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
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    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  ·   · 

    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


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      • JeffLannJeffLann commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The sky is falling... The sky is falling... Change = bad.

        Get a grip people! You work in the tech field. Things change. That's the nature of our biz. I've used the new VS for a few days and am already getting used to the new scheme. Most (not all) but most of the new icons are plenty clear. They are just different. Sheesh! Get over it!

      • exaltingexalting commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Is Microsoft going to quit from business? Is this a secret plan for migrate all customers to Apple?

      • Sly GryphonSly Gryphon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Color sounds nice, but (like the Ribbon in Office) go with the statistical results of useability studies.

      • Nicholas BedfordNicholas Bedford commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Installed Visual Studio 2011 beta hoping to get some time in with the new features and additions but the UI *distracted* me to the point of needing to get it off my system. It's currently uninstalling. I'm too adamant of the importance of colour and shape in the human visual perception pathway. Not only that, we have visual muscle memory. Absolutely disgusting. It also made my icons look like slates from the Stone Age.

      • Ian BradleyIan Bradley commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I can sort of see what you've tried to do with the monochrome look, but it doesn't work. Not even slightly. I have a few of the early extensions which already work in 2011 running and it is quite jarring when they add a colour icon to a monochrome toolbar. I much prefer their colour icons to your monochrome ones though.

        I really don't want to be developing in this environment for the next few years. Don't leave it to the community to provide themes, fix it please.

      • stax76stax76 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Metro on tablets and phones OK but on the desktop with mouse and keyboard instead of touch it will fail even more then Vista failed, I've absolutely no doubt about that.

        I rather switch to Apple or Ubuntu which both have a decent desktop UI.

      • Karl ShifflettKarl Shifflett commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        VS is no longer fun to work with. How do black icons make me work better, faster or more productive. On top of that, you have changed the actual icon for some functions like, "Comment and Uncomment" selected lines of code. Whatever happened to Fail Fast at Microsoft. Was this UI vetted inside Microsoft?

      • freeflyfreefly commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        May be you guys disagree with me. Blend don't have color icons !!!
        I like the interface, both gray and black.
        May be there should be a colored icon theme for those who need colors...

      • Tudor TurcuTudor Turcu commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Indeed, it's VERY unproductive and frustrating to have only B&W icons - let at least us install custom icons sets.

      • vrassoulivrassouli commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        IBM, in 1981, invented the first graphics adapter, but didn't know microsoft would simply use black&white or grayscale themes in 2012!

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Started using VS 11, got depressed by the UI, switched to VS2010 and immediately my mood lightened - 'nuff said.

      • Knowing me, knowing you, a-haKnowing me, knowing you, a-ha commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It's not about admiring, it's about overall impression and usability and user experience. Those are all very imortant principles of inreractive design and am afraid that MS just violated all of them in one go.
        Secondly, your main reason for going to restaurant is to eat, yet I'm sure you care about the "look and feel" the place make on you, don't you? You don't want to eat in depressing looking place where waiting staff is unhelpfull and arrogant, or you don't mind because you're there just to eat?

      • Knowing me, knowing you, a-haKnowing me, knowing you, a-ha commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        1. Let user decide how he wants to use it
        2. Make look custimizable
        3. what I mean by this is:
        a) just full editor window (nothing else visible)
        b) if user wants toolbars, menus etc he ctrl + right clicks , and all those things are visible now
        c) user can pin/unpin certain things so they stay visible all the time
        d) user can customize how those things look (color/icon)

      • EricTNEricTN commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I'm sure there have been many credible and helpful suggestions here for improvements to the VS11 IDE look and feel. But for me personally I just don't get the passion around multi-color icons. With the heat being generated here, it seems like people fire up Visual Studio just to admire the beauty of toolbar icons... "ooh... just look at that scissors-icon, it's like the glint of sunlight is cascading off of its shiny really-sharp blades! If only they would animate it: opening... closing... then it would be so... scissors-ish!" For me, I'm too busy trying to actually get **** done with this tool and meet deadlines, I'm not looking to it to brighten my day in some sort of zen-like overload of technicolor. If MS comes up with a way to just get Visual Studio out of the way.. like saying they're trying to meet the needs of devs who are code-focused, and make the editor as slick and awesome as humanly-possible, that works!

      • Tom ZschaageTom Zschaage commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        When reading the comments there is a clear direction: Users are not just disliking the new style, they are hating it. So I guess it is very import for MS to rethink about removing the color from VS (or better undo the new style).
        We also thought about using single color, simple shaped icons to reduce costs. However, this had not good feedback and we now use colorful icons. I personally hope to see colorful icons in VS final version. If not I hope someone is writing a "plugin" I would definetly buy it. Because I do not want to work with such an ugly looking UI (shame on the designers).

      • LMKLMK commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        What kind of F***d up world do we live in where someone decided that re-drawing all the icons was more important THAN MAKING THE OPTIONS DIALOG RESIZABLE??!!!!

        I can live with the horrid looking little grey toolbar icons, as I've learnt Ctrl-S to save etc, but I am really upset about the state of Solution Explorer. It is just so terrible to use on a medium sized project, I just can't put into words. I can't imagine what it would be like on a large project. Finding anything at a glance is impossible.

        Obviously there is an "Emprorer's new Clothes" culture in MS, how else can you explain this making it to Beta???

        Won't somebody please think of the children?

      • Ronan ThibaudauRonan Thibaudau commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is a horrible horrible choice. As someone who's pushed very hard in his previous company for new versions of VS, and now self employed and paying quite a few k$ for VS / year i'm very sad that things got this way.
        There is zero reason to change a working UI, don't change things that work, not without prior feedback, even if you had received good feedback this would have been a horrible decision, just one you'd have been Lucky on. Posting early concepts costs but a few minuts and could have told you how poorly received all of this would be.

        On a technical level this is also a very bad decision, i love WPF, i love it very much, but you rewriter a large tool in WPF and then . . . give us a ****** skin , not optional but instead of the old one? So let me get this straight, you waste resources on something that everyone hates, and can't turn off? Why not take advantage of using WPF and , you know, do a large undo on all that work, and transform it in a usefull feature, keep the old UI, making it themable throught xaml files, make a codeplex project with the xaml overrides for the grey / dark themes for those who want it (or even ship them with VS), everyone's happy, all the haters will not commit suicide due to grey depression, your product gets a new feature that should be pretty cheap to implement, and those who actually liked the new theme can still enjoy them, as well as those few select ones wanting fushia gradient font color who can roll their own!

        There is no excuse for this, you have the tech to revert it, go do an undo, and make a theme framework. It's a win for everyone and, most importantly, not a loose for anyone!

        Robert: visual studio is a tool for developers first and, since blend came in, not at all for designers, why should the "default" be the one that targets the population that is supposed to be using a dedicated tool . . . that already has the look that population seeks?

      • DavidDavid commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I would prefer if the color and icons remained the same as VS 2010 but were less saturated. If I take a screenshot of VS 2010 and reduce the saturation of everything except the code window it looks OK, attention is drawn to the code but the solution explorer and toolbars are still familiar.

      • Bill MeneesBill Menees commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        ::: HATE ::::::::::::::::::::
        I'd give this suggestion 10 votes if I could. I've never been distracted by the color in VS 20xx, but I am constantly distracted by the lack of it in VS 11 Beta.

        I've used VS 11 Beta a while now, and I HATE its lack of color. My team members have said, "If that's how VS 11 looks, I don't want to upgrade to it."

        Lack of color sucks. Nobody buys black and white TVs, cameras don't take black and white pictures, and no real programmers code in Notepad without syntax highlighting (i.e., color). I'm absolutely floored that a whole UI design team would think that removing color from all the icons would be an improvement. This is an epic fail. It's about as nice as Microsoft Bob, except VS 11 Beta is uglier!

      • shimmyshimmy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Although I do like the new style, I do agree with the OP.
        Colors help a lot in identifying particular icons on the screen without bothering to even recognize what's even in the icon.
        Removing the colors would indeed be a 'modern' attitude of MSFT, but is still inefficient in the development area where icons means a lot, much more than other environments.

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