Accepted answer

you can edit eclipse's css instead of messing with the gtk theme.

in your eclipse directory find the file plugins/org.eclipse.platform_4.2.*/css/e4_default_gtk.css (there's an * in there, because i guess that the version may change in the future or may be different already). in this file there's a css class:

.mpartstack {
    font-size: 11;
    swt-simple: false;
    swt-mru-visible: false;

and you have two possible solutions:

  1. change font-size to something smaller
  2. just comment out or remove font-size from this class (works well for me)

and that should do the trick.


an alternative way is to select:

system settings > universal access > text size as small.


you can edit all small details about tab size here:



you may try the theme from

after install this theme, apply it by choosing the theme in window > preferences > general > appearence > jeeeyul's themes.

and to solve the large tab problem, please refer to

it's easy and beatiful. enjoy it!


eclipse is now (4.5 mars) defaulting to gtk3 on linux. for 4.6 a fix seems to be alredy merged.

changing swt_gtk3 environment variable works for eclipse mars:

$ export swt_gtk3=0

or set that variable inline with running eclipse

$ swt_gtk3=0 /path/to/eclipse/eclipse

to kill it dead just drop this in the root as

swt_gtk3=0 exec env "${}"


i also wanted to reduce especially the horizontal space in order to fit more tabs, as eclipse lacks multi-row tabs.

these instructions will go for any platform (not limited to e.g. ubuntu/gtk).

what i did was:

  • reduced the font size
  • changed font to something horizontal-compact
  • removed the x (close tab) button

...yielding the following result on my system (win 7):

screenshot with modified tabs

...and this is how it's done:

  1. check what css layout you're using: preferences->general->appearance-> check value of 'theme:' listbox

  2. open the corresponding file in <eclipse folder>\plugins\org.eclipse.platform_<your version>\css, e.g. e4_default_win7.css

  3. modify .mpartstack entries to set font size and font, e.g.:

    .mpartstack {
        font-size: 8;
        font-family: 'arial narrow';
        swt-simple: true;
        swt-mru-visible: false;
  4. add the following entry to remove the x (close icon):

    ctabitem {
        swt-show-close: false !important;   

that's it!


style of tabs can be changed in eclipse 4.2 by editing css. you can change styles directly in eclipse preferences window after installing the e4 css editor plug-in.

go to menu help > install new software, then install e4 css editor (incubation) plug-in using eclipse 4 update site (add this link:

after restart, go to window > preferences, general > appearance and now you can edit styles here for any selected theme.

i am using this style for tabs:

.mpartstack {
  font-size: 9;
  font-family: liberation sans;
  swt-tab-renderer: null;
  swt-tab-height: 22px;
  swt-selected-tabs-background: #ffffff #ece9d8 100%;
  swt-simple: false;
  swt-mru-visible: false;

you can specify tabs height using the swt-tab-height option. it's value sets tab height ignoring the font size.

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