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.

Thanks,

The Visual Studio Team

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  • If I "directionally align" myself with the space over the edge of a cliff I will plummet to the bottom and die.  I suppose it doesn't matter because at least I was "directionally aligned".  Get a grip guys - these are development TOOLS - not eye candy.

  • How can you continue to ignore the 94% of your user base that are literally begging you to make the hateful UI changes in 2012 optional?  See here:

    connect.microsoft.com/.../make-proposed-monochromatic-ide-changes-optional-in-vs11

    "We expect the icon styles to become familiar and comfortable over time" - don't count on it!  If anything they're becoming increasingly grating over time.  This issue is only going to continue to haunt the team (happy Halloween everyone!) until it's *fully* addressed i.e. the icons are 100% reverted to the VS2010 ones.

  • > "is the enablement of choice and personal customization in the product"

    I don't need customization. Just provide something that's already good without manual customization. The color theme editor is only an incomplete workaround for a messed up design.

  • Please distinguish between command tool icons, that are most often located at a glance through their location (an hence can remain bi-color), and code elements icons (types, directory, file, method, namespace...) that are most often located through color.

    Also, command tool icons are part of the IDE, and it is normal they don't disturb the user attention.

    Code elements icons represent the code, it is normal they catch the user attention.

    Btw, R# proposes different sets of icon, from colorless to colorfull, and the colorfull ones are pretty nice, you can get inspiration here!

  • @Tristan: Until the extension is released for Express (if ever), check up this post which describes how you can manually setup the default themes with VS Express SKUs:

    alinconstantin.blogspot.com/.../using-color-themes-with-visual-studio.html

  • Glad to have Colour Themes available but these monochrome icons are still a real problem - certainly I find they cause eye-strain. Why is there such a dogmatic approach to the issue - why don't you just admit you made a mistake and allow users a choice - as a huge number have asked for.

  • "We currently have no plans to offer the old-style icons for Visual Studio 2012"

    Well make plans fast then. I really don't understand you people. We do NOT like the current icons as they are a hinderance for us getting our work done, and we are YOUR CUSTOMER.

    WE = THE CUSTOMER

    "we expect the icon styles to become familiar and comfortable over time"

    So you admit that we are NOT comfortable with this, that's good. But why should we have to get 'comfortable' with this? Doesn't it just waste everyone's time and decrease our productivity, thus decreasing Microsoft's value? You made a mistake, okay fine we all do it. It was an experiment and we all learned something, so now just own up to it and make the necessary course corrections and let's get on with it.

    Have you even used the solution explorer with thousands of files? It's a disaster!! Why do you think you know best? What about choice? Why is this such a problem? This is totally unacceptable and shows us you really just don't get it, or worse, just don't care. I'm really totally disgusted with this. I have a serious eye floater problem and these icons are just killing my eyes, as are all the grey text in your forums (what's wrong with black text?! What happened to contrast?).

    Your marketing people are NOT developers, do NOT use this product, and do NOT know what's best for OUR (that's WE the CUSTOMER) development environment.

    Make this right.

  • "I don't understand this concept of first releasing a faulty user-interface, and then releasing a tool so each user can try to patch it up by them selves.  New user involvement program invented by Microsoft, make sure to run down by the patent office so nobody else steals this amazing idea." ---- Could not agree more, Rolf.  What should be automatic now becomes a learning curve manual effort for all of us.  It only causes headaches.

    "...Just provide something that's already good without manual customization. The color theme editor is only an incomplete workaround for a messed up design." ---- Could not agree more, Florian.  Flawed by design.

    "WE = THE CUSTOMER .... Make this right." ---- Could not agree more, ITIMAGE.

    And finally, to Microsoft:  It is absolutely pathetic what you have done here with VS2012.  What on earth were you thinking?

  • "I don't need customization. Just provide something that's already good without manual customization. The color theme editor is only an incomplete workaround for a messed up design."

    "And finally, to Microsoft:  It is absolutely pathetic what you have done here with VS2012.  What on earth were you thinking?"

    I couldn't agree more.  Eclipse is even starting to look inviting, and that's saying something.

  • Let me get this straight. Let's say that you had 5 cooks in your company cafeteria, 2 of them were good and 3 of them couldn't cook at all.  In order to solve the problem where nobody wanted to eat at the cafeteria, the best thing to do then would be to fire the 2 good cooks and hire 2 more terrible cooks, so that you could have consistently bad food, because consistency is always good, no matter how bad it is. You want the people to know what to expect - that is what is most important, right? Or do you want what is the best possible?

    Did you really first show the bi-tonal blobs to people to people who chose them over full color icons (side by side)? Did you compare how users found functionality with the two sets of icons to see which were more effective? I think I know the answer already.

  • Where's the tool that sets the MENU TEXT back to Mixed Case?

  • @JayRayH "Where's the tool that sets the MENU TEXT back to Mixed Case?"

    Good point - I guess the only option continues to be a manual registry change. Maybe they'll consider releasing a patch/SP that incorporates the theme editor and the ProperCase menu option. For those who don't yet know, here's how to do it:

    blogs.msdn.com/.../turn-off-the-uppercase-menu-in-visual-studio-2012.aspx

  • > "Let me get this straight. Let's say that you had 5 cooks in your company cafeteria, 2 of them were good and 3 of them couldn't cook at all.  In order to solve the problem..."

    @rchutch - Another fairly reasonable corporate solution is promoting those 3 awful cooks into management/executive roles, so they'd dictate exactly what those two good cook do.

  • > "Let me get this straight. Let's say that you had 5 cooks in your company cafeteria, 2 of them were good and 3 of them couldn't cook at all.  In order to solve the problem..."

    @rchutch - Another fairly reasonable corporate solution is to promote those 3 awful cooks into management/executive roles, so they could dictate exactly what those two good cooks do.

  • I've said it before and will say it again...they're bull-headed...ramming things down your path.  The part that's just burning everyone up is that they keep saying it's STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT to have these horrible icons.  I believe they want to get developers to create apps looking like this by using psychology and having the icons constantly in the face of the dev....well, that would be a *strategy* to help things get closer to Google.

    Custom themes are nice, but with these dark gray icons, only very light colors work well, so it's almost useless.

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