15 September 2020

Making SQL Developer's UI use your preferred language

Recently I was using Oracle's SQL Developer at a client site where all the virtual PCs were configured for a non-English language and my SQL Developer was choosing this language by default for the User Interface.

I'm so used to working with SQL Developer in English that I found it a little distracting to read the menu options, etc. in a different language - even if it's a language that I use on a daily basis.

After a short time searching online I came across this quick fix written by Matthias Karl Schulz in 2011 - and it is essentially still valid today in SQL Developer 20.2.  

To summarise, here's what you need to do:

  1. Find the sqldeveloper.conf file inside your SQL Developer installation. 

    On a PC I found this at

    On MacOS it's at /Applications/SQLDeveloper.app/Contents/Resources/sqldeveloper/sqldeveloper/bin/sqldeveloper.conf
    (Note: On MacOS you should right click on the SQLDeveloper.app file and choose "Show Package Contents" to open these directories.)

  2. For English, just add the following line to the file.  For other languages, you can replace the "=en" by the ISO 639-1 two-letter code for whichever language you wish to force SQL Developer to use.  I've tried German (de) and Spanish (es) just to see how it looks and it works just fine.

    AddVMOption -Duser.language=en

  3. Save the file

  4. Close SQL Developer if it is already open

  5. Restart SQL Developer. 
And there you have it, SQL Developer will now open in the language of your choice.  
Not all languages are available.  For example, I tried the Irish language ("ga" in ISO 639-1) but, as I expected, it wasn't available (yet).