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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      • DavidDavid commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am very glad that Microsoft is experimenting with new looks, but the color removal is just a plain & simple miss for me. It's aggravating and a productivity killer.

      • Chris WrightChris Wright commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Spent some more time using VS 11 BETA today and I can honestly say that if the UI doesn't change a lot there is no way I will ever buy this product. It amazes me that such a terrible UI design got this far, but if it isn't radically changed by launch time then you are going to lose A LOT of customers.

      • Stijn HerremanStijn Herreman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You might as well remove every single icon. The goal of icons is to quickly recognise something, with all this grey I don't recognise a single ******* thing.

      • Craig LarsenCraig Larsen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We absolutely need the option to give us the same kind of coloring for IDE icons and toolbar objects as we have in VS2010. IMO, the current UI for VS 11 Beta is incredibly painful to use !

      • PeterGVPeterGV commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It's not ONLY color that's needed... removing the "line work" to such an extent pretty much makes everything a muddle. The tabs at the bottom of the windows (output, debug, error) are particularly messy without line-work.

        TOO MUCH chrome is bad. TOO LITTLE visual distinction makes it hard to differentiate among UI elements. You guys have gone waaaaay too far on this. It creates exactly the OPPOSITE effect from what's desired. You have to take your eyes OFF the code you're writing and look carefully at the interface elements to get your work done.

        Please, please, please... fix this before release. I've got to stare at this UI every day of my life.

      • Richard YungRichard Yung commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think...if add the Metro App, can use new Theme, and if add the Normal Desktop App/Web App... developers can choose classic theme or the new theme...

      • JoeJoe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is exactly what I thought when I opened the environment for the very first time. I know the idea was to have it look clean and professional, but remember most of us developers like some color in our lives! Gray make me feel like a cloudy day, I think a little sun shine brightens everyones day!

      • Pent PloompuuPent Ploompuu commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        My opinion of the new UI is exactly the same as Ami Schreiber's:

        "I have liked EVERY new version of Visual Studio that you guys have rolled out since the days of Visual Interdev, so this is not an issue of someone like me "resisting change"."

        In fact, I was quite excited about the VS11 developer preview already, but then came the beta...

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please listen Visual Studio team. I would like the option to turn the color on as well.

      • CesarCesar commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Its nonsense the argument of "focus on code". When I'm coding, I never got distracted by an icon, neither 98% of developers do, I'm sure.

        Following this argument, lets remove all icons then. When they are all gray, they all look the same.

        Also lets remove the the code editor colors. "The 'public' keyword is distracting me because it is blue"


      • Phil BarilaPhil Barila commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The stark black on gray (or optional white on dark grey) color scheme feels "unfinished". I feel like I'm working with an alpha, not a Beta that is close enough to done that you offered a Go Live license.
        Other than the color scheme, which leaves me feeling snow blind after using it a while, I like the new release. Fix the colors and I think you have a winner!

      • TrumanTruman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


        Great point about color in dialog boxes - when that's on your screen, you're not paying attention to anything else.

        You're absolutely right about the helpfulness of color in finding the project type you're looking for, I also didn't realize how much it helps until using VS 11.

      • mrdevmrdev commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Joe, having to move the mouse over every item one wants to look at would be terribly inefficient. Evolution solved the eye/brain's problem of prioritizing the stuff in the center. Items in the peripheral field of view are not distracting as long as they do not move or blink. Peripheral vision is still in color.

        BTW, crummy gray icons appear in Windows Explorer.

      • JoeJoe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Even leaving the UI colorless until a toolbox becomes active (or maybe even a mouse hover) would be a massive improvement.

      • JoeJoe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Furthermore, if you don't want to break the design decision to keep the UI from being too distracting, at least add some color to the dialogs. The "New Project" dialog, for example. Those *are* the thing the user is focusing on while they're up.

        I never realized how much I used to rely on the colors to find a particular project color until trying out VS11 beta.

      • Jayme EdwardsJayme Edwards commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You make a product simpler by making frequently used features take center stage while categorizing less frequently used functions away through effective interface design. Taking away colors is fine, but it's just changing the aesthetics. If you want the aesthetic to look simpler, you'd be better off removing so many lines/borders and leaving the color in.

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

        Working experience: Worked for bit over two hours today with VS11Beta and my eyes are in pain, my head aches. I cannot understand this design choice. Surely if I code then I do not need to look at toolbars/menus (so better option in my opinion would be to remove them and have just editor full screen), but when I need them I NEED THEM and I WANT TO SEE CLEARLY AND STRAIGHT AWAY WHERE WHAT IS. But with the current design I'm spending considerable more time, caught myself at nearing my head closer to monitor in order to try to see what those icons represent.




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