Tag: Dark theme in SSMS

Dark theme in Sql Server Management Studio

Many people prefer dark theme for computer displays. It actually enhances the visual ergonomics by reducing eye strain and providing comfort of use at all conditions.Another important benefit, it conserves battery power, there by enabling device to run longer period of time.

Please refer this link for more details.

Now, let us take a look at the fact that dark theme can be applied to SSMS and how do we do and what are implications.

Writing this blog, I am using SSMS 18.2 version, the latest by now. In future, the facts may change if MS decided to make a change.

Do we have Dark theme by default available in SSMS 18.2?

The answer is NO. We do not have an option to change the SSMS into a dark theme by default.However, it provides a way for us to change to “Blue”, “Blue (Extra Contrast)” and “Light” as below.

How do we make SSMS in Dark theme?

There are two ways from my analysis:

1. Custom your SSMS window using Tools -> Options -> Environment -> Fonts and Colors.

The challenge here is to customize each and every items from the list and provide the color combinations. Honestly, this is something very challenging for me to identify the better combinations. There is a blog written by Aaron Betrand on the same, and its really helpful for the basic settings.

2. Change the SSMS settings

There is a file called ssms.pkgundef in the path – “Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio 18\Common7\IDE“. This file is where you will place registry entries that are to be removed during setup of your application. If you look at the content of this files, you can see the below code:


// Remove Dark theme
[$RootKey$\Themes\{1ded0138-47ce-435e-84ef-9ec1f439b749}]

The above code, actually removes the dark options from SSMS while setting up of SSMS. To enable dark theme for SSMS, you can simply comment the code as below and it will give the option of “Dark” in Tool -> Option -> General -> Color Theme as below.

Please be aware, this is a hack or undocumented way of changing SSMS config files. It may or may not work and its not supported by Microsoft. This may be made unavailable or documented because this may not be interoperable with other Windows display settings. So please be use this as an option at your own risk.

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