Code Editor Colourscheme: Antarctica

Antarctica is a unified code editing colourscheme using sky-blue and silver as the dominant colours. The idea is similar to Solarized, but with a distinctive cold, blue feel. It is suitable for people who prefer cold-coloured themes over warm-coloured themes such as Solarized.

Demo image showing the Antarctica light & dark colorschemes in many popular code editors.

Demo image showing the Antarctica light & dark colorschemes in many popular code editors.

The colourscheme was originally used in old versions of Bloodshed’s DEV C++ for Windows. The light version of Antarctica is very similar to the original, but has been “modernised”, using off white / off black rather than pure white/black, shown to improve readability and reduce eye strain. The dark version of Antarctica has a very similar feel to its light counterpart, reversing light/dark but mostly keeping the same primary colours.


The key ideas & features behind Antarctica include:

  • Unified light / dark colourscheme – Some people like light, some people like dark. Some people like a light-themed code editor but prefer a dark-themed console, so prefer GVIM on light theme but occasionally use console-mode VIM in dark-theme for quick edits in terminal. Antarctica uses similar primary colours to create familiarity in both its light / dark versions.
  • Consistent colourscheme across all code editors – Programmers may use many editors, Eclipse ADT to write Java stuff for android, VIM-ing your ~/.bashrc, Visual Studio for a DirectX game, all in a day’s work. Keeping the coding colourscheme consistent across all these environments may help to build memory, so the brain develops a stronger association between a programming language syntax and its corresponding colour.
  • No rainbow – Colour is not abused. Much of the actual code remains black/white, only things that need highlighting should be highlighted and at the appropriate level. For people who detest getting rainbow shoved in their face when they open a code editor.
  • Cold colours for normal, warm colours for alert Blue / silver used for normal, while red hues are reserved for things needing immediate attention such as search results and errors. Preprocessor is coloured green, distinctive from blue/silver but no need for alert/attention. Magic number constants are coloured purple (red + blue), meaning “beware of magic number, but it’s probably o.k. and not a worry”.

Please note that I’m in no way a graphics design or colour expert. The above ideas are simply from me getting annoyed trying to use other colourschemes.

Supported Editors

Antarctica colourscheme is currently ported to the following popular code editors:

  • Vim (requires 256 colour terminal support).
  • GVim.
  • DEV C++ (Orwell’s). Where it all started.
  • Eclipse.
  • GEdit, default GNOME editor.
  • PSPad.
  • Sublime Text 2
  • Visual Studio (tested on 2012, but the colourscheme plugin works on others).

These editors aren’t currently supported. Someday I’ll get around to doing it.

  • Kate / Kwrite, default KDE editor
  • Notepad++
  • SciTE
  • JEdit

Please feel free to suggest in the comments any editors you would like Antarctica ported to!



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