NEUTRALS for Bento.

UPDATE 2: Filemaker has released Bento 4.0.2 which fixes the problem.
UPDATE: There are serious problems with Bento 4 causing crashes and failure to open the application. I would advise to wait before upgrading or trying the demo version (which updates the database to a format that can no longer be read by previous versions).

I’ve been using Bento for both business and home use since version 1. It’s not the most flexible application in the world but it does what I need. Today Filemaker announced the release of their usual yearly upgrade: Bento 4. If you’re interested in a full review you can read one over at BentoUsers.


The big change in this version is the addition of label printing - which for me will make it worth the upgrade price. I’m not crazy about the trickling of features in each update but that’s another story.


There’s one thing I never liked about Bento though: the visual themes. Or rather the lack of a professional, not pink-or-blue-with-bubbles-and-gradients-from-hell theme. To be fair, there are a few more subtle ones included but there’s always something that bugs me - the font, or the background… or something.


So back in 2008 when Bento 2 came out and Filemaker offered downloadable Theme Packs I figured, hey… If they can do it maybe I can too. So I retro-engineered one of their Theme Packs by figuring out what were basically xml files and assets and created NEUTRALS, a less candy-stripped kiddy looking Bento environment. To my eyes anyway.


I did it for myself and for my sanity (!) but decided to give it away to anyone who was interested. I’ve never advertised it or kept statistics on the downloadable file but over the years I’ve received several emails thanking me for creating the themes. So I guess they’ve been somewhat useful for others as well.


This morning I downloaded the Bento 4 demo and my NEUTRALS Theme Pack still works and installs perfectly. So I revamped the download page and moved it to a more consistent URL (the old one links to the new version but I’ll be deprecating my old next year).


To make a long story short: click here if you’re a Bento user and your eyes are hurting ;)