Personalize the Visual Studio IDE

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac


This article applies to Visual Studio 2017. If you're looking for the latest Visual Studio documentation, see Visual Studio documentation. We recommend upgrading to the latest version of Visual Studio. Download it here

You can personalize Visual Studio in various ways to best support your own development style and requirements. Many of your settings roam with you across Visual Studio instances—see Synchronized settings. This article briefly describes different personalizations and where you can find more information.


This topic applies to Visual Studio on Windows. For Visual Studio for Mac, see Customize the Visual Studio for Mac IDE.

Default settings

You can choose a default collection of settings that optimizes Visual Studio for your type of development. For more information, see Environment settings.

General environment options

Many personalization options are exposed through the Environment Options dialog box. There are two ways to access this dialog box:

  • On the menu bar, choose Tools > Options, and if it's not already expanded, expand the Environment node.

  • Press Ctrl+Q, type environment in the search box, and then choose Environment > General from the results.


When the Options dialog box appears, you can press F1 for help on the various settings on that page.

Environment color themes

To change the color theme between Dark, Light, Blue, and Blue (Extra Contrast), type theme in the search box, and then choose Environment > General. In the Options dialog box, change the Color theme option.

To change colorization options in the editor, type environment in the search box, and then choose Environment > Fonts and Colors. See How to: Change fonts and colors.

You can change the main menu casing between Title Case ("File") and All Caps ("FILE"). Type environment in the search box, select Environment > General, and then change the Apply title case styling to menu bar option.

Customize menus and toolbars

To add or remove menu or toolbar items, see How to: Customize menus and toolbars.

Start page

To create a custom start page for you and your team, see Customize the Start page.

Window layouts

You can define and save multiple window layouts and switch between them. For example, you can define one layout for coding and one for debugging. To arrange window positions and behavior and save custom layouts, see Customize window layouts.

External tools

You can customize the Tools menu to launch external tools. For more information, see Manage external tools.

See also