Recently I was at a conference and was struggling to see some Visual Studio code on the large screen. As I age, I find myself trying to sit in the front of most talks if I need to see the screen. In this talk, the speaker was using the default dark theme in VS, and it was hard to read the C# code. It often doesn’t matter if I can’t read code, after all, I’m not coding during the talk, but I do like to try and follow along as the person is talking.
I’ve had the same issues with presentation templates. Some companies seem determined to stand out with a colored template for their event, and as they try to differentiate themselves, some will invariably use darker colors for a background. I’ve run into more than a few of these where they look fantastic on a monitor but are barely readable on a projector.
A few days later I ran across a post from Aaron Bertrand on using dark settings for SSMS. At first I thought that was a bad idea, and I debated this with a few people. I even asked a quick Twitter poll, with most people responding they preferred a light template, but only a few people responded. I decided to seek a little wider audience and see what others think.
What colors are easier for you to see when someone presents? Do you prefer lighter backgrounds or darker ones? I know we all want higher contrast between the foreground and background, but as we add in code coloring and other elements, what do you prefer when you’re watching something on a screen larger than a monitor?
I do need to experiment a bit, and as Aaron suggested, blog about my settings. Mostly so that I have a copy of them that I can easily find on new VMs and machines. I don’t think dark backgrounds are better on projectors, but I haven’t really experimented. Let me know what you think, and perhaps I’ll have a whole new look for you later in the year as I present in the fall.