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The Easy Way to Change Your Visual Studio Color Scheme

For all the complaints about the muted color scheme in Visual Studio 2012, it's actually pretty easy to change the colors. Just go to Tools | Options and you'll find that the Environment node includes a Visual Theme choice (there's no equivalent feature in Visual Studio 2010, but then, no one complains much about Visual Studio 2010's color scheme).

Even in Visual Studio 2012, though, the Visual Theme choice just gives you a list of pre-defined muted color schemes: What if you don't like any of them, either? It is possible to change the colors individually for Visual Studio's components through Tools | Options | Environment | Fonts and Colors -- but only in the same sense that, if you're trapped by yourself at the South Pole, it is possible to remove your own appendix. The good news here is that Microsoft has theme editors for Visual Studio 2010, 2012, and 2013 (the editors are also available as Visual Studio extensions from Visual Studio's Tools menu).

Download the editor, install it, restart Visual Studio and you're ready to go. In Visual Studio 2010 you'll find a new top-level menu called Theme; in Visual Studio 2012, you'll find a Change Color Theme choice on your Tools menu. From the dialog that either choice opens you can pick a pre-defined theme or modify an existing theme to create your own, custom theme. The editor for Visual Studio 2012 provides a much better experience for changing colors than the Visual Studio 2010 version (the Visual Studio 2012 version gives you more feedback on the results of your change) and throws in the ability to export your custom theme to share it among other copies of Visual Studio. But then, I guess, Visual Studio 2012 needs more help here.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 06/27/2014 at 6:55 AM

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