Elements: A way to change the UI colors

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  • Updated 8 years ago
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  • (Edited)
Is there a way to change the Photoshop CS5 and Elements 9 user interface and application colors? With the black and dark grey colors it is extremely difficult to use. Earlier versions like Photoshop CS4 and Elements 5 have a much cleaner user interface and background colors that is so much easier to see and use. Please help, I'm going blind trying to see dark gray on black.
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Sharon G

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  • going blind

Posted 9 years ago

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Gene Moore

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For those that want to complain beyond this forum, the EMail for Adobe customer complaints is:

adobecustomerservice@adobe.com

That's what the help desk told me. Since there isn't a lot of postive vibes coming from this forum, you may want to try that approach. I did, and if enough people complain, it may get some results. We'll see..
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Gene Moore

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Got a call an Saturday from somebody with an accent and not in US (phone number was international). They said "It will be fixed in 11, but I can't guarantee it". "If you give them your case number when 11 comes out, they'll give a discount or even let you have it for free.". When I asked for these things in writing, the answer was "No". He then gave me the same song and dance about how hard it was to change, but at least admitted that Chris's "two years to just change the UI" was a major exaggeration. Bottom line, same as before, they aren't going to fix it and they still don't care about their customer base.
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Chris Cox

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The person you were talking to was not an engineer, and obviously had no idea what went into changing Photoshop's UI for CS6.

And you're reading a lot into things that weren't said, and ignoring what you have already been told.
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Gene Moore

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Well, that's a first. I have never seen an organization where an employee would criticize another employee on a public board. Since you weren't on the phone (we talked for close to 20 minutes), you have no idea what was said. What I have been told you by you is simply too unbelievable to give any credence. Absolute NO project manager in his right mind would accept a 2-year actual (not man year) cycle to just change a UI's colors with no change to content or functionality.
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Chris Cox

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If the person on the phone said that Photoshop CS6's UI change took less than the time it took, then they have no idea. And an engineer would have some idea what was involved.

Yes, a project manager would accept that schedule if they understood what was actually involved. This is not about changing a short table of colors - this is about changing thousands of icons, lots of code, plus a table of colors, more than a few UI designs that couldn't deal with color changes, then testing it all, fixing bugs found, testing again, etc.
Just because you do not have experience with something on this scale does not mean that it is unreasonable, just that you don't know how large a task it really is.
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Gene Moore

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OK Chris, you win. I've never written anything bigger than a "Hello World" application and your knowledge is vastly superior to mine. I'll stop complaining on this board and deal with the complaint desk. At least they can have reasonable dialogs without insulting the clients. FYI, whatever zinger you have in response won't be seeen by me. I'm also clicking the button to stop monitoring this board. It's clearly unproductive.
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Chris Cox

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Nobody here has insulted you. At worst, your mistakes were corrected and explained at length by someone with firsthand knowledge of the work and effort involved.
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Roy Close

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That is promising—but where do I find my "case number"? I first posted well over a year ago and have no idea what my case number is.
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Gene Moore

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Ya got me. I probably got one when I filed my complaint, but I don't think you get one here.. I really doubt they would honor it anyway, since they wouldn't give it to me in writing..
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ds

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I installed Elements 10 and it made shortcuts to the folder and not to the application file. The program is very flawed. I previously used an earlier version and was very happy. Now this one is very dark and I can't change it.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Elements 10.
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HateBadDesign

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Human eyes read black letters on a white background well - that is why there are millions of books with this combination.

But for some obscure reason you render your interface with white letters on a black background, something which is hard for me (and probably millions of potential users) to read.

So unless Adobe specifically has set down to discriminate against millions of people, this is something they should fix NOW. Not next week, NOW.

(Shouldn't take more than a few minutes anyway)

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop Elements 10 needs color change of UI.
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Karen Jones

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Black on white would be fine, if that were the case in Photosop Elements 8. The colors are thin black letters on dark grey. Even after my eye surgery and new glasses it's hard to see.

If it took 2 years for there IT Department to change the colors then I suggest they get new programmers.
ksjonesy
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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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»If it took 2 years for there IT Department to change the colors then I suggest they get new programmers.«
One is perfectly justified in voicing one’s requests for changes and features in an application, but one might want to exercise restraint when making assumptions about the accomplishments or worth of people who do work one may or may not be able to comprehend or appreciate.
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Barbara L

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This is a very good point.
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Thomas K

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I just installed Elements - and ran smack into the dark interface. Aside from the fact that it's just stupid to not allow users to adjust the interface theme, like pretty much all software does today, the fact is, dark backgrounds don't work for many older eyes like mine. The overwhelming dark background makes the little white or light bits cause a similar effect as looking at a light bulb for a few seconds, and then looking away. Nothing better than trying to design something, when you can't see part of your own screen for minutes at a time.

Look, the only reason I paid any money to you today at all, is because I couldn't find anything else that can open all my old PSD files. And I only bought Elements, because it's literally the only Adobe PhotoShop-like product I've ever seen that is less than $100.

I'm a long time PhotoShop user, and have paid full price for the full version a few times before (at every company, and for myself). But this is it for me, Adobe. The world of software has changed, and you keep missing the bus. $500 software is out. Bloated 2.5 Gig installers are ridiculous. An interface for designers, that can't be changed or customized... Am I the only person to see the irony in that?
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Mike Chamberlain

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No, you're not the only person. But Adobe's software designers are truly experts at designing user interfaces. They're so good at it that they decided that all the vast amount of research that Microsoft and others have put into the Windows user interface, which resulted in its becoming a universal standard, was worthless. They knew better. Their designers are all 25-year-old geeks with 20/20 vision, so they developed a user interface which is perfect for their own kind, and which cannot be modified to suit individual requirements - such as short-sightedness. No doubt the geeks all think that anyone who is shortsighted must be a useless cripple and shouldn't be using their software anyway.

What I find extraordinary about this thread - which has been going on for well over a year: most of the old comments have been deleted - is that as far as I can see, at no point has anyone from Adobe actually apologised for the blundering fools who designed the grey-on-grey interface. They keep making vague noises about how maybe it'll be fixed in a future release (which of course you'll have to pay for). But the fact is that their decision a few years ago to switch to an interface which is unuseable for most people over 45, or for younger people with less than perfect vision, was discriminatory.

Of course it's always possible to say: "well you didn't have to buy their product if you didn't like it" - and in fact, I didn't buy it: I tried and discarded Elements 9, and then again Elements 10. And I won't buy 11 or 12 until and unless they fix this. But I do believe Adobe are abusing a position of power as the dominant software developer for photography enthusiasts. And their refusal to issue in immediate fix, and to make everyone wait instead for a future release that may never come, is disgraceful.
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Chris Cox

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Only off topic comments (and other violations of the terms of use) have been deleted. The rest are hidden because GetSatisfaction can't display a topic this long. GetSatisfaction is supposed to be working on a solution for that - but we have no ETA.

Um, no - nobody has apologized for the XD folks who designed the bad UI in Elements. I do wish they had consulted with experts on UI design or human vision before shipping it.

Photoshop CS6 already has a customizable UI darkness/lightness -- which you can take a look at in the Photoshop CS6 trial version if you like.

And the Elements team has said that they heard your concerns, and are working on solutions (see the official response at the top). But we cannot discuss unannounced versions of software.
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Thomas K

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Ugh... I also posted this comment before actually diving in to Elements, using it to open and edit a PSD file I created in PhotoShop just a few months ago.

Unfortunately, this file contains layers which are grouped.

It's only now, after spending this much time looking for a way to edit just one PSD on my new Mac, without spending hundreds on another Full copy of PS (because I bought all Windows previously), that I've discovered one pretty significant functional issue with Elements. Not a bug, just a really dumb limitation:

In Elements you cannot edit or access individual layers within a group (which is pretty much how all good PS files are organized by designers).

Now I'm spending more hours looking for Actions written by third-party vendors (more money), which might solve my problem... but so far, they're not working.

Anyway, just going back to basics here: Adobe, don't tell me I can open PSD files, if I really can't do anything with them.
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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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Quote: »Anyway, just going back to basics here: Adobe, don't tell me I can open PSD files, if I really can't do anything with them.«
You seem to be stating that Photoshop Elements can indeed open psd-files – so Adobe did not make false claims but you made incorrect assumptions.
The concept of »due diligence« would indicate testing a program before buying it to assess whether the features meet the need.
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Ruth hope

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I am really disappointed: I cannot see the writing-- the font is far too small and the contrast with the dark background is totally inadequate.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Cannot see the instructions.
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Marcia Norman

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Contrast on the User Interface is so poor that it takes the fun out of using it. What product is your largest competitor?

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
PSE Application Contrast.
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jean batstone

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I'm am using a trial of pse 10, I am so glad I haven't purchased it yet. I love the program but sadly reading grey on black is a real strain on my eyes.

If Adobe thinks grey on black is such a good idea how come this forum is black text on white background?
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Mary Kiss

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I just installed PSE 10. A copy I received free with the purchase of a scanner. I'm glad that I did not pay for it. The black and grey is very hard on my eyes!! I can't even see the search box in the organize screen because it is as black as the box it is nestled in!

I have been a user of Photoshop for a very long time -- the organizer was a stand alone product. I have upgraded every other year or annually if I found a good deal. I did not have PSE 9. I've recommended the program to numerous friends over the years.

While I love the capabilities of the program, I find that the dark background (black/grey) is so hard on my eyes that I have to stop working. I don't think I'll be recommending anyone to upgrade from previous versions until this is fixed. I won't be upgrading again until this is fixed. I had hoped it would've been after the complaints about this in PSE 9.
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Daniel OBrien

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Funny you all want to Blame someone or something else for the PROBLEM that the UI is NOT USER FRIENDLY i have A.S. and i need to be able to change the colors because, a lot of the times the UI hurts my eyes. I have Abnormal Optic attachments of the nerves in my eyes ... WHO CAN I BLAME FOR THAT? i would think they would make it so you can Change it.. After all it is a Graphic program is it not? It is like having drinking water you cant put into another container to drink...
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Linda Minton

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I posted my review on CNET as well, giving it a 3 out 5 stars because of the awful U.I. visibility.

http://download.cnet.com/Adobe-Photos...
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Linda Minton

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Re: my link above, you will need to click on the "Average User Rating" stars in order to see all the reviews.)
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Mary Lou Frost

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I strongly encourage you to correct the problem with the current Elements interface. It is too dark to easily read. Using my copy for an extended period causes serious eye strain. In earlier versions, in the Preferences, it was possible to make adjustments in the interface brightness. Please bring back a way for people to use this program with greater "eye ease". I teach classes of Elements students and would be willing to beta test changes.

Mary Lou Frost
mlfrost@verizon.net

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Elements Interface Changes for the next edition.
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halmo1927

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PSE version 11 just came out. Downloaded and installed the 30 day Trial version this morning. WOW! What a difference. I can actually read everything on the user interface without squinting. The layout has been changed quite a bit and will require some getting used to, but at first glance and doing a trial edit of a couple of pictures, it all looks pretty logical. Tentatively, it looks like most of the problems raised in this forum have been solved. However, I resent having to pay about $80 for the upgrade which should have been a patch to the miserable interface of versions 9 and 10. How about increasing the upgrade discount to about $50, resulting in an upgrade being about $50. At that price I would buy the upgrade immediately. What say, Adobe.
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Philip Goddard

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(weary sigh!) -- Well, thank goodness that the necessary changes have at last been made - but of course it is just as I foresaw - Adobe still shows no recognition that they had wronged their PSE users in the first place by taking away basic UI legibility, and that they have a responsibility towards their customers to fix the problem free of charge as any even half-decent software vendor would - and so they use their rectifying of their original massive blunder simply as a means to get more money out of their customers. I am thoroughly sick of the whole outlook and ethos of Adobe. It's just such a crying shame that in terms of functionality, intuitiveness and general speed of use, my extensive searches have found nothing that even closely matches PSE for my own purposes - and my explorations did include GIMP and the latest version of PaintShop Pro.
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Daniel OBrien

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Why should i pay to see what ui have already Paid for one time? You lack the ability to make a FREE PLUGIN FOR ALL ADOBE PRODUCTS that allows the user to change the UI SO IT CAN BE SEEN? i should send it back to you and demand my money back!!! I CANT USE IT WITHOUT HURTING MY EYES...AND you want more money? WOW; NO WAY,This is something you should have always had and im not paying you for it. it is a tool i can not use like i want or need to.. and that i do not ever think ANYONE should have to pay for ... You set it out setup like a TRIAL and we have to pay more to get the full version. NO what you are doing is WRONG IN EVERY WAY!!! Hey, it may be a bit of a bite in the cashbook but WE PAY YOU and you will gain more fro a free change than you will from DEMANDING MONEY for that should be included... and then you change the UI so i have to learn more ??Come on this sounds like Microsoft all the way... I WANT A MAC and ill get one too. Pay so we can change it so it is harder to use and it LOOKS like something new YOU just have to learn where we have hidden the Added things... Sorry , But I have A.S. And the ability to see a Um... "NEW AND IMPROVED" Product and the "Change this add this and Charge more" .. IS TOO CLEAR. Wow Ya im Unhappy with your Company and ill not Give another Penny until you change the way you see the people that MADE YOUR COMPANY GREAT.. Without the artist you would be NOTHING. There are other Options out there tho, that are Geared towards the user...Why dont you lock your program up and make it a Pay as you go 100 bucks a year Se what happens then, In truth You do it now ...
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halmo1927

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The Organizer seems to be missing from the PSE version 11 trial download, or am I missing something? Also, is the Organizer included in the $79.99 Upgrade?
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Dan Smith

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Where did you get pse 11 from?

What operating system are you using?

If in the pse 11 editor you look down at the bottom left of the screen, there should be a button labeled Organizer.
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halmo1927

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I downloaded PSE 11, trial version, from the Adobe web site. Yes, there is a button labeled Organizer, it seems to be trying to open the Organizer, but it doesn't - after about 30 seconds, the opening organizer message just goes away.
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Chris Cox

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Please put new topics in a new topic. This discussion is not relevant to the topic at hand, and is likely to be missed because it is not related to this topic.
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Dan Smith

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halmo1927,

You don't see a welcome screen something like this?

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halmo1927

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No, I don't get this screen. In fact, the link in All Programs, in Windows 7, doesn't work. I need to go into the Windows Explorer and go into the Programs folder to get the file to open the Editor - in fact, I have pinned that file to the Start menu.
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halmo1927

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I don't know where to put it as it follows so closely to what this topic has been about for so many months. Anyway, my bad. Apparently I got a corrupted download. I downloaded the trial for a friend a couple hours ago and it was OK, including the organizer. I will redownload my copy. Is there a pse11 topic?
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Chris Cox

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No, this is not closely related at all. Please just create a new topic for new topics. Adding unrelated material to an existing topic just creates confusion, and may not get you much help.
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halmo1927

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I have started a PSE 11 download topic. But you seem to have an opinion different than mine and others about what is relevant here, including whoever promoted my initial comment about PSE 11 to the top of the list!
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Brett N, Official Rep

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There's a lot going on in your promoted post.

This thread is about the ease (or lack thereof) for reading the user interface of Photoshop/Photoshop Elements. Your promoted comment starts off talking about how much easier it is to use,which is exactly what we were going for! :)

However, download and install issues were not apart of that post, or are they subjects for this conversation. Please create new posts for such issues so that each issue can be dealt with individually and thus more efficiently.
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halmo1927

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This is a non-issue now since I discovered I must have had a corrupted download. I uninstalled, re-downloaded and installed the trial version. Everything is now OK.
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happy66

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I hate the light interface of Photoshop 11. They should of had a adjustment to set how light or dark the user liked it to be. Then everybody could be happy. My old eyes liked the relaxing darker UI. But it's back to the eye burning light gray. No hope for a darker setting. All of a sudden all the icons at the adobe website are changed. Now they look like Windows 8. Adobe should have let well enough alone. Why are they butt kissing Microsoft. Photoshop 11 is silly looking and childish. Why is everything so big? Was it made for a 8 year old kid. I'll stick with 9 or 7. Photoshop 7 was the best. Since Adobe is dropping Windows XP support, I'm dropping them. Expensive overhyped software.
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halmo1927

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You can change the background color of the workspace from white to black and most anything in between. You need an image in the workspace before you can do this, but once you set it, the color seems to stay. With an image in the workspace, right click in the workspace outside the image and select whatever workspace color you want. I happen to like black. I like the new color for the user interface outside the workspace much better that version 9 or 10. The contrast is better making items easier to read quickly. I suppose it might be nice if one could very those color somewhat, but I like what Adobe finally came up with. I don't think the icons are significantly larger than those in version 10 and they are easy to see. It is natural to rebel against the changed arrangement of the tools - most folks don't like change. But, after using version 11 a few nights ago to edit 25 pictures for my wife, I found that the new tool arrangement is quite logical and I am feeling that the work went faster with the new interface than with version 10 where I was constantly moving to get close to the screen to read the low contrast interface. As to looking like Windows 8, i beg to differ - I don't see much similarity. I don't think the new UI was made for an 8 year old kid, but maybe an 80+ year old "kid" like me. Just for a frame of reference, I have been doing digital image editing starting with Adobe PhotoDeluxe version 1 through all of PhotoDeluxe versions and then Adobe Photoshop Elements, versions 1 through 11. I have been teaching photo editing to seniors through all of those editing programs.