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.

13,321 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 →

    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)
      • rchutchrchutch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I really don't think that any software gerdi ever writes will make it very far. He or she can't string together more than about 5 or 6 words without throwing in an obcenity or doing his (or her) best to tear someone else apart. People like that self destruct before very long. Hopefully, they just keep their flame throwing verbal.

        What is good however, is that there are people who are slowing gnawing away at the IDE problems and coming up with things like the theme editor and the add-in that restores some of the icons. People who have real work to do with the IDE appreciate their efforts.

      • brianbrian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


        If that's your attitude I would hate to be a user of your software . User interface is so important to the success of a program. The whole of the metro/Windows 8 is panning out to be a disaster, simply beceause Microsoft has refused to listen to real users! Fortunately for us due to the poor design of Windows 8 our users don't want Windows 8 apps, in fact they have told us that they would move to a competitor if we forced it on them! The only thing saving Microsoft is that they can force it on their users buying lower end computers!

        Fortunately we can stick with the fantastically well designed VS2010 - should mention we get VS2012 via MSDN subscriptions so it's not even a cost issue for us.

      • gerdigerdi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Jesse McGrew Thank god im in the minority . To be associated with "developers" who are crying about how they cant program effectively cause there is less color in the IDE is something i am struggling to comprehend rationally. It has kept me awake at night thinking of sh!t theses 12k+ developers are trying to develop and god forbid if I ever have to use one of their programs.

        "takes me 2x longer to identify icons" ><
        " which is the difficulty of differentiating UI elements from each other" .. WHat!?
        "Currently NOT using 2012, too ugly!!!!" ..derp

        "what a shame for developing such ****" .. Yes no color so the IDE is sh!t dont mention any of its new features ..Support for C++ AMP, IntelliSense uses fuzzy logic and the improved ability for extension devs, this being a tiny short list of the improvement in VS.

        sorry but this is all close to ********.

      • Jesse McGrewJesse McGrew commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The "hot" suggestions here also include four about the new look just on the first page. This is something that's important to developers, if only because the new look is so distracting that it can't be ignored.

      • Jesse McGrewJesse McGrew commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "Who cares about the bloody color scheme?" Gee, I don't know, maybe the 12,000+ people who voted for this suggestion and made it the most popular suggestion on this site (by far). If you like the new look, congratulations, you're in Microsoft's target audience. But you're also in the minority.

      • gerdigerdi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "can work properly with such a user unfriendly interface" ( i assume you meant "cant". The fact that you cannot even properly construct sentences might be a more serious issue then the IDE's color scheme ) .. seriously . wtf is wrong with you ppl. you all sound like little children. what the **** is becoming of developers.. Color ... who the **** cares about the bloody color scheme?
        You **** right microsoft doesnt give a **** about winy little *******. Go use xcode ****

      • daviddavid commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        hate the colour schemes in visual studio 2012, everything is ****** to see and navigate. all the visual cues I have been used to are no longer. Wish i never got the upgrade from 2008

      • TomTom commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        What a nasty move bring back colors into our life! Nobody want and can work properly with such a user unfriendly interface going back to 2010 as well until this is hopefully quickly fixed but based on the blog post about this problem I highly doubt that MS is giving any s..t about their customers.

      • FUNNIGALOFUNNIGALO commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate




      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I can appreciate that the developers want to move away from the some of the insanely over complicated UI's that some people have been turning out, and that a Clean and Simple UI have a great appeal to me, but going to monochrome is just to far, as mentioned before the monochrome icons have lost most of there at a glance recognition, the shipped colour theme of great on grey is just asking for eye strain.

        Even the relatively simple things like VB files having blue icons and C# having Green has been removed which has made at a glance identification of what language you are working in a point with out having to check file extensions and open files.
        With .Net supposedly Enshrining the "It doesn't Matter what language you write it in" principle its now made a multilingual coding environment a total pain

        so i vote yes for a Simple Clean interface, but no to the DOS Edit style

      • BasicBasic commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @The product team - Do you really feel it's acceptable to ship a product with such a glaring problem, then rely on a 3rd party tool to partially patch it?

        What about proper colours in icons?

      • ITMAGEITMAGE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hey people, now Microsoft is screwing up the MSDN site as well by removing the CLASSIC view in favor of the 'grey theme'. I created a thread for this:


        Also you might want to post over here as well:


      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        it is very bad Design especially the icons
        i need option to retrieve the icons in VS 2010

      • Martin KirkMartin Kirk commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Icons are Black and White... all over... its f*king horrible !!!

        takes me 2x longer to identify icons

        I've used VSIP to copy file icons from VS09 to VS12... but the intellisense icons are still Fugly

        thank for this pile of ****
        idiot designer !

      • Les ArnottLes Arnott commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I just brought up the image editior in VS2012 for the first time. There are 3 toolbar buttons for Red, Green and Blue channels. Guess what colors are used for the buttons? Yup, black and white!

      • gerdigerdi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        in 1989
        dev1 - "In the future developers will care more about whether there is color in the editor, the icons and the case of letters then the actual functional performance of the IDE"
        dev2 - "I dont think they will be that naive ,if they have any sort of creativity they will just write their own isolated shell which should be around by then, or just tweak what they dont like, the'll just snoop the **** out of it. they'll probably learn a whole bunch about the structure of the IDE and in the process just become better developers."
        dev1:" Nah they'll probably just complain, its easier that way."
        dev2:" If anything they just be trolled by apple fanboys who spend more time on their hair then in code"
        dev1:"what is "trolled""
        dev2:"I just made that word up, its when people just complain about random stuff and spend more time complaining then working out solutions"

        2012 ... 12,261 votes later

        dev2 facepalms on his deathbed

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

        @Tom it's very ON topic, but remember this is ****** world ruled by freakin fascism.. what else do you expect ;D soon there will be dark ages.. and you can write code on the stones ;}

      • ITMAGEITMAGE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @anonymous " see the proliferation of Metro to MSDN and Blog content...., barely contrasting colors selected for text, confusing layouts... "

        Absolutely on the mark. Lately I've been finding it more tiresome to view areas of MSDN because of the all the grey text. It's like they either choose grey text on a white background or grey text on a grey background which is insanely hard on the eyes. If you look though, this seems to be a trend on the web as many other sites are going this way as well. For example, the other day I was working on an iOS project and reading (well trying to read) docs over at Apple's dev site, and it was all grey too. What the fascination is with grey and reduced color and contrast, I just don't know. Maybe their 'marketing' people think the screen looks less cluttered with grey text than black? Well,,, yeahhh,, duhhh, because it's ****** to actually see! This really needs to stop. These marketards are creating a disaster for us. We write code, we read lots of docs, we generate software, that's what we do! These sites and tools need to be geared towards OUR needs, and not make some blasted fashion statement. Anyway, I'm ranting and off topic now.

      1 2 6 8 10 56 57

      Feedback and Knowledge Base