Quaqua Look and Feel

The Quaqua Look and Feel (Quaqua) is a user interface library for Java applications which wish to closely adhere to the Apple Human Interface Guidelines for Mac OS X.


Quaqua Look And Feel - Metalworks

Sun's Metalworks Demo running with the Quaqua Look and Feel

Quaqua is not a fully self-contained look and feel. It runs on top of Apple's Aqua Look and Feel, and provides fixes and enhancements for it.


  • (Nearly) Native User Experience
    Quaqua user interface delegates closely look and behave like their native counterparts. Complex user interface components, such as JFileChooser and JColorChooser, are close enough to make end users feel comfortable with them.
  • Blending into OS X Designs
    Quaqua supports three OS X designs: Tiger, Panther, Jaguar. Quaqua automatically chooses the right design for the current operating system.
  • Alternative Styles
    Quaqua offers alternative styles for many user interface elements. Such as small styles for most of the components, as well as a striped style for tables, lists and trees. Jaguar-design like tabbed panes with stacking tabs are also supported.
  • Additional Components
    Quaqua provides Swing implementations of NSBrowser and NSSheet (named JBrowser and JSheet).
  • Clean Layout
    Laying out Aqua components with Java is quite challenging. Quaqua provides an API for component alignment based on visual criteria (baseline, visual bounds, preferred gaps). JScrollPane's automatically avoid overlaps with the grow-boxes of windows.
  • Localized in four languages
    Quaqua is localized in the following languages: German, French, Italian and English.

License terms

The code of the Quaqua Look and Feel is copyright by Werner Randelshofer.
The Aqua user interface generated by the Quaqua Look and Feel is copyright by Apple Inc. Aqua is a trademark of Apple Inc.

With exception of the Aqua artwork in the code (images and other graphical elements which reproduce Aqua), the code of Quaqua can be licensed under the terms of the LGPL and/or the Modified BSD license. Use of the Aqua user interface is only licensed for Apple hardware running an Apple operating system.

Quaqua is free for commercial and non-commercial use.


The Quaqua Look and Feel is available in two editions.

  • A full fledged edition providing as much user interface elements by Quaqua as possible.
  • A smaller file chooser only edition, which only provides user interface for JFileChooser's - all other user interface elements are taken from the Aqua Look and Feel which ships with Apple's Macintosh Runtime for Java.

Supported Platforms

The Quaqua Look and Feel supports Apple's J2SE 1.4, J2SE 5 and J2SE 6 and SoyLatte J2SE 6 on Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5.

Altough Quaqua works with J2SE 6, it provides limited support for features which go beyond J2SE 5.

The Quaqua native libraries support PowerPC and Intel Macs with 32-bits or 64-bit processors. Quaqua will work without these native libraries, but user experience degrades.

Due to copyright restrictions and technical constraints, Quaqua can be run on non-Mac OS X systems for development purposes only.


Can I use Quaqua on other platforms than Mac OS X?

No, you can't, except for development purposes.
This is because the Aqua user interface can only be licensed from Apple for use on Mac OS X.

Even if Apple would license it for use on other platforms, you wouldn't want to do it if you care about your users.
Aqua does not just look different than other user interfaces, it feels different as well. For example, when compared with the Windows UX interface, differences can be found in the set of keyboard accelerators, the focus behavior, the selection behavior, the modality of dialogs and in the use of transition and animation effects.

When will my issue by fixed / my feature request be implemented?

Probably never, but thank you for reporting it in the bug tracker. ;-)

Quaqua is an open source project. You are invited to contribute work to it, or to donate a gift or money for a specific work item.

Software which uses Quaqua

There must be more. ;-) Let me know if I missed a software product.
© Werner Randelshofer. All Rights Reserved.