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Let’s talk about the all-caps menus.

When we shared the RC design preview with you, we expected the uppercase menu would generate mixed feedback and emotions. We had seen similar reactions from early adopters and from our own internal users prior to posting about it. Rest assured that we’ve heard you, and we’ve been thinking through what should be done here. Using uppercase for the menus was not an arbitrary decision, and I think it will help the discussion to frame why we made this change.

We’ve chosen to use uppercase styling in the top menu for two main reasons: 1) to keep Visual Studio consistent with the direction of other Microsoft user experiences, and 2) to provide added structure to the top menu bar area.

On the first point, the use of uppercase text is becoming a strong signature element of styling for navigation and headings in Microsoft user interfaces. You can see it in the Azure Portal, in Zune, and in the latest Bing search results update.

On the second point, we explored designs with and without uppercase styling. In the end we determined it to be a very effective way of providing structure and emphasis to the top menu area in Visual Studio 2012.

Standard Case


Based on early feedback on this application of uppercase styling, we made two modifications to our design. First, we tuned the typography of the menu to better adjust to uppercase text, including increased spacing between menu items from 14px to 20px to make menu items stand out better. Secondly, we moved Quick Launch to the title bar to make more room on the menu bar, especially for cases where a user has installed add-ins that add their own top-level menus.

As with most style changes, there has been both positive and negative feedback. We realize that some of you will continue to dislike this change, and you’ve been very direct in expressing your opinions on this subject.  Our view remains that this is the right design for the Visual Studio user interface for the reasons I mentioned above. That said, we will enable you to customize the casing, and we are exploring options for how to expose that choice. We will post again once we’ve settled on a final approach to be available in RTM.

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  • Why are we still talking about this? Yes, I very much dislike the all caps, but they stated its going to be an option, so I'll just turn it off as I've already done with the reg key. I don't see this as being different than other defaults I change like where windows get placed. I change a setting once and then dont worry about it again. Thank you VS for listening to the feedback and adapting.

  • I just asked my sister (which in no means a technical person) which she prefers between the two menus and immediately she answered "definitely not the uppercase text". Most people just stick to what they are used I guess.

    The more I look at it, I realize it does make the menus stand out more but menus doesn't need emphasis since we already know what or where they are.

  • You know, I don't mind the caps for the menu bar. I do like that there will be a way to disable it. It doesn't look like shouting to me because it is not complete sentences, just individual words.

  • FWIW, after 5 minutes of usage I didn't even notice the UPPER CASE menu bar. You have to take any programmer feedback with a grain of salt as there is a large discord between most developers opinions of their UI/UX abilities and their actual abilities.

  • For some reason my visceral reaction to the light theme is that it looks awful, and my visceral reaction to the dark theme is that it looks great. Despite it basically being the same thing, only dark. Go figure?

  • Very poor explanation. Just add switch to options, to enable/disable all caps, and conflict will disappear

  • While ALL CAPS is fine if you've got 5 or maybe 8 menu items it doesn't work with 17. Less than 8 and the user will look for the menu item by position, more than that and the user has to scan the menu.

    Word recognition is based mainly on their shape of the word, by making it UPPERCASE you loose the word shape and slow down how quickly the user can recognise the correct menu. I'm sure it won't be a massive difference but it will still be slower, do some research on word recognition & you'll understand.

    Again this would be fine if you had a 8 or less menu items, but choosing form over function for a tool that programmers live in is simply the wrong decision, I'll definitely be turning it off.

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\General\SuppressUppercaseConversion

    REG_DWORD value: 1

  • Dude, those things on Bing search results that are upper case are not menus.  They are links.  And, if you search for like "panda", and you click the IMAGES link, the things on the Images page that are most menu-like, ("Size", "Color", "Type", "Layout", "People") are mixed-case.  In Zune, the most prominent menu-like things ("quickplay", "collection", "marketplace", "social") are all lower case.  The only upper-case I see on Zune is SETTINGS | HELP, which are so small they look like small caps.  They're so small, they probably have to be upper case.

    Just let me turn it off, please.


  • "mixed feedback and emotions" really? Anybody asked you to keep the CAPS?

  • "we will enable you to customize the casing"

  • cool, the registry trick is working, thanks! ^^

  • "On the first point, the use of uppercase text is becoming a strong signature element of styling for navigation and headings in Microsoft user interfaces. You can see it in the Azure Portal, in Zune, and in the latest Bing search results update."

    That DOES NOT mean that it's a good thing.

  • @Michael Stum to your question about a 64bit version, this post: blogs.msdn.com/.../visual-studio-why-is-there-no-64-bit-version.aspx discusses some of the considerations on this topic.

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