Customise the colours in Team Foundation Server 2013 Agile Planning Tools

If you want to customise the colours in Team Foundation Server 2013 Agile Planning Tools you need to download and edit the Process Configuration file that tells TFS how to configure many of the features in the Web Access.

There used to be two files in Team Foundation Server 2012 but this was confusing and the amalgamation to a single configuration file just made sense.

Figure: Colour coded Work Item Types are easy to distinguish

The colours that you pick will be displayed wherever a work item is displayed. Wither that is in a list or a card on one of the boards the same coloured bar will be displayed on the left. This really helps distinguish between them and highlights things like Bugs in a list of Product Backlog Items.

To configure this we need to first export (download) the existing processing configuration to a location we can find.

Once you have that we need to find and edit the colours and Paint as usual does not cut the mustard. You will need to know the hex value of the colours and that can be easily found if you use something like Paint.Net or where they let you pick colours.

Note These colours are 8 digit HEX as they include transparency. The first two digits are the setting for transparency and “FF” denotes fully visible.

If you open the XML and look for the “workitemcolors” element (no idea why they insist on spelling it wrong) you will find an entry for each of the Work Item Types available.

All we need to do is edit the colour codes and then import (upload) the process configuration again. Here I am going to change the PBI to Pink (#FF16D0) which has a value of FFFF16D0 with a secondary (faded) colour of FFFFD1D0.

Figure: Lovely pink PBI’s

And voilà you now have just what you always wanted… pink PBI’s.

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  • Johnny Yakoub

    Hi Martin,
    I wonder if it is possible to change the colour of a task on the task board depending on a field value in the task?

  • Steve Brailsford

    What do you mean they spelled workitemcolors wrong? How can you spell an xml element wrong?
    Next, it’s whether not Wither in your 3rd paragraph, unless you are causing colors to dry up and die. And if you think it’s wrong to not include a u in color, then you worry about too much my friend. Why add extra stuff that is not needed? Why complain about spelling when there is no absolute standard for spelling.

    • 🙂 There might not be a standard in the US, but the rest of the world uses the Queens English… and as with my previous statement it was a quip, not a complaint. You know… like and off hand joke…


    Either i’m looking at the wrong XML files, or I just do not have the option for the colors. I do not see anything with ‘WokItemColor’ anywhere.

    • Which version of TFS? This was introduced in 2013

      • BANNER

        Sorry, just upgraded from 2010 to 2013. MSF for Agile Software Development is most likely the current template. In another post yesterday, you recommended I start clean with Scrum, would that still give me this option?

        • If you use witadmin that comes with VS 2013 you will get the colours listed…