Your Visual Studio, Your Colors

Your Visual Studio, Your Colors

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Since releasing Visual Studio 2012 we have continued on our investment in the user experience space to enable you to work more efficiently and to make the Visual Studio experience engaging and productive. One of the design principles we are following is the enablement of choice and personal customization in the product, and as part of developing the new Light and Dark themes in Visual Studio we invested in broadly extending the theme-able surface area of Visual Studio. Building on this work, I’m happy to announce that we now have available a Visual Studio 2012 Color Theme Editor extension! This extension provides you with seven new color themes to choose from as well as the ability to easily create new custom themes.

We released an early version of this extension two months ago and received great feedback, which we incorporated into this final release. One new capability we added to this final version is an easy interface for quickly finding a particular color you want to change, as well as seeing the impact of the change in a small UI snippet:

Theme Editor Editing

As noted above, the extension includes seven new sample themes to choose from or use as starting points for further customization. We’ve heard requests for a color scheme closer to Visual Studio 2010, so we have included a Blue theme that matches the 2010 color scheme as one of the choices.

Theme Editor Blue Theme

We’d love to hear your feedback on this new extension. Please share your feedback with us on the extension’s page on the gallery.

As you read this post, those of you that are fans of the Visual Studio 2010 icon collection may be asking, “what about the icons?” We currently have no plans to offer the old-style icons for Visual Studio 2012. The Visual Studio 2012 icon designs are directionally aligned with the style used across a broad range of new Microsoft products. We believe this design consistency is important, and we expect the icon styles to become familiar and comfortable over time.

We do, however, continue to look for feedback on specific new icons that lack clarity of concept or that create inefficiency in a task or flow by being difficult to distinguish. If you have such icon specific feedback, please use Connect and share it with us.


The Visual Studio Team

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  • When will the guy responsible about this ugly garbage a.k.a. VS.NET 2012 will get fired?

  • "We believe this design consistency is important, and we expect the icon styles to become familiar and comfortable over time." And we believe you are a bunch of idiots that made a stupid decision and are not brave enough to acknowledge that and go back to a design that worked. THE WHOLE VS 2012 DESIGN IS INSANE.

  • Why always go for these highly stylized, simplified, ugly Bauhaus style icons, they really do not help productivity. You are obviously putting one particular brand of esthetics over usability; the new UI is hard to navigate and confusing; key colors (such as yellow for a folder) cannot just be discarded like that. Ideally you would give the user a choice over new vs old icon sets (such as Toad does it) or even better finally allow styling the app via CSS (the way Mozilla applications have been doing it for years) - adding a userChrome.css or a proper Theme builder (including ability to swap out image resources) would alleviate all the pain. As always you are selling the user's helpnessless as a feature and then bask in the glory of your unwanted improvements. Feels broken.

  • God, this IDE is ugly.  I just installed the BI tools on my dev box along with Windows 8.1 pro and sql server 2014.  It amazes me that MS does not get the fact that a desktop computer is not a low power tablet or mobile phone.  Why do they insist on forcing desktop users (NOT just us developers but ALL desktop users) into this absurd tablet-phone-desktop ugly, high contrast UI kabuki dance?  Windows 7 is a much better experience for desktop users.  Get back in the game MS.

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