Windows

Create your own Windows XP icons in Paint

Feeling creative? You can make your very own icons for your shortcuts with Windows XP's built-in Paint program. Here's how to paint yourself some new icons without having to clean brushes afterward.

Are you tired of searching the Internet for icons to use for your shortcuts? Then check out how easy it is to use Windows XP's Paint program to create your own icons. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch Paint from the All Programs | Accessories menu.
  2. Pull down the Image menu and select the Attributes command.
  3. In the Attributes dialog box, type 32 in both the Width and Height boxes and click OK.
  4. To make the image easier to work with, click the Magnifier tool and select the level 8 magnification setting.
  5. Press [Ctrl]G to add gridlines.
  6. Use the tools and colors to create your icon.
  7. Press [Ctrl]S and save the file with an ICO extension.

You can now assign your custom icon to any shortcut you wish.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

31 comments
franl155
franl155

I'm severely visually impaired and have a heck of a job distinguishing standard Windows icons - there's only five or siz that I can tell the difference between, and as i need about twenty shortcuts on my desktop, each with a very different icon, this caused a certain amount of nose-on-screen to try to find the icon that i wanted. Just occured to me to see how hard it would be to make my own; did a Google, yours was the third, and the first that didn't involve vectors and drop shadows and having a degree in PC-nerdiness. So I tried it, and it worked - first time! Now I can create ALL my own icons, with bold colour contrasts and simple designs that can be identified at more than three inches. You've saved me a lot of back pain and headaches. thank you! Only prob: I forgot to take note of the Paint Image Attributes, to reset the sheet back for other use! clue, please? then i can keep a blank icon-sized image as the template for future icons without having to change the Attributes again.

amakajaku
amakajaku

wow... now I can make my crush' picture my icon... YES!!! Thanks people!

bobbi.gold
bobbi.gold

I was successful in creating an icon, but now MS Paint opens without some very important tools. For example, I've lost the magnifier tool and the options for a transparent and opaque background, and it opens with a 32x32 white space. How can I restore Paint to its original state?

mike
mike

It is nice to create an icon but is there a way to make the space between the image and the balance of the border transparent so I do not have a square icon pic on white or color?

Round One from VA
Round One from VA

Talk about a terrible tool. Almost any program is better than Paint, although Paint is part of the Office suite. Yuck!

bproman
bproman

Create your won icon. Excellent. Merry Christmas. Has the Santa Icon been painted by anyone other than the Coca Cola icon. Ho. Ho. Ho. Goes good with an assortment of liquids. Mix. Yum. Yum. I need some. Tiss the season to be jolly. La. la. la. la. la. la. la. la. Spirits. A wine, shots, the party. Ah. The games. The joy. The good times. Merry Christmas.

MentorCtl
MentorCtl

Try IrfanView. It's free, and available at http://www.irfanview-center.com/ It will allow you to designate a color as transparent when saving a file as a .ICO Great for viewing and translating formats -- not for creating graphics! Happy New Year!

tonious
tonious

Paint yuks, but Paint.net yums. Try it! It's free. I'm using it more and more, in comparison to Photoshop.

NoGeekHere
NoGeekHere

Paint is part of the OS not the Office suite.

ThumbsUp2
ThumbsUp2

Paint is part of a standard Windows install. It has nothing to do with the Office Suite. Guess it's obvious that it's been a long time since you've done a standard install.

Hobbits
Hobbits

i have been using the little paint progam to creat icons in window since i had an old p2 266 and useing windows me. wasnt hard to di but you are not limited to 32x32. i use the 79x79 for most of mine as i cab get in a bit more detail. there are a few 130x130 icons too. thats is about as big as you want to go then you start losing detail and it looks like a smudge. i use paint to convert small photos snippets in to icons too. and i use thoe for files i make and save for friends. paint is little but has more power in it that most would even think. copy paste resize invert color and i can go one i have over a hundred icons created in paint. just keep then under 130x130pixels andput then in a fiolder called icons in the user documents and settings folder then you have them ready to grab when you do a change

FXEF
FXEF

Any paint program will create an icon image. The secret is to us 32X32 and save in bitmap format with a .ico extension.

Studwell44
Studwell44

If you want to use a real logo or picture instead of creating a new one in paint, it can be done. Open the file in paint, adjust it down to 32x32 by cutting a piece you want to use or by using the Strech/Skew under the Image tab. When you save it, name it with the .ico and make sure when you save it, select 24-bit bitmap. Again, 1. save with extension .ico in the file name and 2. 24-bit bitmap in the file type.

deICERAY
deICERAY

there is no ".ico" extension available in WinXP Home SP2 that I can find!

kattoon
kattoon

I always new you could do more with Paint then most people thought. I used to do all my artwork in Paint (with a mouse) before I got photoshop and a drawing tablet. But my work was never as complex and amazing as this person's work. They are truly an ArTIst! ---Imagine what Leonardo DaVinci COULD do with fingerpaints!

Computer Mechanic
Computer Mechanic

Sounds like you can do a great deal with very little. Sorta like your english, typing, puncuation, spelling and useage. Try studying some of those for awhile, who knows, you might get a good job with Microsoft.

Computer Mechanic
Computer Mechanic

Sound like you can do a great deal with very little. Sorta like your english, typing, puncuation, spelling and useage. Try studying some of those for awhile, who knows, you might get a good job with Microsoft.

kevinp.moran
kevinp.moran

thanks worked great open any picture with paint skew/resize 24x24 save as 24 bit with .ico extension folderproperties change icon browse select image just saved apply good to go

daleerice
daleerice

No .ICO extension here either.

jedtimmer
jedtimmer

How true, Computer "Mechanic"; same sentiments here. Ain't much of a mech or tech myself but guess I should warn you, someone is bound to say "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones". Right? Huh! Sounds like you can do a great deal with very little. Sorta like your english, typing, puncuation, spelling and useage. Try studying some of those for awhile, who knows, you might get a good job with Microsoft. Posted: 12/23/2006 @ 13:25 ----------- For ex: "Huh?!" Sounds like you can do a great deal with very little. Sorta like your *English*, typing, *punctuation*, spelling and *usage*. Try studying some of those for *a* while*;* who knows, you might get a good job with Microsoft (who knows, he might do better than some of the ars_h_les there for last 20 yrs). Posted: 01/07/2007 @ 09:07 Sorry; couldn't resist... Pls forgive.

jonpgenius
jonpgenius

Thanks for your kind advice! I would have loved to have a life with your high intelligence capabilities. But sadly to say :( I was bitten by a ground ratter at the age of three and the Doctor who live to two streets over spent 10 minutes looking in a book to "refresh his knowledge" on how to treat me. Meanwhile my nervous system was being distroyed. Anyway, after ten minutes my fater drove me to a hospital 30 miles for there and that saved my life. The whole thing left me retarted and I can bearly do every day tasks now. I bet you read alot of books! I'm over fifty years old now and you should see how far I come. I'll give you some advice on how Ive mad it so far. Live healthy and you'll live long, God willing! By living longer you should get smarter and It sure looks like you've got more to learn. Happy Hollidays to you and the "Doctor form my old neighborhood" and Chrles Darwin too because he thinks we all come from the same slim pool!

MuhdNurHidayat
MuhdNurHidayat

It doesnt functioning in windows 7's paint, i must select the formats provided!

Studwell44
Studwell44

Got it to work. I agree that better programs are available to create ICO images, but for just an icon this is cool for now.

NoGeekHere
NoGeekHere

I just created a test.ico and saved to My Documents\My Picture folder. I then opened the properties of one my shortcut and select Change Icon... the file initially wasn't visible until I change the settings to ALL FILES. I selected the test.ico and OK to saving the change. Works fine! However, there are better program to help create ICO images.

Studwell44
Studwell44

I saved the icon to a folder on my desktop. It has the extension ico and it says its an Icon when you view details on the folder. When I secect properties on the shortcut and go to change the icon of say a folder shortcut, it points to a specific place with many standard icons to choose from. When I browse to the place I saved my icon and try to select it, I get a messages saying it contains no icons. What step did I miss? I have tried a few times and still get this. Do I need to save it to a specific location?

iansavell
iansavell

Just type ".ico" on the end of the filename when you save the file. However, you can't get a decent icon from Paint because you can't control transparency. There are several freebie icon editors available for download, any of which will do a better job.

NoGeekHere
NoGeekHere

Just add the .ico extension after the file name and save. It is not a selectable option. I hope that helps!

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