JavaFX 2 Tutorial - Part 4: CSS Styling

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Screenshot AddressApp Part 4

Topics in Part 4

  • CSS Styling
  • Adding an Application Icon

CSS Styling

In JavaFX you can style your user interface using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). This is great! It's never been as easy to customize the appearance of a Java application.

In this tutorial we will create a DarkTheme inspired by the Windows 8 Metro design. The css for the buttons is based on the blog post JMetro - Windows 8 Metro controls on Java by Pedro Duque Vieira.

Getting Familiar with CSS

If you want to style your JavaFX application you should have a basic understanding of CSS in general. A good place to start is this CSS tutorial.

For more JavaFX specific information about CSS:

Default JavaFX CSS

The default source for CSS styles is a file called caspian.css. This css file can be found in the Java FX jar file jfxrt.jar located in your Java folder under /jdk_x.x.x/jre/lib/jfxrt.jar.

This default style sheet is always applied to a JavaFX application. By adding a custom style sheet we can override the default styles of the caspian.css.
Hint: It helps to look at the default CSS file to see which styles you might need to override.

Attaching CSS Style Sheets

Add the following CSS file called DarkTheme.css to the view package.

.background {
    -fx-background-color: #1d1d1d;

.label {
    -fx-font-size: 11pt;
    -fx-font-family: "Segoe UI Semibold";
    -fx-text-fill: white;
    -fx-opacity: 0.6;

.label-bright {
    -fx-font-size: 11pt;
    -fx-font-family: "Segoe UI Semibold";
    -fx-text-fill: white;
    -fx-opacity: 1;

.label-header {
    -fx-font-size: 32pt;
    -fx-font-family: "Segoe UI Light";
    -fx-text-fill: white;
    -fx-opacity: 1;

.table-view {
    -fx-base: #1d1d1d;
    -fx-control-inner-background: #1d1d1d;
    -fx-background-color: #1d1d1d;
    -fx-table-cell-border-color: transparent;
    -fx-table-header-border-color: transparent;
    -fx-padding: 5;

.table-view .column-header-background {
    -fx-background-color: transparent;

.table-view .column-header, .table-view .filler {
    -fx-size: 35;
    -fx-border-width: 0 0 1 0;
        derive(-fx-base, 80%) 
    -fx-border-insets: 0 10 1 0;

.table-view .column-header .label {
    -fx-font-size: 20pt;
    -fx-font-family: "Segoe UI Light";
    -fx-text-fill: white;
    -fx-alignment: center-left;
    -fx-opacity: 1;

.table-view:focused .table-row-cell:filled:focused:selected {
    -fx-background-color: -fx-focus-color;

.split-pane:horizontal > * > .split-pane-divider {
    -fx-border-color: transparent #1d1d1d transparent #1d1d1d;
    -fx-background-color: transparent, derive(#1d1d1d,20%);

.split-pane {
    -fx-padding: 1 0 0 0;

.menu-bar {
    -fx-background-color: derive(#1d1d1d,20%);
    -fx-selection-bar: derive(-fx-background,-7%);

.menu-bar .label {
    -fx-font-size: 14pt;
    -fx-font-family: "Segoe UI Light";
    -fx-text-fill: white;
    -fx-opacity: 0.9;

.text-field {
    -fx-font-size: 12pt;
    -fx-font-family: "Segoe UI Semibold";

 * Metro style Push Button
 * Author: Pedro Duque Vieira
.button {
    -fx-padding: 5 22 5 22;   
    -fx-border-color: #e2e2e2;
    -fx-border-width: 2;
    -fx-background-radius: 0;
    -fx-background-color: #1d1d1d;
    -fx-font-family: "Segoe UI", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
    -fx-font-size: 11pt;
    -fx-text-fill: #d8d8d8;
    -fx-background-insets: 0 0 0 0, 0, 1, 2;

.button:hover {
    -fx-background-color: #3a3a3a;

.button:pressed, .button:default:hover:pressed {
  -fx-background-color: white;
  -fx-text-fill: #1d1d1d;

.button:focused {
    -fx-border-color: white, white;
    -fx-border-width: 1, 1;
    -fx-border-style: solid, segments(1, 1);
    -fx-border-radius: 0, 0;
    -fx-border-insets: 1 1 1 1, 0;

.button:disabled, .button:default:disabled {
    -fx-opacity: 0.4;
    -fx-background-color: #1d1d1d;
    -fx-text-fill: white;

.button:default {
    -fx-background-color: -fx-focus-color;
    -fx-text-fill: #ffffff;

.button:default:hover {
    -fx-background-color: derive(-fx-focus-color,30%);

We now need to attach the CSS to our Scene. We could do this programmatically in Java code, but we'll use the Scene Builder to add it to our fxml files:

Attach CSS to RootLayout.fxml

Open the file RootLayout.fxml in Scene Builder. Select the root BorderPane in the Hierarchy view. Under properties add the DarkTheme.css file as stylesheet.

Attach CSS to PersonEditDialog.fxml

Open the file PersonEditDialog.fxml in Scene Builder. Select the root AnchorPane and choose DarkTheme.css in the properties view as stylesheet.

The background is still white, so add the Style Class background to the root AnchorPane.

Add Style Class

Select the OK button and choose Default Button in the Properties View. This will change its color and make this the default button when the enter key is pressed by the user.

Attach CSS to PersonOverview.fxml

Open the file PersonOverview.fxml in Scene Builder. Select the root AnchorPane in the Hierarchy view. Under properties add the DarkTheme.css file as stylesheet.


You should already see some changes now: The table and the buttons are black. If you select a button and look at the CSS part in the Properties view you will see that there already is a default style class called button.

Button Style

All class styles .button from caspian.css apply to those buttons. Since we've redefined (and thus overridden) some of those styles in our custom CSS, the appearance of the buttons change automatically.

You might need to adjust the size of the buttons so that all text is displayed.

Select the right AnchorPane that is inside the SplitPane. Go to the Properties view and use the plus (+) sign to add a Style Class. Select the background style class. The background should now turn black.


Background Style

If there is a white border around the table, select the TableView and choose 0 for all anchors in the Layout view. Now the table should take up all the left space.

Labels with different style

Right now, all the labels on the right side have the same size. There are already some styles defined in the css file called .label-header and .label-bright that we'll use to further style the labels.

Select the Person Details label and add label-header as a Style Class.

To each label in the right column (where the actual person details are displayed), add the css Style Class label-bright.

Adding an Application Icon

Right now our application just has the default icon in the title bar and taks bar:

Default Icon

It looks much nicer with a custom icon:

Custom Icon

The Icon File

A possible place to get free icons is Icon Finder. I downloaded a little address book icon.

Create a (normal) folder inside your AddressApp project called resources and a subfolder called images in it. Put the icon of your choice inside the images folder. Your folder structure should look something like this now:

Custom Icon File

Set Icon to Scene

To set the icon for our scene add the following line to the start(...) method in
this.primaryStage.getIcons().add(new Image("file:resources/images/address_book_32.png"));

The whole start(...) method will look something like this now:

public void start(Stage primaryStage) {
  this.primaryStage = primaryStage;
  // Set the application icon
  this.primaryStage.getIcons().add(new Image("file:resources/images/address_book_32.png"));

  try {
    // Load the root layout from the fxml file
    FXMLLoader loader = new FXMLLoader(MainApp.class.getResource("view/RootLayout.fxml"));
    rootLayout = (BorderPane) loader.load();
    Scene scene = new Scene(rootLayout);
  } catch (IOException e) {
    // Exception gets thrown if the fxml file could not be loaded


You can also add an icon to the stage of the person edit dialog, of course.

What's Next?

In Tutorial Part 5 we will add XML storage for our data.