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Bring Back Full-Color Icons to Visual Studio 2012

The mostly black & gray glyphs used in Visual Studio 2012 are very difficult to distinguish between. Familiar icons that we have known and used for years are now gone, and it takes (wastes!) a ton of time trying to find the right icon/command/object. Please bring back the tried-and-true, full-color icons that clearly represent each command/object and are easily identifiable.

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    TIMTIM shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    chrischris shared a merged idea: Bring back the "VISUAL" in visual studio  ·   · 
    GlynGlyn shared a merged idea: Drop the circa 1987 icons in VS2012  ·   · 
    GlynGlyn shared a merged idea: Drop the circa 1991 icons in VS2012  ·   · 
    No nameNo name shared a merged idea: Retain icons from previous versions for IDE  ·   · 
    completed  ·  Visual Studio TeamAdminVisual Studio Team (Product Team, Microsoft) responded  · 

    Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on this issue. Visual Studio 2013 has added color in several broad reaching icon categories. We classified the icons we focused on into three sets: icons which represent common actions, icons which indicate code hierarchy, and icons that provide some kind of notification. By utilizing a systematic and broadly applicable approach to color use we are better able to effectively convey critical meaning or affiliation through color, to attract attention through color, and to improve scan-ability through color. This approach translates into color being applied to ~80% of standard toolbar and debug toolbar icons, ~75% of code hierarchy icons, and 100% of active notifications.

    Based upon the design goals outlined above and design decisions reflected in the existing scheme for each of the core icon sets we will continue to apply and extend our approach to icon colorization as we move forward. 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

    289 comments

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      • MSdevM1MSdevM1 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If you MS-guys are colorblind and want to have a flat gray layout: fine. BUT make it optional.
        I have a significant loss in productivity, even though i am using it daily. But i am using 2008 also daily because i work on different servers.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Completed? You are joking. View menu has two colors for 23 menu items. And what about Toolbox? About 70 gray icons. You are really crazy. You wasted the time, why you change the things, which are good?

      • HateVS2012HateVS2012 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I would have to agree with most people about how ugly your new UI is. Keep alienating your customers Microsoft. You did it with Windows 8, XBox, and now Visual Studio. Google is right behind you. One day, everyone will be using Google products.

        Keep forcing idiotic ideas in your products, Microsoft.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Multiple designers don't know how to make a good looking Visual Studio interface. Why don't you ask someone's opinion before published it?

      • Anonymous22722Anonymous22722 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        And is it all complains, which are soooooo true, or does anyone have a professional solution?
        I cannot use patches and hacks inside secure big business servers

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Without a doubt....they've gone backwards in design instead of forwards. A definite loss in productivity.

      • JoergJoerg commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I second that. I can live with the ALL CAPS MENUS. I don't see the point, but I can live with it.

        My main complaint about the VS2012/2013 GUI is the icons being hard to tell apart. It has improved with VS2013, but they are still hard to distinguish. What's wrong with colors? This is a major failure in UI design.

        My second complaint are the TFS related dialogs: "View pending changes" was completely ruined in VS2012 and repaired a bit in VS2013, but still worse than in VS2010.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        3 things: 1) Stop being bullies; 2) Start listening to your customers; and 3) Use common sense!

      • graphicsRatgraphicsRat commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Dear Google, if you are reading this. Please develop a usable C++ IDE. I know you can. Thank you.

      • brianbrian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Maciej Jakub Bańkowski

        I agree with you unfortunately Microsoft is a company that has stopped listening and now appears to be run by marketing people who have absolutely no idea what is right for their users or their business.

        What they have done to the Windows business is well open to a shareholder law suite against the senior management of Microsoft for total and utter incompetence. They had a chance to save the day when the initial reviews of the beta came in - yet they chose to ignore leaving the desk top users lost in a sea of sheer and utter touch mania.

        Same with VS 2013 - refused to listen, ok they tweaked a little but that's all.
        Arrogance is now what Microsoft excels in rather than brilliant products. Just hope their new head is more competent than the last - which does beg the question did he jump or was he pushed....

      • Maciej Jakub BańkowskiMaciej Jakub Bańkowski commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I cling on to VS 2010 and Windows 7 precisely because of the look & feel of the UI.

        I recently installed, was forced to do it really, VS 2013 on Windows 8.1 - I could not find many of the things I use in development, like 'Do I have Management Studio installed? Where is it? How do I search the filesystem? How do I start the SQL Server service? WHY IS VS MENU ALL IN CAPS?

        Thankfully the project was cancelled and I could get back to VS2010+Win7. I really miss and want the new & cool features of .NET 4.5 and VS2013 but I want to be productive more.

        Fix the UI and usability, please.

      • MikeMike commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        i love VS2008 since then its gone to ****, i keep holding on to 2008 thinking they will see the error of their ways but each new version is worse and worse.
        2008 was the first useful version of .net before that it was not worth upgrading from vs6

      • martinmartin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As VS ide is now WPF how about allowing the user to override the styles? Then we can do what we want with it. Mine would be a green screen with fixed width fonts and a main window frame that looks like an IBM dumb terminal. Then we can all spend half our lives criticising each others ide styles. Success.

        Or I could just learn/setup the keyboard shortcuts for the features I use and then get on with writing some code and ignore what the icons looks like.

        Which one would lead to a more productive programmer?

      • MeMe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The best part of Visual Studio is that ever-so-lovely "Uninstall.EXE" app that comes with the package.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Alex Edelstein - Thanks to you and your 1991 team members for the good work.

        @Microsoft - Why do you even keep this issue open? It's like an anxiety closet where everyone vents off their frustration until they're fighting with one another... or is that the goal?

        Build 2014 has been a huge disappointment. A mickey mouse Start Menu proposal with Metro Tiles, no Aero and no changes to the flat, dull and lifeless color schemes. Actually someone was singing the praises of the great Ribbon interface... whatever.

        And now we get Metro applications that run in... Windows !?!? with icons to close the Windows...

        Vote with your pocket books folks because this - is going nowhere.

      • Alex EdelsteinAlex Edelstein commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I'm baffled at the general trend towards flat graphics. The amount of information loss is enormous. I remember designing icons as part of the original Microsoft Exchange team in 1991, and we sought for realism and clarity, not dumb pseudo modernism. That attitude would serve Microsoft well today.

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