Monday, 22 April 2013

Easy Way To Create Icon Files

Icon files are tiny images used to visually represent an item, a web shortcut, a program or anything that are in a PC's desktop. This type of file with ico extension, although tiny,  is not easily created using windows native image application, like paint. So how could we make one? Before I answer that question, I think the question what's the reason to make our own icon needs to be answered first.

In my case, I want to make my own icon to personalize my computer. All icons in the desktop can be changed with something that is available in the system. But if you fancy a personalized one that is not available within, then you need to make one.

A deeper reason for me to change this is to simplify things on my desktop and to distinguish each item easily specially the web shortcuts. Because when you create a web shortcut, the icon that is used will be that of the default web browser's icon.  For example, if you assign internet explorer as your default, all of the icons of  the shortcut will be that of IE's. If you have 10 shortcuts with the same icon, then it is hard to distiguish which one is which.

Create an icon file

The ebay shortcut above has the default browser's icon and same is true with all of the web shortcuts. To make life easier, I would like to change the icon into an ebay logo for easier distinction. In this case, I do not have a ready image so I need to download it from the internet. The downloaded file is still in png, bmp, or jpg format. These formats can not be used as icons.

The easiest way to create an icon file is to use an online image file converter. In this post I used

 Just go to the site, upload a photo, then export it as an icon file by adding .ico at the end of the file name.

Then I navigated to  Click Get Started and select your downloaded image from the pop up window.  Click open to put the image in the site's conversion window.

Here's the tricky part, which size to choose. In this example, I've tried the original size but it turned out to be unreadable. So I used 32 x 32 which went without a problem..

 And make sure that you add the format extension "ico" as you name the file. In this case the whole filename and format extension is ebay.ico. Do not forget to type " . "(period) between the file name and the extension "ico". Otherwise it will not be converted. As usual, I saved the newly created file on my desktop.

Replace the desktop icon image

Once you've created the icon you like, you can now right click (1) on the shortcut, click properties(2), change icon(3), browse (4)

Then go to the location of the icon file(5) you've just created, open(6), OK(7), Apply(8) then OK(9) 

You can further personalize all of the icons in your desktop, web shortcuts or programs,  using your creation or system icons. This makes your PC or laptop show your personality or simply to make your desktop icons interesting. 

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