Beards, Bytes and Brews

bytes of thought by Daniel Tucker

Customize workspace colors in VSCode

March 31, 2020 Tools

VSCode give you a lot of flexibility to override nearly every setting they offer. This come in handing for many reasons which users are finding daily. One of those very reasons I came across today; using title bar and status bar colors to visually differentiate my open VSCode windows.

Adapting your workspace color settings

First things first you will need to learn to explore the VSCode settings. You can open the settings in a number of ways.

  • ctrl + ,
  • cmd + ,
  • File -> Preferences -> Settings

After you have opened the settings you can search for setting by typing in the search box. For this exercise type color customization and a few results are going to come back. Before you select one make sure you have selected Workspace just below the search box. By selecting Workspace you are indicating that you are only wanting to make the setting changes for the current workspace and not your entire user.

Next you will select Edit in settings.json in the result titled Workbench: Color Customizations.

Time to now add in the settings. You will likely be left with the following starting point or something similar:

{
    "folder": [

    ],
    "settings": {

    }
}

Add your customizations to the settings section. Below is an example:

{
    "folder": [

    ],
    "settings": {
        "workbench.colorCustomizations": {
            "statusBar.background": "#053b00",
            "titleBar.activeBackground": "#053b00",
            "titleBar.activeForeground": "#cccccc"
        },
        "window.titleBarStyle": "custom"
    }
}

To explain, the settings we are updating above are the color of the bottom status bar background color

"statusBar.background": "#053b00",

and the window title bar background color and the text color.

"titleBar.activeBackground": "#053b00",
"titleBar.activeForeground": "#cccccc"

The last change we made was enabling the titleBar setting change which is saying we are using the "window.titleBarStyle": "custom" setting. Now this will not make the change to the title bar just yet.

For the title bar setting change to take for your current workspace you must change your user window setting to use the custom option rather than the native. To do this go back to the settings page ctrl + , or other way depending on your operation system. Then in the search type titleBarStyle and ensure you have selected User instead of Workspace. The setting change is a dropdown which should be selected native. Change it to custom and let VSCode reload.

You now have your custom setting enabled for your workspace. Congrats!

Inspiration and Credits