-box-in-ubuntu-10-4-lucid/

  • 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, 2010 at 19:48
  • This is a bug in Eclipse (bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=319986), so I think there is no better solution to this problem at the moment
    – lukasz
    Aug 8, 2010 at 20:24
  • @richq in order not to break everything else, switch the whole theme to, say, "New Wave". Aug 26, 2010 at 18:07

I've solved using this tip: http://wiki.eclipse.org/IRC_FAQ#Black_background_color_for_tooltips_on_Linux.2FUbuntu.2FGTK

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"

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.


My solution: Set the tooltip background to a gray variety. Works for both white and black text!


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.


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.

  • This also works on openSUSE: zypper install gnome-color-chooser Aug 1, 2016 at 10:02

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!


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


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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