Not Happy With the Monochrome Visual Studio 11 Beta UI

I can’t wait for a third-party to come out with tools to return some colour to the flat, monochrome look of Visual Studio 11 (beta).

What bugs me most are the icons. I feel like a newbie when I have to squint and analyze the shape of icons on the debugging toolbar just to get the one I want. (Fortunately, the meddlers didn’t mess with the keyboard commands so I’m not totally lost.)

Not sure what usability studies told MS that bland is better. Maybe it is for most people, but not for me.  Gray, shades of gray and black. Ugh. And don’t get me started on the stupidity of using all-caps for window titles. Who approved that?

I see that there’s a UserVoice poll on the topic ( but I doubt that anything will change Microsoft’s opinion in time for the release. Once a product gets to a stable beta, most non-crashing stuff gets pushed to the next version. I hope I’m proved wrong.

Fortunately, Visual Studio is quite customizable. Unless ‘Bland’ is hard-coded, some registry tweaks and a collection of replacement icons should allow dissenters like me back to productivity.

BTW, other than hating the UI, VS 11 beta is working quite well for me on a .NET 4 project.

Note: Although my username for the ASP.NET domain includes the letters "[MVP]", I'm no longer an MVP. Apparently it's nearly impossible to change a username in the system. My apologies for the misleading identifier but I tried to have it changed without success.


  • I'm not one of the people that like it.

  • You still ARE an MVP. MVP is not a certificate that expires, it is an award. YOu get it awarded. Your priviledges may expire, but you still are award winner.

  • Usability studies? Did anyone actually consider people with poor eyesight? Subtle variations in tone do not an efficient user experience make!

  • First time i've actually thought about not using Visual Studio anymore. I can't believe they have done this, the expression products are horrendous and now they are bleeding that to VS. VERY VERY Long time vs fan, VERY VERY disappointed..

  • At least get rid of the capitals in the tabs. In can cope without the color if I have to, BUT ALL CAPS NO THANKS

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