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Guide to Converting Images into Windows or Mac Icons

Are you looking for a quick way to make any image in BMP, JPG or PNG format and convert it to Windows ICO icon? You can download many custom icon packs for Windows, but if you really want to personalize your computer, you can create an icon pack composed of the faces of your family members, for example!

Creating custom icons from your own images is a fairly straightforward process that in most cases requires you to reduce your photo to a suitable size. Windows icons are pretty tiny, so the first thing to understand is that your awesome widescreen beach photo will look tiny when converted to a 16×16 or 32×32 pixel icon!

Either way, this is something you can play with when creating a Windows icon. There are several ways to create an icon, the easiest of which is to use online tools. You can download the desktop program, but this is not necessary. I will also mention a program that you can use to create Mac icons, for which I was unfortunately unable to find an online tool.

Online tools

ConvertIcon is a free online tool to convert PNG, GIF, and JPG formats to ICO files. It does a fantastic job and has all the features you need. I was also surprised that there were no ads, pop-ups, or any other type of advertisements that you usually see on free services.

When you get to the site, click “Get Started” and you will be immediately prompted to upload your photo. Nothing else even loads other than a small window that looks like a dialog from OS X.

Go ahead and select your image and it will show you a sketch of it. You will have to edit the image before importing it because there are no crop or edit options on the website.

Also, you can only import one image at a time. Then click Export and you can choose different sizes for the ICO file, including 16×16, 24×24, 32×32, 48×48, 64×64 and a few others.

Once you have selected the dimensions, just click “Save As” and you’re done! It will download one ICO file of all sizes you choose. Then you can use this icon on Windows. For example, if you want to change the icon of a folder on your desktop to this new icon, just right-click the folder and select Properties. Go to the Settings tab and click the Change Icon button.

Click the Browse button and navigate to the folder where you saved the exported ICO file. Choose this and you’re done! Now you can even resize icons in Windows, and if you selected all sizes when exporting (which I would suggest) then the icon will automatically resize as well. Here’s an example from my desktop.

RW-Designer.com is another site that converts images to icons with no problem. Its interface is slightly different from ConvertIcon, but otherwise you can do the same. Click the Select File button, and then select one of the radio buttons. This site tries to make it a little easier by simply letting you choose which operating system you want to use the icons for. However, if you want specific dimensions, just enter them in the Custom Dimensions box. You can also create a favorites icon or a toolbar icon, which can be handy if you have a website.

Finally, if you want to create icons for OS X, you can download the free IMG3icns program. Just drag the image into the program interface and select the output to export as icons. They also have a pro version at the odd $ 3.90 price tag that allows you to export your iPhone favorites and icons, and also keeps a history of all exported icons.

As you can see, creating your own icons in Windows or OS X is very easy. If you have any questions about creating icons, or if you can’t replace the default icon with your own icon, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help. Enjoy!

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