I suggest you ...

Add some color to Visual Studio 2012

Usability studies have shown that both shape and color help to distinguis visual elements in a UI. The upcoming/current beta release of Visual Studio 2011 has removed color from the toolbars and from icons in e.g. the Solution Explorer.

Please make this optional so those of us that want a more accessible and user friendly IDE can have their cake and eat it too.

13,330 votes
Sign in
or sign in with
  • facebook
  • google
    Password icon
    I agree to the terms of service
    Signed in as (Sign out)
    You have left! (?) (thinking…)
    MichielMichiel shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Thomas Krueger MCTS Thomas Krueger MCTS shared a merged idea: Visual Studio 2012 need mor Color. It is increadible bad the black and white !  ·   · 
    Umar RiazUmar Riaz shared a merged idea: I hate the chrome of the new Visual studio 2012. PLEASE BRING COLORS BACK!  ·   · 
    Anonymous shared a merged idea: fix the color theme for VS2012, cause it causes too much eye strain  ·   · 
    Ray CarpenterRay Carpenter shared a merged idea: Colors, Colors, Colors!!! Visual Studio 2012 reminds me of the old Monochrome monitors days.  ·   · 
    Ifthekhar HasanIfthekhar Hasan shared a merged idea: Go back to drawing board to design look and fill of UI of VS 2012  ·   · 
    keyur shahkeyur shah shared a merged idea: Please make the developer life colorful with new VS2012. We finding ourself more busy in identifying new tool rather doing our development.  ·   · 
    AnonymousAnonymous shared a merged idea: Color in Visual Studio 2012  ·   · 
    VS11VS11 shared a merged idea: Add some color.....  ·   · 
    AnonymousAnonymous shared a merged idea: Add More Color to Visual Studio 11 RC and remove the CAPS!  ·   · 
    zerqzerq shared a merged idea: PLEASE!!!!!! Switch to a sane color scheme who ever had the idea to remove colors and contrast have him tared and feathered!!!  ·   · 
    Roman SallinRoman Sallin shared a merged idea: Use of color in Visual Studio 2011  ·   · 
    completed  ·  Visual Studio TeamAdminVisual Studio Team (Product Team, Microsoft) responded  · 

    Updated Status: 7/2/2013

    Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on this issue. Visual Studio 2013 has increased color and contrast use within the user interface while continuing to focus on giving the content you are creating and editing visual prominence. We’ve utilized the feedback you gave us to help refine our approach to color and contrast within three main areas: 1) we added color to icons and reduced line weights to improve icon scan-ability and to better communicate icon meaning and categorization; 2) we added line work and raised contrast levels to increase visual separation between screen regions; 3) we included a built-in “Blue” theme option at product first launch to better support user choice.

    In keeping with these three areas we have made many changes to the Visual Studio 2013 built-in themes. In high utilization and icon intensive areas of the product, such as common toolbar actions and code hierarchy elements, we refined the color and/or line weight of over 1,000 commonly used icons resulting in color being applied to ~80% of standard and debug toolbar icons, ~75% of code hierarchy icons, and 100% of active notifications. In both the Light and Dark themes we increased contrast levels and introduced more border line work to better highlight the edges of content areas such as input fields, tool window borders, active selection states, etc. We also introduced the ability to choose the theme that best meets your preferences and work environment needs as a part of the product first launch experience.

    Many of the changes we’ve made are subtle in nature but broad reaching in their application. As Visual Studio 2013 Preview has now shipped, we’re closing this item to give your votes back for you to use on emerging topics. We encourage you to try out the changes we’ve made and then share additional feedback you might have.

    Visual Studio UX Team

    Hi folks,

    Take a look at the VS 2012 Color Theme Editor – it is an option for creating and editing your own Visual Studio themes.


    Doug Turnure – Visual Studio PM


    Sign in
    or sign in with
    • facebook
    • google
      Password icon
      I agree to the terms of service
      Signed in as (Sign out)
      • Tomas ZimaTomas Zima commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am another one here who is unable to look at VS2012 UI for more than 20-30 minutes. Hey MS please wake up, we want to work with VS but our eyes & brains do not accept your experiments.
        When using typography without lines to create structure, you need more space. When removing colors from objects, you need bigger objects to deliver the same information. But you combined it the wrong way: removed lines & colors without enlarging spaces/objects, and then put all objects even closer to each other.
        Quick solution I would suggest: VS2010 theme.

      • David BradleyDavid Bradley commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have been bragging about how good the IDE was getting with VS2010. I read that VS2012's interface was bad. I downloaded the RC today and unfortunately I agree. I am not looking forward to spending my next few years without the visual benefit that I am use to with VS2010. I don't think I would jump ship at this time but also don't thing the ride would be very enjoyable. Please change it back or at least give us developers the ability to change it ourselfs.

      • JoyJoy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        For the first time I installed visual studio 2012 And I was absolutely stunned by its disgusting . Is that really Ms piece of **** ????? I cant believe the difference I had between 2012 and 2010 . 2010 was absolutely breeze with colors and beauty !! Well is that a trend in Microsoft that whatever developers / users like Microsoft needs to change it ? Whether the user / developer Likes it or not ????? Please bring back the colors of visual studio 2010 . We absolutely love it . Please dont remove that . That would be utterly disgusting to work on with 8 hours a day .

      • rchutchrchutch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Phase I was releasing the beta with the really bad UI.

        Phase II was receiving all the complaints about it and really not doing anything about it.

        Phase III was releasing the product with the same really bad UI (remember, this is a product where its users typically sit in front of it all day long where it used to have a REALLY good UI).

        Phase IV is asking for users for comments and not ack'ing that there might be anything wrong.

        Phase V, I believe, just came with the MSDN article where MS tells us how it is really our fault if we have problems with the UI because the VS 2012 IDE is really a masterpiece. Read it for yourself.

      • exaltingexalting commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        >I need to know if I can keep developing on .Net, or become a Java developer and switch to Eclipse..
        Microsoft obviously trying to drive out developers from VS. What is not understandable - why? Is this intraspecies struggle, one political group in MS trying to kill successful project of another group?

      • Christian HawkinsChristian Hawkins commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yeah, I gave this some time, thought maybe I'd get used to it... NOPE, STILL SUCKS!

        I'd bet the same idiots that thought the Office Ribbon was a good idea did this.

      • Janie PumphreyJanie Pumphrey commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We need brighter color in all icons, but especially in the Solution Explorer icons.

        In VS 2010, I could use the colors in my peripheral vision to spot what I need and open it quickly - without taking time to look at the list in detail.

        In VS 2012, I need to look at the files and folders individually to check the shape of the icon, read the file name, etc. It's not efficient.

        The tiny splash of dull accent color in the icons isn't enough - we need the colors to be visible in peripheral vision.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As everyone said, the UI is plain terrible! At first, I thought I would hate VS 2010, but when I used it, I absolutely loved it... so I'm not the kind of people who can't accept a change if it is good...
        Unfortunately, it is not the case here at all, the lack of colors makes my eyes hurt and decrease my productivity. I want to write code to make a living, not to become blind.

        How such a thing could ship is beyond me...
        Stop hiring art designers who don't have a clue about the applications they work on...
        Do developers at MS really use VS 2012? What do they say? Do you have a mutiny on board?

        It really makes me anxious for the future... what's next? A big ribbon in our VS, taking half of the screen?

        Anyway, why is there NO reply or feedback from the VS team on this since June? Will this get fixed by an add-in or service pack? Please tell...

        I need to know if I can keep developing on .Net, or become a Java developer and switch to Eclipse...

      • Hans PfaffHans Pfaff commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The VS2012 GUI is as bad as it can get. Not enough contrast in toolbars, titlebars, tabs etc...
        Only now I can honor how wonderful the VS2010 GUI was.
        I hate having to look at this smeared blurr of like colors.
        Dark theme is all black in black, Light theme is white in white. This stresses my eyes and I am afraid this damages them in the long run.
        I customized my editor colors; unfortunately this is not possible with the rmainder of the %#@!*&^$# application.

      • Billy CarsonBilly Carson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is the most disguisting and dissapointing UI I ever seen. When demostrated on MS conference I thought is was a joke. Later on I really thought it was a RC or beta.

        WTF is this crab. I can't be true I have to look at this piece of **** 8 hours a day :-(

        Gonna quit

      • RobMRobM commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        DROP THE CAPS and add some colour. Surely MS must of checked with developers (real developers) before going live?!??! If they all agreed the CAPS and colour scheme was fine, then they can't be developers.
        I'm struggling with this guys, please allow us the option to change colour and remove the CAPS, who the **** liked the CAPS!

      • NdhNdh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The dark theme is too dark, and the light is too light!
        And it is hard to differentiate different window areas!

      • radioman.ltradioman.lt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        ..i wonder how long failure can continue without crashing the system, as microsoft they deeply know, how to save system and not corrupt anything else, immediate BSOD and restart is quite necessary, at least on windows systems ;}

      • Crispin WrightCrispin Wright commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


        I'm currently working on a gig where we have solutions with upwards of 350 projects, I've loaded them into VS2012.

        Scrolling up and down between projects to find anything is simply excrutiating.

        Even with Resharper helping me find files, classes and types e.t.c, I still do a fair bit of scrolling up and down as you can imagine. In terms of giving your team something measurable, I'd say it takes me at least three or four times longer to find any single item in solution explorer in VS2012 than it does in VS2010.

        In terms of using the actual UI for 8 hours a day, it's not even remotely funny.

        The new features in VS2012 are great, but the UI is absolutely and completely unusable.

        I'd say it's so bad it's comparable to the first fifteen minutes of the movie Elizabethtown. I feel sincerely sorry for whoever is Orlando Bloom....

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please Please Add Some color to VS2012 IDE, and Drop the Caps!!! on menu items. VS2005-2008,Great IDE, VS2010 Even Better...Something went pear-shaped on VS2012.. makes me not want to use it at all

      • ScottScott commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The GUI for VS 2012 is just plain ole hard on the eyes. In prior VS products I could deftly hit an icon from recognizing a color pattern. Now I actually have to stop and focus on the actual shape inside inside the icon. I have two high resolution monitors that can handle color. So really VS 2012 Interactive Design Team put the color back in visual studio.

      • rchutchrchutch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        From looking on the MSDN site yesterday, it appears to me that Microsoft still believes that this interface is their "best yet". I couldn't find any mention from anyone at Microsoft where they even recognize that people are unhappy with the UI (or just avoiding using it altogether).

        In their user comments section, they only respond to those who like the UI or have very specific issues (as in a certain library not working properly).

        It would make us users feel much better about moving in the "adoption" direction if we knew that it was going to get fixed. For example, the VSCommands add-in already fixes the "all caps" menu problem. Is there going to be an add-in that fixes the missing colors / distinguishable icons / borders issues? Is there an API that allows these to be built?

      • MarkMark commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        VS 2012's look reminds me of an overexposed photograph: it's difficult to tell one thing from another and it's hard on the eyes. The problem with the look of VS 2012 for me is that I have to work really hard to tell where one thing starts and another ends. And the all-upper-case menu items: really!?

      • smilessmiles commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I totally agreee I use vs 2010 and vs 2012 and I hate vs 2012 because they look different. What kind of mellon designed this new studio with the black and white feel and look. Listen to your customers. This new VS 2012 s u c k s plain and simple.

      • stst commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


      Feedback and Knowledge Base