Good Sublime Text Themes and How to Install Them

I’ve been experimenting with Sublime Text lately. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to give up Vim, but there are some aspects of Sublime Text that I really like. Opening new files is very fast — just hit ctrl-p and type some letters from the file. The file will be open before you know what happened, even if it’s in a subdirectory.

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I’ve been looking for some good themes for Sublime Text. I haven’t found the perfect one yet, but here are some that are usable for the moment.

Disclaimer

These are just my personal opinions based on my preferences. I’m not making a judgement about whether a theme is “good” or “bad”. I’m just looking for something that works for me. These are my favorite out of the ones I’ve looked at so far. At the moment I’ve settled on one called Tomorrow Night.

First, Vim

First, here is the desert theme from Vim that I’ve been using for years. It’s perfect. If I could find this exact theme for Sublime Text, I would use it. Click the images for larger versions.

Vim desert theme
Vim desert theme

Sublime Text Themes

Below is the default theme from Sublime Text, called Monokai. For me, the comments are a bit faint, and the colors are too saturated for my preferences.

Monokai default theme
Monokai default theme

Here is a theme called Solarized Light. It’s a bit too low contrast for me, but it’s not unusable. A lot of thought went into the Solarized color scheme, but the colors aren’t exactly what I’m looking for.

Solarized light theme
Solarized light theme

The one below is called Slush & Poppies. I’m not sure if I want to use a gray background for the long term, but it isn’t unusable.

Slush and Poppies theme
Slush and Poppies theme

Installing More Themes for Sublime Text

I found some additional themes from Dayle Rees on Github. You can install them by getting Sublime Package Control. After that is installed, press ctrl-shift-p  and the first few letters of “install” until you see Package Control: Install Package. Hit enter. Then start typing “Dayle Rees” until you see the package with the extra themes.

It will look something like this, except the exact package doesn’t appear in the screenshot, because I’ve already installed it.

Searching package manager for Dayle Rees' Sublime Text themes
Searching the package manager

After that, you’ll have many more Sublime Text themes to choose from.

Below is a theme called Laravel, which is the framework that I’m learning at the moment. The comments are faint, and the overall look is a bit too low-contrast for my preferences, but it’s usable.

Laravel theme for Sublime Text
Laravel theme for Sublime Text

There is also a darker version of the Laravel theme. I like the darker version better.

Laravel Darker theme for Sublime Text
Laravel Darker theme

Here is one that I like called Natural Contrast. I like it because the colors are balanced and the comments are highlighted. I think that highlighting the comments is a great idea, since they contain information that one needs to pay attention to. I don’t know why some themes almost hide comments.

Natural Contrast theme for Sublime Text
Natural Contrast theme for Sublime Text

I was going to conclude that Natural Contrast is my favorite of the Sublime Text themes that I’ve seen, but just before I published this post, I discovered Tomorrow color schemes.

Tomorrow Color Schemes

To download the Tomorrow Color Schemes, use the package manager. Once the package manager is installed, you can press ctrl-shift-p. Type install and then tomorrow. That should bring up the option to install the themes:

Installing tomorrow themes
Installing the Tomorrow themes

Here are screenshots of some of the Tomorrow themes.

This one is called Tomorrow Night Eighties.

Tomorrow Night Eighties
Tomorrow Night Eighties

I’m not usually a fan of blue backgrounds, but Tomorrow Night Blue is good:

Tomorrow Night Blue
Tomorrow Night Blue

Here is a higher contrast version called Tomorrow Night Bright:

Tomorrow Night Bright
Tomorrow Night Bright

And, finally, Tomorrow Night. It’s very similar to the Vim Desert theme, except the comments are fainter:

Tomorrow Night
Tomorrow Night

Below is a side-by-site comparison of Vim’s Desert theme with Sublime Text’s Tomorrow Night theme. I prefer Desert, but this is as close as I’ve gotten so far.

Tomorrow Night vs. Desert
Tomorrow Night vs. Desert

I hope that the screenshots and info above can help other people.

What is your favorite color theme for Sublime Text? Any other suggestions?

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9 thoughts on “Good Sublime Text Themes and How to Install Them”

  1. Looks good. I will check it out.

    I don’t normally like blue themes, but I’m finding myself using Tomorrow Night Blue lately.

  2. Nice article!
    My favorite Sublime theme is Solarized Dark, but now that I read your article I think I will try the Tomorrow dark, since I am also big fan of Vim Desert. Kudos!

  3. I do like the Tomorrow themes. I ended up going back to vim, because my hands were getting confused when I had to switch back and forth between editors. I’ve usually just been staying in the terminal lately…

  4. Nice post. I was looking for the easiest way to install the GitHub theme and installing Dayle Rees color schemes using package control was as quick as I could ask for. 3 seconds to install around 50 themes.

  5. I noticed you say you enjoy Vim (as do I), and don’t know if you found this out already, but you can have full Vim command and control available by having the following in your “Settings – User” file:
    "ignored_packages": []
    Once you save the file, just press the escape key and you will be using Vim within Sublime Text.

  6. Thanks… I tried that, but ended up going back to Vim, because only some Vim commands work in Sublime’s Vintage Mode.

  7. What would be really nice is a site where a dropdown selection of language refreshes the page to display an example of that language, as a sample for each theme/scheme available for Package Control, as well as installed with Sublime. So examples of all available themes demonstrate the language selected in the dropdown. Further, a check mark indicates any schemes/themes that are currently installed.

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