Going Dark in SSMS

I haven’t been a big fan of dark mode in many tools, but I’ve been giving it a try in some applications as my eyes age. I decided to try it in SSMS, which wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped.

I had heard this was coming, then found some notes it wasn’t coming, and eventually landed on Pinal Dave’s blog that shows how to enable it. I followed the instructions, but had this issue in Sublime Text.

2020-03-19 11_09_26-Sublime Text

That’s easy to fix. In my case, I didn’t want to restart Sublime in administrator mode, nor did I want to mess with permissions. I decided to use VS Code, since that’s the other default program that appears with many files. I started it in admin mode:

2020-03-19 11_09_48-SQLQuery1.sql - Plato_SQL2017.sandbox (PLATO_Steve (65))_ - Microsoft SQL Server

I accepted the UAC dialog and then clicked File | Open. From there, I pasted in this path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio 18\Common7\IDE

I picked ssms.pkgundef and opened it. Uncommented the last line for the dark theme and saved the file. Then I restarted SSMS and:

2020-03-19 11_11_39-SQLQuery1.sql - Plato_SQL2017.sandbox (PLATO_Steve (65))_ - Microsoft SQL Server


ish. Not everything is dark.

2020-03-19 11_12_01-SQLQuery1.sql - Plato_SQL2017.sandbox (PLATO_Steve (65))_ - Microsoft SQL Server

This one is particularly annoying to me.

2020-03-19 11_12_12-SQLQuery1.sql - Plato_SQL2017.sandbox (PLATO_Steve (65))_ - Microsoft SQL Server

I did try to alter some items, such as my grid results:

2020-03-19 11_19_34-Options

This somewhat works:

2020-03-19 11_20_54-SQLQuery1.sql - Plato_SQL2017.sandbox (PLATO_Steve (64))_ - Microsoft SQL Server

I’ll stick with it for a bit, but I’ll have to see how much the white sections bother me, especially with the Object Explorer.

I don’t know why this is so hard, or why it’s a low priority. When I look at some of the feedback and posts, this is upsetting to plenty of people and it would seem like something that shouldn’t be hard to fix. However, I know this is a thick, old client, and perhaps no one wants to touch the code? I’ve certainly seen that before in other orgs. Perhaps Microsoft isn’t so different.

About way0utwest

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1 Response to Going Dark in SSMS

  1. Trevor says:

    Thanks for the post, Steve! For the grid results, I think the colors set in Tools > Options weren’t respected in previous SSMS versions, but as of 18.3 they do work. The only annoyance for me is that NULL results in the grid show up as white-text-on-bright-yellow cells. That still happens on the latest SSMS, 18.5. So for now I’ve set the Grid Results colors to silver-text-on-black, and it’s mostly readable.


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