Visual Studio Color Theme Editor


Allows users to customize the color palette used for menus, toolbars, tabs, title bars, and other environment colors.

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by maggieJones | April 26 2011

by MohammadReza Taesiri | March 15 2011

by Robert Seifert | January 27 2011

I love this extension!

by Fry123 | December 13 2010

by Robert Shekhe | November 06 2010

by Alex Althauser | October 27 2010

Thank you for making this.

It takes quite some time to find one particular item in the list and change its color, especially if you don't know the name of the item you wish to change. Perhaps in a future release you could introduce an option to right-click a window or tab, and select edit-color from a drop-down list.

by CJUrwiler | October 21 2010

Didn't really use this, but after trying it, found that it broke the WF designer for me just like the last commenter. However, unlike the last commenter, you can fix this without a complete reinstall. See the Q and A tab for the two registry entries to fix this.
Otherwise, it does what it says on the box. The WF issue is a deal-breaker for me or it'd get more stars.

by the Larker1 | October 12 2010

Bummer for Windows WorkFlow developers! On the whole, this extension is great. However, after installing it, the connection lines in Windows WorkFlow designers disappear until you select one, and there is apparently NO WAY to get them back again! I've tried changing the color of every single element individually from the theme editor, to no avail. Also, un-installing does not cause the lines to show up again either. So far, only getting a brand new machine gets the lines back in the designer. Don't install this if you are working a lot with Windows WorkFlow! You will absolutely regret it!

by e_korneychuk | October 05 2010

by mahdi yousefpour | September 20 2010

Hi Matthew Johnson and all microsoft developer:
Very nice color theme but so it's better add change text color on text editor in this theme editor

best regard

by amitchell56 | September 10 2010


by marwee | September 08 2010

I love what this does. I think there maybe a bug. When I lock my computer with VS2010 running VS crashes when I unlock the PC. The crashing stopped when I disabled the color theme editor. Hmmm, anyone else having a similar problem?

by tdan10 | September 01 2010

Matthew Johnson, you rock

by Magic Lynn | August 26 2010

Very nice

by yzorg | August 03 2010

by vvvijay | August 03 2010

by Sujeet Saraf | July 31 2010

by LordCheeto | July 29 2010

Very well done! Check out the Expression theme here:

by andypaxo | July 23 2010

Great extension - really slick!

I have a feature request... could we associate a theme with a solution? This would really help when working across multiple solutions, especially when having multiple instances of Studio open at the same time.

by Pete Stensønes | July 18 2010

Great tool. Sadly the current version breaks the workflow designer display. If you use WF then wait for an update.

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  • Scrollbar VS2012 vs VS2013
    1 Posts | Last post February 11, 2014
    • When using the scrollbar Map Mode or Full Mode in VS2012 the scroll bar reflects the same colors.  In VS2013 it appears to use the default scheme.  Is there a way to get that working in 2013?
  • Support for isolated shell applications
    1 Posts | Last post November 19, 2013
    • Hi Matthew,
      I like very much your extension! I have a application based on VS2013 isolated shell.  I could change the manifest so it can be installed.  I can modify existing themes but I can't create a new one. The theme editor tries to write the new theme to the extension folder using "Microsoft.VisualStudio.Pro" as the installation target and the extension manager raises an UnsupportedProductException.
      Would you kindly support the creation of custom themes in isolated shells?
      Best regards,
  • Insufficient memory to continue the execution of the program.
    1 Posts | Last post September 11, 2013
    • I seem to get that error most of the time I hit "Customize colors" menu item.
      Any suggestions on how to solve or even debug this?
  • Can't figure out what some items are
    1 Posts | Last post June 14, 2013
    • Hello,
      I can't seem to figure out what color is for the background of the Solution Explorer window, the designer window background, and the output window background/text. Anyone have any ideas if these are customizable? Thanks!
  • Where is the option to change the theme in vs2010 ?
    1 Posts | Last post May 08, 2013
    • I've installed the manager package.but i'm not getting the option to change the theme of vs2010.
      please, let me know the steps for changing the theme .
      Thanks !
  • Can we get this to work with SSMS 2012
    2 Posts | Last post April 12, 2013
    • Can we get this to work with SSMS 2012?
    • Hi! try running ssms 2012 as administrator.
  • Name vs. Color? Which key/name color chances what?!
    2 Posts | Last post March 20, 2013
    • Hello,
      this question was asked befor, but noone gave an answer. if you select "show all" at the theme editor, you get more than 100 name/color... but which one is controlling what? is there a list for what each key stands for? can perhaps someone provide me with screenshots and the keynames there?
      thanks, mike.
    • That's a very good idea. Right now the only method to properly customize the theme is through trial and error, which is very frustrating. It would be a good idea if it were a screenshot available containing the description for each element, or even better, when you hover an element in the list it could be surrounded by a visible frame in the UI.
  • Settings for Output Window Text and Background
    1 Posts | Last post March 14, 2013
    • Hi Matthew,
      Firstly, thanks for the tool. Now using your tool I applied a Elite dark them from But now when I change the Output Window plain text foreground to Yellow and background to a shade of Dark Grey (from Tools -> Options -> Environment -> Fonts and Colors)and the background renders fine but the text goes black and is sort of highlighted in light grey background. I wonder if you could tell me what setting in your tool I could use to set the text color and background for Output Window? Thanks.
  • Pick up System colors?
    5 Posts | Last post December 09, 2012
    • This is a great extension, and I guess this is more a comment for the VS team. But I'm on XP, with a custom Windows Classic theme, and I hate it when apps decide to use their own color scheme. I wish that either VS or this extension had a way of reading my system colors and basing the scheme on that. I know that I can use this extension to go through one by one and adjust all the colors, and I guess I'll do that when I have an hour to spare, but I wish there were a simpler way.
    • There are some built-in themes, like the Windows Classic theme that uses the system colors. Would be nifty if this same concept could be applied to the new UI style though.
    • I'd also like an option to use current Windows theme colours.
    • How do you install this studid thing?
      When I run it, it installs in VS 2012 instead of 2012.
    • This extension is for Visual Studio 2010 only.  Downloading and double-clicking the VSIX file should prompt to install for Visual Studio 2010 (not 2012).  If that doesn't work I'd be curious to find out why, but as an alternative you can try opening Visual Studio 2010, going to Tools\Extension Manager, and searching from there for "color theme editor".  You should be able to find and install the extension from that dialog.
      If you're looking for the version that supports Visual Studio 2012 it's here:
  • Please let it work with VS 11
    14 Posts | Last post August 31, 2012
    • I've really enjoyed using this.  With VS 11 this extension becomes critically important to me, since MS has stubbornly forced light gray (new RC screenshots) on us.  PLEASE, PLEASE let this work on VS 11. Being able to add some contrast  (like that burgundy screen-shot you have here) is very important to me.
    • I love this extension.  Please make this work with Visual Studio 2012.  There are a lot of us there that would really appreciate it.  
    • +1 I can't go without this extension any more. It really does help people who are sensitive to high contrast. Thanks.
    • +1 I need to throw my hat in with this. Whilst I am a black background coder the dead 2012 UI is like a prison. 
    • +1 Agree on this. Please make it works on vs 2012.
    • +1 again.  VS2012 RTM still looks horribly grey.
    • +100 - please please please make it work with VS2012 - uggghhhh that all that flat grey!
    • Quoting Scott Hanselman in
      "Matt Johnson, one of the developers on the Visual Studio team, developed and released a theme editor extension for Visual Studio 2010 on Studio Gallery. His tool needs additional time and effort to work with Visual Studio 2012 given all the changes we made. As soon as it’s ready we will make it available. With Matt's tool you will be able make a wide variety of theme changes including updating the Status Bar colors to colors of your choosing."
      That'd be great news
    • Scott's got the right information, a VS 2012 version of this extension is nearly ready for release.  Thanks for your patience!
    • Please do this for VS 2012.
      Can't work with the 2 tone look. 
      I don't know that the guys at Microsoft are thinking. No wonder Apple is beating them. If Windows 8 release is like this then Microsoft shares will be penny stock!
    • "Matthew Johnson [MSFT]
      Scott's got the right information, a VS 2012 version of this extension is nearly ready for release.  Thanks for your patience!"
      Thanks Matthew!  Do you have any plans to allow us to change the icons themselves or allow us to revert back to the VS 2010 icons.  The VS 2012 icons make the IDE more difficult to use.  
    • +1! Please add VS2012 support!
    • +1. I hoped through Beta & RC I'd get used to it, or MS'd improve it, but even in RTM VS2012 is bland, gloomy and has awful contrast, making it really difficult to differentiate any of the UI components. It's like working in a dank cave. Very much looking forward to the new build of this extension!
    • Does anyone have trouble using this while working on Windows Workflow Foundation? The flow charts do get rendered well. I have to switch back to default in order to work with WF, 
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