Dark color themes support on Windows

All my friends know that my favourite color is black. I wear black, my iPod is black, my phone is black... And of course both my Vista Aero and Office 2007 are in black color :)

But recently my friend Lobo666 sent me his "Darkness theme", which he has been using for years (and adapted from Windows 2000 to Windows XP).

I've always used gray window backgrounds (instead of the retina-killing white), but after trying this, I wanted to use it everywhere:

As you can see, it works perfectly on Vista in Windows Classic mode. Windows are very dark but can bee seen, the text is readable without problems and selection is red.

So... I installed it and tried a few apps. For example, Paint.Net is very well done, excepting the gradient grey background, everything keeps visible:

Visual Studio 2008 would need some tweaks but overall is not bad (as it has tons of custom colors I agree it would be a miracle if everything worked at first attempt):

But then I found the humorous part... Office 2007 :D

Microsoft Word works acceptably. All the ribbon is grey instead of black but ok, documents aren't affected, I can see the icons... let's give it a 5 out of 10 ("it works but looks ugly").

I tried then Outlook 2007... And this is the best looking section of it:

As you can see, menu headers don't use system color configuration, so are grey; Some captions do not use system colours either, so we get black text + black background, and the "inverted color" icons are uglier than the VS2008 ones (dudes, look at Paint.Net... normal icons work correctly, do not touch them ;)

This could be relative painless... if generally Outlook 2007 didn't became a pain to work with if you use a black theme:

Some icons detect the black background color, but keep their black color (remember, black+black = nothing visible), the choosen sort by column keeps a grey selection color, so united with light-grey text color I now can't see the date of any email, collapsed emails ("last week", "last month", etcetera), other stuff keeps the "office colors"...

So, dear Microsoft guys... I love Office 2007, I like and find quite intuitive the new ribbon system... but you should do it conforming to usability principles (using OS color schemes, or at least allowing to deactivate the "cool" visual scheme and use windows classic one).

Oh, and as a sidenote, too bad too that I can't mix this dark theme with Aero (I would need to re-select every color again by hand, and I haven't yet found where to export the theme once configured).

Tags: Systems-IT

Dark color themes support on Windows article, written by Kartones. Published @