In their infinite wisdom, Microsoft's UX designers decided to center the title-bar text in Windows 8 (obviously looking to Windows 3.1 for their inspiration). I'm willing to put up with a lot of the recent changes, but this one is driving me mad.

Is there any way (built-in, or 3rd-party app) to change the title-bar text to be left-aligned?

  • Dupe over on SO: How to left align window title in Windows 8 / 2012? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 27 '13 at 16:16
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    Nope. That question is asking how, as a developer, they can change their (WPF) program to draw the title-bar with left-aligned text. My question is how, as a user, I can change all programs to draw the title-bar with left-aligned text. – ijprest Jan 27 '13 at 16:24
  • "Dupe" was the wrong word. "Related" is what I meant to put in. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 27 '13 at 16:27
  • I haven't tried this yet as I don't have Win 8 in front of me, but apparently running in Win XP compatibility mode will bring back the Win 7 title bar -- forums.stardock.com/441405. Or for a more permanent method, hacking the msstyles.dll might let you do that, maybe someone out there has done it. – trpt4him Aug 20 '13 at 18:59
  • @trpt4him It actually uses the Aero low-graphics title bar (ya know, when your "Windows performance" number isn't calculated and everything runs in low-spec, and your close, etc. buttons are all small and weird) from Vista and 7, minus the transparency. The style of it, that is. I think it's a bug/forgotten thing left over from Windows 7, because since it adds gradients compared to 8's style, it's probably more resource consuming this way. But anyway, the important part is that despite that, the title remains centered. (tried on Windows 8 Professional) – Ariane Aug 21 '13 at 5:20

WindowBlinds 8 by Stardock can do it.

Just select or design a theme that left aligns the text.

enter image description here

To flesh this out a bit more:

  • When you purchase a copy of WindowBlinds 8, you get the program SkinStudio bundled with it for free.
  • SkinStudio is a graphical user interface that allows you to customize or design a theme. You can base your theme off of an existing theme, including Windows 8's built-in/default theme, and then change specific things about it, including, quite relevantly, the alignment on the window title text.
  • You'll have to be a little patient and learn how SkinStudio works, but it shouldn't be that hard to do this.
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  • It sucks a little that you need to pay for the solution, but thanks a lot and congratulations for being the only one with a working solution. – Ariane Aug 27 '13 at 17:25
  • I actually tried the demo when WB8 was first released, but this seems like a really heavyweight solution since the only thing I want to change is the text alignment. I didn't try SkinStudio (did it come with the demo?), but all the built-in themes looked terrible, so I didn't buy it. I'll accept this answer (since there's no better solution)... but I'm really hoping somebody can some up with something simpler. – ijprest Sep 2 '13 at 1:35

I've found a partial fix, by hacking the default .theme file using Windows Style Builder. (Unfortunately, it's not a free tool. And you need the beta version from the forums for Win8 support.)

  1. Launch Windows Style Builder
  2. Search for CONTENTALIGNMENT using the search box (there's only three of them).
  3. Change the entries from "Left" to "Center".
  4. Test, then save and apply the theme.

Once the .msstyles/.theme file is saved, you should be able to use it without having WSB installed on the system.

This is only a partial fix because it only appears to work on windows that use the Ribbon control (e.g., Explorer, Mspaint, Wordpad, etc.). It doesn't seem to work on normal applications/dialogs (e.g., Calculator, Charmap, etc.).

I've tried a few other things with WSB, but haven't been able to coax it into doing what I want. I'm not well-versed in theme editing, though, so maybe someone else will figure it out.

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  • Have you finally succeeded in having the title bar left-aligned for all windows? – AbVog Jul 18 '16 at 16:49
  • Nope... but thankfully Microsoft's UX designers seem to have come to their senses in Windows 10 and left-aligned the caption again. – ijprest Jul 19 '16 at 17:29

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