Visual Studio 2013 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 RJain_SMRH | May 14 2015

by Michael Tomasch | May 14 2015

Couldnt have been easier to install,
ran the installer launched visual studio
and began coding withing 60 seconds. The
themes are great, and couldnt have asked
for it to be any easier.

by ootomaskooo | May 10 2015

Doesn't install on Visual Studio Community with Update 4.

by Yann Duran | April 28 2015

If it wasn't for this extension, I would never have even started using VS 2012. I'm so happy that it eventually came to VS 2013 as well.

I *really* don't understand why this functionality hasn't been included in VS itself. Surely MS has heard by now that their customers want to be able to have more than 3 preset choices, and to be able to *customize* their working environment.

You only have to look at how many time this extension has been downloaded. And that doesn't count the unhappy people who have never even heard of this extension. Let's hope that MS has finally rectified this in VS 2014.

by 1antares1 | April 14 2015

Maravillado por el complemento.
5 puntos y van corto.


by sundarrjn20 | April 11 2015

Excellent Editor and its free of cost that makes this app more interesting. Am working on this editor for the past 3 months in office as well as in home.

I didn't find any issues with this. Only concern i want to tell to Microsoft developers is, Buddies give some more color schemes to this excellent and innovative app

Thank you Microsoft!!!

by Tim Abell | April 02 2015

Typical bloody microsoft throw it over the fence and abandon it. Where's the github repo? How do you contribute fixes and improvements? Where's the author's responses to *any* q&a or reviews on this site. So close but yet so far as usual.

There has been plenty of feedback over *years* that there are problems with colour choices that could easily be fixed, but *nothing* has been done, not even the courtesy to respond.

I long for microsoft's demise so I don't have to put up with this kind of closed source freeware crap any longer.


by Ondřej | March 13 2015

Playing with colors when I get bored from coding raises my mood.

by Baris Konag | January 16 2015

A perfect plugin. But dark editor now has some problems in visual studio 2013 with the latest update.

by Stormjack | December 18 2014

This is a great tool. It would warrant 5 stars if it had better documentation with pictures. In VS 2013, I had difficulty finding the correct settings for some areas, like dialog background colors. This was particularly difficult with a dark theme that I customized from the installed "Dark" theme. For a few settings that were difficult to identify, I resorted to using the VS menus of Tools > Options > Environment > Fonts and Colors, and paging through the various colors.

Please consider putting an "Export Theme" button next to the "Edit Theme" and "Create Copy of Theme" buttons that appear in the custom themes selection boxes. It's not readily apparent that you can export a theme by first selecting "Edit Theme" and then choosing the "Export Theme" button. I was eventually able to find it, but it took several minutes of hunting.

by Nadim Kobeissi | November 22 2014

Thank you for this! Wonderful addition to VS. Superb.

by gr_____________________ | November 13 2014

Can't live without it - I wish this kind of color tweaking available on Windows 8+, to customize OS colors for all apps (hardwired bright white background is killing my eyes).

While not without some glitches (e.g. "Fonts & Colors" getting out-of-sync), 5*.

by ElsaBrooks | November 13 2014

Very nice overall, but doesn't work well with the "Fonts and Colors" visual studio settings relating to the text editor, it keeps mixing them up and the "Import settings" button the extension provides is bugged.
So if you stay on one theme all the time you won't encounter much problems, but if like me you switch between themes depending on the time of the day (light during the day, dark during the night) the Fonts and Colors bug(s) prevent you from switching between multiple custom themes (you can only switch between a custom theme and a regular theme without fucking up the Fonts and Colors).

by zee89757 | October 21 2014

I like it!!

by Bart W. Kemps | October 13 2014

I used to have the 'tan' window colors with solarized editor colors. I don't know if it's the settings import/export functionality or the theme editor, but it's close to impossible to set it up like that now.

Now i've succeeded getting things just the way I want them, I'd like to export my current color settings as a theme. You should add that feature.

by Julius Holmberg | October 10 2014

Easy and good. All I could want is more themes.

by John--W | September 23 2014

After installing VS 2013, my whole theme defaulted to the dark version. The light & blue just didn't cut it. I found this and immediately fell in love with it!
The default themes are great and an added bonus was the ability to edit the themes or create your own. So if I get bored with any of the default themes I can easily edit any of them.
Great addition to my VS2013 software. I highly recommend it!!

by sagenth | August 07 2014

Reporting Buggy behaviour.. The extension doesn't play nice with the built in "Fonts and Colors". If you use the fonts and colours menu to change any colours it will not update properly inside this extension. Then when/if you go to tweak the settings inside of the extension it will not apply the new colour because of the aforementioned fonts and colors tweaking that took place.

by FunPro | July 30 2014


by Dot Net Giri | July 28 2014


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  • Will not install for VS2013 on Windows 10CTP
    6 Posts | Last post 12:07 AM
    • I get the following error:
      The extension could not be installed because the following error occurred:
      The extension 'Visual Studio 2013 Color Theme Editor' requires a version of the .Net Framework that is not installed.
      What version is required?
      I have 4.5+
    • I have same problem on Windows 10 Technical Preview, Please fix this issue i realy want this tool.
    • Same here.
      Even though, according to the Web Platform Installer, the .NET Framework 4.5 is installed, the plugin installer doesn't recognize it.
      Additionally, if I list directory C:\Windows\Microsoft .NET\, I can see versions 2, 3, 3.5, 4, but not 4.5 .
    • Also on windows 10 with the same error
    • Ok, I got this to work on windows 10. The quick fix. 
      Download the vsix file above. 
      Open it as a zip file. 
      Edit the .vsixmanifest file
      remove the .net dependency
    • @JonnyRocks
      Thanks! That worked for me. A new trick to add to my toolbox.
  • Will There Be a 2015 Version?
    1 Posts | Last post April 28, 2015
    • This extension has been my life saver!
      I've been able to install the 2013 version in VS 2015 (by modifying the VSIX file). I can import my custom theme, and even get VS to use it. The problem is that it keeps getting reset back to the default theme after I've closed & opened VS again.
      The same thing used to happen when VS 2013 first came out, before a new version of the existing extension was officially released.
      Is Microsoft going to release an updated version of this extension for VS 2105? 
      If so, roughly when?
      If not, can the extension's source code be open sourced? This extension is far too valuable to be "lost" if there's lack of interest for Microsoft to continue to support it!
  • This extension is not installable on any currently installed products
    2 Posts | Last post April 28, 2015
    • Apparently this does not support VS 2013 Express. Is there another version that does or am I just SOL?
    • Hi Tom,
      I just noticed your question as I was looking to see if there was going to be any 2015 support for this extension. In case you haven't already discovered it, the reason you were unable to install the extension is because "express" versions of VS never supported it.
      You're in luck now though. There's a free new community version of VS 2013 for all but "enterprise" use that will allow extensions to be installed. 
      And when VS 2015 is released (which is almost upon us, it's currently at RC, sorry "Preview", status as I write this), which also has a Community SKU which of course also allows extensions to be installed.
      Hope that helps,
  • Please, pleasy, pretty please: VS2015 support.
    1 Posts | Last post April 08, 2015
    • The title says it all, if is not yet possible or reasonable (breaking changes expected), please excuse - and perhaps shed some light upon - my ignorance.
  • There is no theme menu
    2 Posts | Last post April 03, 2015
    • I installed it but there is no Theme menu in visual studio 2013 that I can use.
    • Check Tools->Change Color Theme and Tools->Customize Colors.
      If every package would add its own top level menu, you would have more than 100 top level menus on a default install of Visual Studio. That is why the Visual Studio user interface design guidelines recommend not to use them.
  • Can't install
    2 Posts | Last post March 31, 2015
    • Can't install to VS 2013 Premium. The log says:
      Install Error : Microsoft.VisualStudio.ExtensionManager.MissingTargetFrameworkException: The extension 'Visual Studio 2013 Color Theme Editor' requires a version of the .NET Framework that is not installed.
      Sometime ago I was able to install it, but now I can't. I think it's an incompatibility with VS2015 CTP 5.
    • I have the exact same issue. I installed VS 2013, and then deleted my account, and re-created it to fix an entirely unrelated issue. I don't this had anything to do with it, but it was working before I did this.
      I've tried Repairing VS, and I've tried uninstalling and then installing VS and didn't work. So I gave up by now. I'm gonna miss Solarized themes.
  • Name hunting
    2 Posts | Last post March 11, 2015
    • I'm looking for what VS calls the text for data binding in Web Forms "<% %>" and the directives for MVC "@". The current theme that I'm using (Jellybeans on changes these to an ugly and hard to see color.
    • I found what I was looking for on When you go to create a new scheme it tells you what the that bit of text is. In this case it was HTML Server Side Script
      I do have another question though. How do you get the theme editor to work after importing color settings? If you import color settings from a vssettings file, the colors are not reflected in the theme. I first tried to change the color with this extension but the color did not change after I saved. I had to edit it through the menu TOOLS > Options > Font And Color.
  • VS14 compatible Version
    5 Posts | Last post January 02, 2015
    • Will there be a VS14 compatible Version? The Default UI still sucks so I Need the addon to customize the Colors.
    • ok, I modified the manifest and can use the 2013 version now on VS14.
    • how did you change the manifest?  regards, AM
    • 1) Download this vsix. 
      2) Change the extension to .zip and unzip it.
      3) Open extension.vsixmanifest
      4) Delete everything inside
      5) Replace it with the XML in the next few post.
      6) Zip it up again
      7) Change the extension back to .vsix
    • <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
      <Vsix xmlns:xsi="" xmlns:xsd="" Version="1.0.0" xmlns="">
        <Identifier Id="3030D7A2-0F79-48EA-AD6F-E46A7A414179">
          <Name>Visual Studio 2013 Color Theme Editor</Name>
          <Author>Microsoft Corporation</Author>
          <Description xml:space="preserve">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.</Description>
            <VisualStudio Version="14.0">
          <SupportedFrameworkRuntimeEdition MinVersion="4.0" MaxVersion="4.5" />
        <References />
  • Really glitchy with Update 4
    2 Posts | Last post December 10, 2014
    • I've been using this with previous updates of VS2013, and it was working flawlessly (though creating a theme can be tedious). However, updating VS to Update 4 caused some abnormalities. Custom themes all show an error message when loading, the custom theme selector is a bit funky, and all options to customize font colors for pretty much every type of identifier except enums disappear. Is anyone else getting this?
    • Maybe I'm missing it, but I don't even see the menu item in the Tools menu to open the theme editor. I am also using 2013 update 4, so I don't know if it's related or if I am just looking in the wrong place.
  • Map Mode - nested level bar colours
    2 Posts | Last post November 19, 2014
    • I use a dark theme which is great but the Map mode scrollbars are giving me a problem. The coloured bars that show the nesting level of the code is almost invisible against the dark scrollbar background. Does anyone know the setting to change these to be more visible?
    • I am also looking for adjustments that can be made to the editor scrollbar color.
      Nearly invisible =p
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