Visual Studio 2012 Color Theme Editor

Microsoft Free

Allows users to create and edit Visual Studio themes. Themes can customize colors used for menus, toolbars, tabs, titlebars, the text editor, and other environment colors.

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by Juan Fco. Miranda | November 25 2012

It's a great extension, but with the blue theme there are some buttons and/or tabs that are not visible until the mouse pointer is over it, like the new windows phone 8 manifest app.

by Đonny | November 20 2012

Great extension. Makes Visual Studio 2012 much better to use! Microsoft should rather deploy VS2012 with blue theme then force users to wait and download extension.

by Mario185 | November 19 2012

VS 2012 is better with colors :)

by zinzinzibidi | November 16 2012


by Jeff Gilbert1 | November 14 2012

Reminds me of my days at IBM in the 70's when I traded in my green-screen terminal for the fancy new amber-screen terminal. WooHoo!

Seriously, This only addresses a small portion of the mountains of criticsm of the new U.I. I hope MS doesn't think they've actaully addressed the problem with this.

Remember: If you polish a turd, all you end up with is a polished turd.

- Jeff

by mkedwards | November 13 2012

It's cool being able to create a custom color scheme, but I think the process will be too time-consuming for many developers because: (1) it's not always obvious which descriptions (such as "document well tab") apply to which portions of the Visual Studio UI -- I spent a lot of time hunting for the right setting, and (2) there are so many aspects of the GUI that have their own color setting, that it's easy to get lost and/or confused.
To address item (1) how about a capability similar to what Internet Explorer's Developer Tools offers: the ability to click on some part of the GUI and have it tell you what color-setting (i.e. description) applies to that part of the GUI.
To address item (2), I'd suggest simply offering more themes and having them placed into categories such as "dark text editor (background)", "light menu and toolbar background", etc.
What would be simpler is the ability to generate a theme by picking combinations of preferences, such as: "dark editor background" and "beige color scheme", etc.
BTW, I noticed that the toolbar icons show up much better against the familiar blue background than they do against the new dark (charcoal) background.

by D Monteiro | November 13 2012

It's great to have these options. Thank you.

by Delyk | November 12 2012







by theAnonGuy | November 09 2012

I have installed Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop, but when tried to run this editor, it is throwing VSIXInstaller.NoApplicableSKUsException: This extension is not installable on any currently installed. Is this not for Express version? Somebody help me out please !

by Gandalf50 | November 08 2012

Nice add-on

by Plakhtiy.Andrew | November 01 2012

Very Good & Usful!

by Hossein Aarabi | October 31 2012

by Jaminman | October 31 2012

Yes! I love the purple theme. Thank you. Is there a community collection of themes like the visual studio wallpapers (

by PRISMAY | October 30 2012

This is a welcome addition so thank you very much. One suggestion I would make is to add a way to get to a specific option, since there's a TON of options and not all are intuitive in the naming. If there's a way to get to an option in a theme from the UI, that would be great, if not, then maybe provide an image that points to what an option would change visually. Thanks again for your efforts.

[EDIT 30-Oct-2012] Love the new features added. Thank you for your continued efforts. Would love to see the "Export Theme" available on the main page next to the Edit and Delete icons on the custom theme, or show an Export Theme next to Import Theme when a custom theme is selected.

by Norman Dankert | October 30 2012

Great tool. Just noticed there is a new version and I like the update very very much. Now a precious tab/window instead of a small menu. I especially like the feature to import/export themes, since I use VS on multiple computers.

One more thing: It took me a moment to find the "export theme" button - only accessible, when you are editing a theme. Therefore I would suggest adding the export theme button directly to the main window, next to "edit" and "delete".

by jkristia | October 30 2012

Thank you for providing these additional themes.

by Maximilian Haru Raditya | October 30 2012

I just want to say thank you for this, especially for the latest 2.2 version.

I think it's excellent for providing related visuals that is necessary for making changes to a theme.
And the new Export/Import feature is just awesome.. :D

by Raffaele Rialdi [MVP] | October 29 2012

I had to switch to blue theme because in the VS2012 light (default) theme, the light blue used to highlight all the variable names in a method/function is almost identical to the selection.
The other themes are incredibly far away from my personal taste.

I would add to the extension the selection of lowercase menu. I can't work with screaming menus and changing the registry on all the machines is pretty boring.

by Petr.Sobotka | October 25 2012

We have projects that are maintained in older versions of solutions for various reasons and having to switch from VS 2008 and 2010 to VS 2012 and back several times a day was a nightmare. Thanks to this extension it is a lot more bearable.

by Ryan Youngman | October 23 2012

Wonderful extension. It was exactly what I was looking for. Agreed that this should come in the standard VS installation. Nice job Matthew!

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  • Dark Editor in SSIS, Light in Code
    1 Posts | Last post October 20, 2015
    • I like the Dark theme when using SSIS, but when in a script task I don't like writing code in the dark theme. Is it possible to only have a dark editor if not in code?
  • Request a working version for SSMS 2012
    3 Posts | Last post August 26, 2015
    • Matt is it possible for you to build a quick working copy of this tool for SSMS 2012?
      I had it working bases on the recommendations from this site listed bwlow and had it working. But then the second day it stopped working.
      If you can DBAs cross the world would be happier.  :-)
    • Matt,
      I did get it working again by removing the PublicKeyToken=  ############ from ThemeManagerPackage.pkgdef file.
      # are numbers/letters.
    • HI Jason,
      I smanaged to install into SSMS but after that how did you change the color? I cannot see any option! Would you help me please?
  • syntax colors disappear
    1 Posts | Last post September 14, 2014
    • Whenever i start to edit .cpp file, custom syntax colors are disappear.
  • method explanation colors
    1 Posts | Last post April 01, 2014
    • hi,
      I am using "light with dark editor" theme and i have a problem with the explanation area. I don't know the exact name of it, so I will explain: when I write an object name and press the dot, intellisense brings the usable properties and methods. And while I am moving on the methods with the arrow keys, an expalantion bubble pops that has information about the method or property. I want to change the colors of this bubble's text because I cannot see it with the current settings.
      Can you help me about this problem please?
  • Dynamic Changing of Color Scheme
    1 Posts | Last post March 28, 2014
    • Hello Matthew,
      Is there anyway to change the default color settings of the Fonts inside Tools/Options/FontsAndColors dynamically through code? I've figured out how to catch the Theme change event and I would like to switch my color scheme to predefined values after a theme switch, but I can't figure out how to access the color values through code. Would I have to somehow rewrite the registry values or is there an easier way to do this?
  • Document tab colours
    1 Posts | Last post November 12, 2013
    • Hi. On my copy of VS2012 the colour of the document tabs seems to be fixed: aspx forms and code behind get a rather nasty brick red, .cs classes a sort of British Racing Green. The document with the focus doesn't really stand out, particularly for green tabs and it sometimes takes me a while to realise I'm not on the tab I thought I was. This doesn't seem to be under the control of the theme editor - is there any way to change it?
  • Support for non-Professional versions?
    1 Posts | Last post November 07, 2013
    • I'm using VS 2012 as a component of Sql Server Data Tools. As such this is the "integrated" version, not "Professional. As a result I apparently can't install this extension, which is a bummer, because I can't stand the look of VS 2012!!!!
      Is there w reason why you can't support other versions?
  • Color Theme for Each VS Instance
    1 Posts | Last post October 24, 2013
    • Hi,
      The Color Theme Editor for VS 2010 let me set a color theme for each instance of VS while it was running.   That is, after I started an instance of VS 2010 I could select a Theme.  Then I could start a second instance of VS 2010 and set its Theme to a different color.  This made it easy to identify which instance I was working with.
      In VS 2012, if I have two instances running and change the color of one instance it also changes the color of the second instance.
      Is there any way to include the logic from the 2010 version.  It was very useful.
  • Broken VS
    1 Posts | Last post October 24, 2013
    • Hello,
      I installed the plugin while having my custom colors. I noticed that it changed some of the colors here and there and I tried to import them back from settings file. I realized that the studio has stopped importing colors and fonts. I uninstalled the plugin but this didn't fix the problem. So now I have a spoiled color theme and broken import settings feature. Also on every change of theme the font is reset to some strange font and I have to go change it manually from the options. All this is happening on VS 2012 Professional.
      Can you suggest any fix other than uninstall and install of VS?
  • Pick-up Windows Color option?
    2 Posts | Last post October 18, 2013
    • Hi I have setup my windows colours so that I don't feel like I'm staring at the sun all day with the glaring white paper that is Visual studios default.
      However I cannot see (no pun intended) how to change VS2012 workspace background colours to my windows colour.
      It would be good if there was an option to Pick-up the windows (theme) colour either entirely or per item.
      Until I can change the paper colour I'll have to give VS2012 a miss or ask my lawyer about what come back on MS there would be for consequential damage from using the UI (joke).
      Please help us that customise windows colours for Usability reasons!!!!
    • I can think of two options:
      1. Use a High Contrast windows theme, and customize those colors.  In this case, Visual Studio will use only Windows theme colors.
      2. Customize Visual Studio colors using this extension to be what you want (perhaps starting from the Dark theme is closer to what you want).
      The big problem with "using Windows colors" is that Windows exposes a very, very small set of colors, but Visual Studio is a complex application that requires more nuanced color choices.  This extension currently gives you maximum control over that nuance.
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