Setting up the Java Development Kit (JDK)

Before you can set up Eclipse, you must first set up the Java Development Kit (JDK).  In your browser, go to Java SE Downloads and click the download button.  Then on the next page click the "Accept License Agreement" button and choose the most recent version of the JDK that matches your system (typically Windows x64 for modern Microsoft Windows machines or MacOS X x64 for Macintoshes).  Once the download has completed, located the downloaded package on your system and install the JDK from the downloaded file.  If you are unsure how to do this, check the JDK Installation Guide.

Setting up Eclipse

Once you have set up the JDK on your machine, you can install Eclipse.  In your browser, go to Eclipse Downloads and select your system from the dropdown menu near the top of the list of packages.  Then click the appropriate link to download "Eclipse IDE for Java Developers".  (Note that there are many different distributions here - make sure you get the version "for Java Developers" and NOT the version "for Java EE Developers").

Once you have downloaded this file, locate it on your system.  It will be a compressed file of some kind (typically ".zip" for a Windows distribution or ".tar.gz" for a MacOS/Linux distribution).  Expand the compressed file to a location of your choice - it does not really matter where you uncompress it but it should be somewhere where you will be able to find it.  Inside the uncompressed directory is a an Eclipse IDE executable file.  On Windows machines, this file is named "eclipse.exe".  On MacOS machines it is named "Eclipse".  On Linux machines it is named "eclipse".  Double-click on this executable file to start Eclipse.  (Alternatively, you can create a shortcut to this file and place it anywhere on your system - including on your desktop.  Do not drag the executable itself to your desktop as this can cause problems.)

And that is it - once both the JDK and Eclipse are downloaded and installed you should be ready to use Eclipse on your own machine.