Softening the Blow of the Visual Studio 2012 User Interface

I really like Microsoft’s new version of Visual Studio. I even like where they are going with the user interface, but out of the box, I don’t think it is perfect. I really don’t like the SHOUTY uppercase menus, and whilst I don’t mind the default colour theme too much, it isn’t great for staring at on a long coding session.

In this post, I will cover 2 very easy tweaks that you can do to Visual Studio 2012 to make the user interface much better (in my opinion of course). I have recently been getting my team to update parts of our code base to the new tool set  and most people had the same feelings about the user interface as me, but most of the team have now done these tweaks.

Turn Off Upper Case Menus

Visual Studio Upper Case Menus

Visual Studio Upper Case Menus

I don’t know why Microsoft decided to go with the Upper Case menus, but it is really easy to disable them. Just follow these basic steps.

  • Open up RegEdit and navigate  :

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\General

Visual Studio Registry Editor

Visual Studio Registry Editor

  • You then need to add a new DWORD called SuppressUppercaseConversion and set the DWORD value to 1.
Visual Studio Registry Editor for Suppressing the Upper Case Menus.

Visual Studio Registry Editor for Suppressing the Upper Case Menus.

  • Close RegEdit and then open Visual Studio 2012. You should now see the lower case menus that we all know and love.
Visual Studio Lower Case Menus

Visual Studio Lower Case Menus

Make VS2012 Look like VS2010

When I used to use Visual Studio 2010, I never really like the user interface. I liked the colour scheme but the rest of the user interface just looked cluttered. Now in Visual Studio 2012, the user interface looks great, but I don’t like the colour scheme. I am just never happy.

Luckily you can give Visual Studio 2012 the same colour scheme Visual Studio 2010.

  • Open Visual Studio 2012. Go to the ‘Tools’ menu and select ‘Extensions and Updates
  • In the ‘Extensions and Updates’ dialog box navigate to ‘Online -> Visual Studio Gallery’.
Visual Studio Theme Editor

Visual Studio Theme Editor

  • Select the ‘Visual Studio 2012 Color Theme Editor’ and click Download. Follow the on screen instructions. You will need to do a Visual Studio 2012 restart.
  • When Visual Studio reloads, you will see the theme editor.
Visual Sudio Blue Theme

Visual Sudio Blue Theme

  • Select the Blue theme to match Visual Studio 2010. There are plenty of schemes to choose from, but I personally like the Blue theme. You should now have a recolored Visual Studio IDE.
Visual Sudio 2012 with 2010 Feel and Lower Case Menus

Visual Sudio 2012 with 2010 Feel and Lower Case Menus

That’s it for my simple Visual Studio tweaks. They are easy to do, yet make a big difference to the user interface, especially on those long programming sessions.

Participate with Coding in the Trenches on Facebook

Participate with Coding in the Trenches on Facebook by Click the button above.

2 thoughts on “Softening the Blow of the Visual Studio 2012 User Interface

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s