Visual Studio 2012 – ALL CAPS vs. Old Style

Richard Banks – a Visual Studio ALM MVP posted about a registry hack to disable ALL CAPS in Visual Studio 2012, which gives an opportunity to compare Visual Studio 2012 with and without the highly controversial SHOUTING MENU.

See image below for comparison:

I was very much against the ALL CAPS change, but when I compare these two – it actually does seem a bit more legible and it wastes less space. Maybe it’s just a part of a good Metro design and we should trust the designers from DevDiv? What do you think?

A reg file to quickly remove ALL CAPS menus from Visual Studio 2012 is available here.

Note – the VSCommands extension for Visual Studio has an option to disable ALL CAPS as well as an option to set it to all lowercase among tons of other helpful features that it adds.

If you like your old things – you can also get colors in VS to be close to VS 2010 or whatever you like with the Visual Studio 2012 Color Theme Editor extension (direct link here).


8 thoughts on “Visual Studio 2012 – ALL CAPS vs. Old Style

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why does the ReSharper icon be so cute and is the only quicly available part of the UI?

  2. I don’t see the problem with it, nor the problem with just making it an option and leaving the default the way everyone’s mobbing about.

    I realize it’s a controversy because so many developers are used to it being a certain way, and the mentality of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes into play, but I agree with what you mentioned, and in direct comparison of the two I think the all caps version actually looks better.

    I never consider anything in any user interface as “shouting” at me unless there’s some context for that – players in a chat for a game, as an example, or a large warning sign of some kind in whatever software. If it’s a menu and it’s a consistent behavior across multiple products from the same organization, it makes sense to me – but maybe I’m too relaxed about it or too new age.

    Maybe it’s because I like a tool that doesn’t get in the way – but more importantly, helps a ton without me ever realizing it, or realizing it, but not being distracted by it. Code re-factoring, for example, or global name changes – exceptional tools that increase productivity without detracting from the intent of updating code. I think that’s the mind-set of the designers, and they want to clean up the UI to let you go at it. Probably could have done it better with slow introductions to these things, and with themes and options available to satisfy a user base that may not like change.

    • xyzzer says:

      Yeah, I reverted it to ALL CAPS myself. If you just look at the design – it looks annoying at first, but in terms of usability it does actually seem a little bit better after going back and forth a bit. I may not like the way it looks, but it works! 🙂
      It is good to have an option to change it at least through the registry. In terms of themeing – I would love if the options existed, but I also realize that nothing comes for free and even though it sounds fairly straightforward – it would probably cost Microsoft a couple hundred thousand dollars to get it engineered, which I would rather have them spend on maintaining macros or fixing the new find/replace UI.

  3. I despise the ALL CAPS choice, and as a Microsoft employee, I was deeply embarrassed to see DevDiv thumb their noses at all the people who spoke out against it. I have seen lots of “I hate the all caps” comments, as well as some “it doesn’t really matter to me” replies. But I don’t find people anywhere saying, “I love the all caps. I think Microsoft should stick to their guns and not allow people to have their own way.”
    I do believe it should have been a choice that could easily be made with a checkbox on the Tools | Options | General page. It doesn’t take any significant effort to implement that, and DevDiv has had months to respond to the outcry. I’m simply ashamed.

    • xyzzer says:

      I guess it must be annoying being the face of the company and hearing all these complaints, but in terms of UI – user voice is not the ultimate criterion of the best design. Sure – when you build the user model for years and then the program model changes – people will complain, but sometimes you have to suffer through such outcries and stick to your decision to move things forward. I still keep the ALL CAPS menu on and don’t see it anymore. Since the lettering is larger – the touch targets are larger too making it slightly easier to use with touch (when the need comes) while it does not cause to use up more space or at least not one that would be used for something else.
      I don’t think the final build for VS 2012 is out, so a check box might still be added or the default setting could be changed, though again – I would still prefer them to focus on fixing the find/replace dialog or restoring macros than spend time pushing pixels about.

  4. Stephan Schaem says:


    Seriously, this design is very short sighted.
    Its more readable, but it also draw to much of your attention. Making the UI layout is unbalanced.
    And this gives it an amateur feel.

    The UI team made the menu scream “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME”.
    Yet, the UI design team made it so all icons look the same.. all a blur of grey.

    I have a few friends in the graphic industry and they laughed at windows8,
    and I have yet to find a single person that find VS2012 UI design an improvement over 2010.
    I know a few switched back to 2010 because they eye got tired way to quickly.
    (And the color choice the ‘dark’ theme provide is an abomination)

    Form over function… MS got it all wrong. A UI need be usable and friendly to the human eye over long period of time, not look good in a screen shot.

    Well, to be honest the new Blue color scheme & this hack make VS2012 enjoyable.
    Only piece missing is a new icon set. So close MS, so close.

    PS: I found the guts of VS2012 formidable. Kudos to the compiler team !
    But do yourself a favor, find yourself a new set of UI designer.

    • xyzzer says:

      I would not trust any average graphic designers to rate any UI design for me. These poor fellas have to cope with the likes of Adobe Illustrator all they long and might have a very twisted perception of what a UI should look like. I looked at it the other day and thought I have never seen an application designed so badly. Until they can rewrite the UI designs of the likes of Illustrator or Photoshop to be usable – I would leave them be. 🙂

      Personally, after 3 months of using VS 2012 I still don’t notice the menu bar which is good and it means I am focusing on the code and not capitalization details of the UI, so I think the design goals must have been reached.

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