How to Enable Dark Theme Sql Server Management Studio – SSMS Dark Theme

For implementing Dark theme in your SSMS just follow this change guide and you will have it ready to work in a few minutes.

After downloading and installing Sql Server Management Studio follow this steps.

Open WordPad or other text editor like notepad++ as an Administrator (Also you can do this using other text editor as WordPad, but don’t forget to open it as an Administrator).

After that you will have to open “ssms.pkgundef” file, In SSMS 18 GA if you did’t change default path you will find “ssms.pkgundef“, This file can be found in the following path

  • SSMS 17.9 and below “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\140\Tools\Binn\ManagementStudio\”
  • SSMS 18.x.x (GA)  C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio 18\Common7\IDE\


Then go to line 460 (in version 17.9 it is located in line 242) or seach for “Remove Dark theme” located in line 452.

All you have to do is comment “[$RootKey$\Themes\{1ded0138-47ce-435e-84ef-9ec1f439b749}]” (Located in line 242) by adding  “//” before it.

The only difference when implementing dark mode in lower versions is the path where “ssms.pkgundef” file is located and the row where row that needs to be commented is.

After that save and close the text editor. Then open Sql Server Management Studio and go to Tools > Options

At Options go to Environment > General then select Color Theme and select “Dark” click on “Ok” and theme will change to dark.

Now dark theme is applied.

Something that I didn’t like is that theme is not completed as you can see.

Certain parts of SSMS keep being white (ex.Object Explorer) and other parts at menu are black with a black background, something that make really hard to read menu content.

I checked Microsoft Forums and people says that this version is on beta and Microsoft developers are going to include “Dark Theme” as an official theme on next versions. Other people say that this version is not going to be included because Microsoft developers says that it will take a lot of effort and rework of certain SSMS parts.

I looked into and i found that they don’t plan to invest on Dark Theme yet.

I don’t really know which version is correct but I expect the first one, because I would like to work with SSMS black theme completed.

As you can see SSMS 18.3.1(GA) didn’t add dark mode and it is still a beta improvement. No real changes, all we have it is the same old Dark Theme with the same issues that we had before.


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