By Sam Zaiss

Update: We're happy to set anyone up with the new reduced toolbar set, whether you are in the US or not. Unfortunately the rule about the Microsoft gratuity is strict, but if you're willing, we'd still love to get your feedback. Please send mail to VSToolbarFeedback@microsoft.com if you're interested.

Update 2: Thanks everyone for your interest! The formal survey is now full, and the gratuities have all been claimed. However, we're still happy to share the reduced toolbars with any interested customer. Please contact VSToolbarFeedback@microsoft.com if you're interested in checking it out; we can still accept your feedback via email!!

One thing that we hear about is how daunting Visual Studio can be for newcomers, and customers have told us that the abundance of commands in VS definitely plays a role in that perception. As we work on the next release of Visual Studio, my core focus has been to find ways we can get our command complexity under control without taking away any of the functionality that our customers depend on.

Improving the state of the VS toolbars is one area that we’re taking on for vNext. Today, it’s entirely possible to end up with 2-3 completely full rows of toolbars:
VSToolbars

Not only does this take away space from your code, but toolbars that show/hide for specific files can also cause your document tabs to vertically shift when switching from one file to another. We know we can do better! Keeping the toolbars confined to a single row is a goal for our next release.

We have a good start on this work, but now we need your feedback! If you’re currently using Visual Studio 2010 (with or without SP1) for 20+ hours a week, we’d like to set you up with a single row of toolbars, and get your feedback on the reduction choices we’ve made. Here’s what would be involved:

  1. We’d send you a settings file that, when imported, will reduce your toolbars down to one row. It won’t remove any functionality from VS, nor will it do anything besides rearrange your toolbars. The change can be easily undone at any time.
  2. Work as you normally would for a week. If you run into any issues with the reduced toolbars, make a note of them.
  3. At the end of the week, fill out a survey to let us know what you think. As a thank you, the first 150 people to participate will receive a Microsoft Gratuity*, which entitles you to one free piece of Microsoft software or XBox 360 game!

* Due to regulations around Microsoft Gratuities, we can unfortunately only accept participants who have a US Social Security Number or Tax ID number. [Update] However, we are more than happy to set any interested customer up with the settings file and accept their feedback. Please feel free to send mail and we'll get you set up!

If you’re interested in participating, please send mail to VSToolbarFeedback@microsoft.com and we’ll get you set up!

Thanks!
Sam Zaiss
UX Researcher, Visual Studio IDE Platform & Editor