Iris Classon
Iris Classon - In Love with Code

Stupid Question 197-198: Why is the VS2012 menu uppercased, and can I undo that?

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

Ever wondered why the VS2012 menu is screaming at you? I sure have. So I decided to do a search, and also ask some MS guys.

The uppercasing was choosen to give VS2012 a consistent and structured look with new typography inspired design language for Windows 8. Have a look around at the various products by Microsoft and you’ll find a fair bit of upper casing, but not everywhere… I don’t like it, but its not a big problem for me, but I do know that quite a few devs are annoyed at the uppercasing, mainly because of how it affects readability:

According to Wikipedia:

All-capital print greatly retards speed of reading in comparison with lower-case type. Also, most readers judge all capitals to be less legible. Faster reading of the lower-case print is due to the characteristic word forms furnished by this type. This permits reading by word units, while all capitals tend to be read letter by letter. Furthermore, since all-capital printing takes at least one-third more space than lower case, more fixation pauses are required for reading the same amount of material. The use of all capitals should be dispensed with in every printing situation (Miles Tinker -1955)

EDIT: Is this still valid, or is it for print only?


Here are your options:

Registry change:

To bring the menu back to normal there is a registry hack that you can do (What is the regsitry), and since there are so many blog posts on how to do that I’ll simply refer to one here instead of writing up the steps myself.

Turn Off the Uppercase Menu in Visual Studio 2012


Extension (I have not tried it)

VSCommands for Visual Studio 2012


Nuget (I have not tried it)

VS2012.RemoveAllCaps 2.0.0

Hide the main menu altogether (what I do)

Hide Main Menu


Leave a comment (via email)
Cristovao Morgado
6/19/2013 2:23:37 AM
While your at this question...
Why not question WHY "metro design" for WP  app do the opposite for panorama/pivot headers... and yet the app name (page header) is capitalized .

It's a design choice... and as nothing to do with grammar/spelling rules ... and it's not a English language only 

And as WKI had "The use of all capitals should be dispensed with in every printing situation."
And we're on a digital world ;) 
Iris Classon
6/19/2013 2:51:58 AM
Reply to: Cristovao Morgado
Good point, and I guess a question is also if readability of uppercased words is better when digital compared to print? I added an edit :) 
6/19/2013 3:27:34 AM
You should totally give VSCommands extension a try, it's life changing!

As for all-caps, annoying at first but I got used to.
And now you only have to look t your sidebar 'Upcomming Conference Talks':  those in all caps stand out and look much better for me (CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY vs tech 2013 days); this may be more to do with the font choice though? 
6/19/2013 4:42:47 AM
I like to hide the main menu too but prefer VSCommands to do that only for the fact that it can show it again when I hover mouse in the place where it originally was. 
Andy Dent
6/19/2013 5:09:33 AM
I have also read somewhere that the VS2012 team made their design choices with no consultation with the Metro design people, based only on reading the style guidelines, and that the Metro guys were surprised at their "enthusiasm". I have never seen anybody defend the uppercase labels as improving either usability or aesthetics.

I prefer the registry-based solution.

I also strongly recommend using the Visual Studio Color Theme Editor extension to be able to change the colors - you can get much better contrast between different areas. 

Last modified on 2013-06-19