Elements: A way to change the UI colors

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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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debbie borato

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Black and Grey may be part of the problem, however when fonts and icons are small, colors dont matter much. When this is FINALLY addressed, which should have been done a loooooonnnnnnng time ago, will there be available updates for all Photoshop programs FREE? Should be!!!
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debbie borato

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Mr. Adobe, I trailed a long way back, this issue has been going on too long. Looks like it ain't going to happen!!!!! Going to look for software I can READ, did you see that "READ"? Hope that wasnt too difficult on the eyes!!:{
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Dan Smith

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From what i've seen in the various previews put out by adobe on photoshop cs6,
the interface looks just as bad or worse than photoshop elements 10.
How can this be after all the complaints about not being able to see the photoshop elements interface, now we won't able to see the screen in photoshop cs6.

Yes i know photoshop cs6 has a "light" option that i guess is supposed to look like photoshop cs5, but from brief clip where they changed the option to light, you can clearly see there is not enough contrast, just like photoshop elements 7 using the light option.

Please tell me your (adobe) not going to ruin photoshop like you (adobe) have with photoshop elements!
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Dan Smith

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Well i downloaded the cs6 beta and i'm happy to say it's fine. I don't have any problems seeing the interface.

I hope the elements team will follow suite.

Sorry for the rant.
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debbie borato

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As an Elements user, that would be great.
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debbie borato

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I will be looking at Corel Paint Pro before I update or change up with Adobe. I dont think any one is listening at Adobe.
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C W

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I'd suggest going ever farther and making CS/PSE products look like every other window in the OS, instead of the custom Adobe GUI. The user has already established what they would like windows to look like for their operating system. I think that should at least be an option alongside the current Adobe GUI.
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Philip Goddard

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Yes, that is the most obvious common-sense! Any different colour schemes then would simply be optional extras for those who really want them.
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Sandy Hyman

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I TOTALLY AGREE!
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debbie borato

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I dont think they are listening or it would be taken care of by now. Adobe Photoshop no more!!!!!!!!!!! Until you listen to your subscribers
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Linda Minton

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Chris - Oh, I apologize. Since your posting name is followed by "(Employee)", I assumed that meant that you were an Employee. And since my remark was removed by an Employee named "Chris", I assume that was you who removed it, not some nameless moderator. And I will reiterate my original remark, that your reply to Sandy was rude and snarky, and that I would hope than a Photoshop Employee would have better customer relations training.

If my remark was "off topic", why are you pushing Photoshop CS6 (at many times the price) when this is a PSE forum? Since you brought it up, however, I just watched a free Photoshop CS6 beta video about the dark interface on Lynda.com.

It shows 4 levels of adjustment ... not a slider bar ... with two light-text-on-dark-background and two dark-text-on-light (but not white background). Here is the link to the video:
http://www.lynda.com/home/Player.aspx...

I hope you will allow this post to remain so that others can view this video, rather than having to download the entire CS6 beta in order to test the interface.
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Chris Cox

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I'm asking you to take a look at the solution we implemented in Photoshop. Photoshop Elements is based on Photoshop, and might eventually inherit the same fixes.

The public beta is free.

We made the fix you asked for, and you don't even want to take a look?
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Blaine Byers

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Linda - Thanks for the video link. I just looked at it and the lightest version would work for me, although I would prefer darkest black text on that light gray background, sort of like the text and light gray background in the comments area of this forum. Never the less I would buy a version of PSE with that change implemented as it is in the CS6 beta. Also, to those who prefer the dark background to eliminate any distractions - I have never been distracted from the image by any of the earlier versions of PSE with lighter interfaces. The last version of PSE I bought was version 9 (about the time this thread got really active), but I use version 5 as it is much easier to use that interface. And Chris, I think many of us do appreciate any posts from Adobe employees, official or unofficial, and hope it is not too many versions away from the changes in the CS6 beta.
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debbie borato

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Okay Chris, where do I find the solution you stated was implemented so I can try?
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Judy Illick

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I'd like to know too! Did you ever hear from them?
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Braunsky

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There should be a free, or every inexpensive upgrade to provide a more readable interface, available for everyone who purchased Premiere or CS5 with the hideous grey on black theme. As for enlarging the fonts, I tried that out of Win7 Pro, under personalize, then display, going to 125%. As a result, the top line of the PSE 9 controls (file, edit, find, etc...) disappeared and could not be scrolled to, found or accessed, thereby making PSE unusable.
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halmo1927

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This was said on 6/9/2011 in this forum:

"Brett N , an employee of Photoshop Family, commented on a reply in Photoshop/Elements: A way to change the UI colors, an idea about Photoshop Family.

The action is taking place behind the scenes. It takes a long time to completely revamp a product UI. It took 4 versions for Elements to get to it's current state. I'm not saying it will take that long to return to a point of control, but we can't just turn around and next day release a new interface, regardless of how many people request the change. But it is something that we are taking very seriously."

It is incredible that a company as old and with the experience of Adobe cannot merge one of its very good older UIs with the otherwise great improvements in the overall product in less than 9 months and counting. If you can adjust Brightness and Contrast and Lighten Shadows and Darken Highlights in images, why can't you fix your awful interface? I now have 399 comments in my email folder on this subject, and I didn't start saving them in the beginning. Please don't tell me I am not providing specifics - there are my and many other comments with specifics included in the 399 comments in my file.
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Chris Cox

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Please try the Photoshop CS6 public beta -- one of the features is that the UI brightness is adjustable.

And no, it is not so easy to merge much older versions of code -- the code changes quite a bit as we add new features and support for new OS versions. Also, such a change takes a significant amount of testing and bug fixing (there's a LOT of UI in Photoshop).
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Ken

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Oh, please, please tell the development team not to waste their time on that or on junking up the PSE code with unnecessary UI variations. Keep the PSE codebase as lean and mean as possible!

I'd much rather have the development effort focussed on fixing bugs and adding enhancements than making a truly excellent UI slow and possibly worse by introducing bugs.

In case anyone is wondering, I'm not being facetious -- see my posts earlier in this discussion.

Ken
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Vince37mr

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Somewhere in PSE and CS there must be a file/database containing the pixel images of all the characters used in the UI. As an ex-software programmer and designer latterly specializing in human-factors of various interfaces - screen design, paper reports, forms, I know the value of modular code that can easily be changed. So where in the Adobe products are the proprietary bit-maps which contribute to the illegibility of the products? It shouldn't be too hard to substitute a suitable Microsoft or other bit-map font or a TTF.
I'm more than a little surprised that no-one has reverse-engineered the relevant part(s) of one of the products by now.
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Chris Cox

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No, it's not that simple at all.
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Colin Douglas

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I've looked at the video outlining the UI in CS6
http://www.lynda.com/home/Player.aspx...

Dark text on grey is the lightest of 4 options - I don't believe that is the fix that was asked for.

How about something along the lines of this forum - BLACK text on a WHITE background.
Please, please, please. Colin
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Philip Goddard

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I myself have just looked at the video, and, just speaking for myself, although I find the Adobe developers' continuing aversion to a really light interface background a bit bizarre, as far as I can see, the lightest option would be perfectly workable for me, even though, I think, not 100% ideal. Actually I myself would not ask for an actual white background, for that could get a little tedious on the eyes. I think usually when we get a UI background that we perceive as 'white' it is actually a very light grey - just somewhat lighter than the grey of the new Photoshop's lightest option.

As for text, once it's on a light background it does need to be black and not simply 'dark'.
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C W

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Well, PS 6 certainly appears to be a great program, and the color can change, but it still uses its own UI instead of the Windows default. This is an annoyance, but clearly not a deal-breaker. Photoshop doesn't really have any competition (that I've encountered) when it comes to heavy-duty image work. Making up your own UI scheme won't prevent me from buying your software, but I honestly just don't understand the decision. Is it so that the OSX and Windows versions look the same? If so, is there a lot of crossover in your user base?

It doesn't play nice with stuff like Ultramon, since it expects windows to appear as chosen by the user, but ultimately that just ends up causing some swearing and posts like this. Maybe I'm the one person in the world who uses the Windows Classic theme on Windows 7, software like Ultramon, and Adobe CS.

Now I *would* like to see support for large Fax4 TIFFs, but that's another thread. :P
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Sharon G

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I looked at the video and downloaded the CS6 beta.

The ability to change the shades of gray and black is somewhat of an improvement, but it really doesn't address my original concerns when I started this topict so many months ago. "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."

Elements 4 has black text on white in the menu bar on the top and a much lighter gray left sidebar behind the icons. Having white backgrounds and black text as an option along with the two columns of colored icons and the ability to custom pick the canvas background color would probably do it for me and hopefully everyone else.

The programmers at Adobe have done a fantastic job with CS6. I've looked at several of the new features in the beta and it is incredible what can easily be done to improve an image. Camera Raw improvements and content aware move are awesome. If just a fraction of that expertise could be applied to the interface of Photoshop Elements I think it would truly make a difference.
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Barbara L

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To Ken: There are way too many people who do not see the UI of PSE the way you apparently do. The low contrast in colors and tiny font size makes it nearly an unusable program for many, many people; especially those of us with high resolution monitors.
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Ken

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I'm not buying the comments about the PSE10 UI being "too low in contrast". If you measure the luminance values of the white text and the dark gray backgound, then measure the same luminance values of your favourite "bright" UI, you'll see that there's no significant difference in contrast.

I'm also not buying the "way too many people hate it" comments. The fact is that there are all of 55 people who agree with this discussion's original message. Compare that to the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of customers who are happily using PSE since the dark UI was introduced. Like it or not, the complainers are in an almost invisible minority.

The size of the text is another issue altogether. I've seen comments elsewhere that MicroSoft's recommended best practices of coding for Windows includes allowing for larger screen fonts being set in the system preferences. If that's true, then coding PSE to accommodate those larger screen fonts would seem to be necessary.

Ken
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Dan Smith

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Some people, like myself, have a hard time distinguishing things when the colors are so similar. (it's an eye disorder in my case)

They may look fine to you, but for me, if there's not a lot of contrast or the colors are not clearly different, then it doesn't matter how large the text is, i have a very hard time reading it.
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Dan Smith

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I use pse on a mac. If the elements interface was like the rest on the mac system, i would not have a problem.
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Dan Smith

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Like photoshop cs3 or photoshop elements 2 on a mac.
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halmo1927

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I have downloaded and installed CS6 Beta. The ability to change the background color on the Toolbar column and the menu bar is great. However, the text size on the menu bar is quite small and I have to lean into the screen to use it. I thought I had adjusted the text size, but it didn't work, even after I closed and reopened Photoshop.. That said, the text size on the dropdown menus for each main menu item are larger and OK for me. I would like to be able to separately control the color of the menu/tool bar backgrounds and the main workspace, for example, I like the menu/toolbar background the lightest gray with the dark black text, but I would like the image workspace to have a black or dark gray background, instead of having a single color scheme control the whole page. My screen size is 1280x1024 and the text and toolbar tool icons are all too small and I can see reasonable well, for an old man. I would hate to be using an even higher resolution screen - the icons would be miniscule.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hi halmo.

In Photoshop CS5 or the CS6 beta, and even Photoshop Elements, with a document open, you can right click in the image canvas area to set the image background to any preset or arbitrary color you want:

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halmo1927

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I tried that in CS6 Beta and it doesn't work - the right click gets no response. I know it works in PSE9.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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You need to have a document open and click in the area outside the canvas.
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Patricia Torbert

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I had already tried that, but I tried again. The result was the same - nothing happened. When you say "document", I am supposing that a jpg file will do.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Can you post a screen shot of your entire screen so we can see where you're clicking to maybe gather more clues:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Patricia Torbert

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I have a screen shot I can send, but how do I send it?
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Follow the directions in the link following link:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

You can post it in a reply right on this thread.
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Patricia Torbert

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Patricia Torbert

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Red arrow indicates placement of cursor arrow. And thanks for all of your replies.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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K. yeah that looks right - in terms of where you should be right-mouse clicking for the context menu. I'm out and of the office away from a PC to try this. Looks like you're on vista or win7?
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Patricia Torbert

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Windows XP
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Patricia Torbert

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Jeffrey, did you forget about me?
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J Hok

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I still have PSE 5 on my new Windows 7 PC (which works fine) but I was thinking it was time to upgrade to PSE10
I was just about to press the buy button on Amazon and buy a new copy of PSE 10,
but on reading some of the feedback about the UI , I installed the trial version to see what the fuss is about.
And now I see - light on dark just doesn't work for me - I just can't see it, and get stresed even looking at it.
I don't know if it's a generational thing or a cultural thing amongst current devleopers or a lack of understanding of the user base , or a lack of understanding of the whole concept of accessibility

I thought, do I need the Filter, Texture, Craquelure feature or a UI that I can work with - it's the UI (spoken after 25 years of working in IT Development)

And as the generation that pays for the properly licenced versions I think I'll stick with my PSE5 untill it's resolved

(I could live with the CS6 beta preview UI lightening option - that may make me pay my $120)
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halmo1927

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I found a very good price, so bought and installed PE 10. The interface is very slightly improved, to my eyes. The type font on the menu line is pretty small, the same size as PE 9, but I can read it. The slight improvement is that the font color seems to be a slightly brighter white that it is in PE 9.

But the improvement is hardly noticeable in this pair of screen clips.
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Judy Illick

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Has anything been done so that users of Photoshop Elements 9 can change the menu color (black, black) and font size (tiny,tiny and light)? Very hard to work in and I am very frustrated in trying to use this product - please, please, please HELP!!!!! If nothing is going to be done, then I also want to return this product.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Elements: Frustrated with tiny fonts and lots of black!!.
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Marsha Adelseck

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I've been using Photoshop 6 for a couple of years now and absolutely hate the dark gray font on black. It's exasperating, and just pathetic that apparently nothing has been done to rectify the problem. There was no such problem with PhotoShop 5, from which I "upgraded", so a fix must be doable. I just decided to check to see if I was missing something and that missing some kind of setting. Now I see that this problem has been under consideration for a year or so. I'm about ready to go blind from this and can't imagine how any designer could not foresee the problem. As the person above says, Please please help!!!!!!!!! this is ridiculous!
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Chris Cox

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Neither Photoshop 5 or Photoshop 6 have a dark UI.

Are you talking about Photoshop CS5 and CS6 (aka Photoshop 12 and 13)?

In Photoshop CS6, the UI brightness is a preference.
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Marsha Adelseck

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Thanks for responding. Sorry, in past years I've just spent hundreds and hundreds of hours restoring old prints and slides. I'm not even sure what a "UI" is. I do have Photoshop 6 and would have upgraded to 9, but then 10 came out and it didn't seem to have much to offer over 6. Anyway, my main headings (fonts) are light against dark, but the pull down slider for the cloning tool is so hard to see and that's what I use constantly. Other of the pull downs seem like they could be much clearer (contrast). Can you see what I'm referring to? Is there not way to fix this? Thanks again for any feedback.
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Chris Cox

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UI = User Interface

Are you talking about Photoshop Elements? That's a different product from Photoshop, with a different version number as well...
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Marsha Adelseck

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Wow, you're amazing in responding. Yes, it's P. Elements. I have no idea as to the difference.
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Vince37mr

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Marsha, go back to PSE5 if you still have it. PSE10 is current version and we're still waiting for a UI as good as PSE5.
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Marsha Adelseck

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That's not a solution. I upgraded to 6 for a reason and would have gone to 9 or 10, but too many problems. I believe there are some features on PSE 6 that are not on PSE 5 or I would not have upgraded. It's beyond me why you cannot duplicate the UI from PSE 5. What are you waiting on?

I did not find on a trial run that the features promoted for PSE 9 worked that well and then, shortly thereafter, PSE 10 came out. I decided to stick with what I have ruining my eyes with the horrible Ul.
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John Kaminski

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I just bought and installed PSE 10. In my room, I cannot see the black on gray text and check boxes. Could you please provide a patch to simply make all the gray background another colour. It cannot be that difficult to patch at least the menu colours.

John
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Len Welch

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Poor guy! I'm sorry to have to be one of the one to tell you this, but apparently (just read this thread) Adobe is either not able or not interested in improving the UI of this product!

Even their tutorials on it are unreadable, because the drop-down menus in them show the ugly UI! PSE has become a joke among once-interested/potential users.

And they've had a year to get it fixed!
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Len Welch

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one of the ones
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halmo1927

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over a year!!