Icons: General Information
An icon is a specialized, graphical, miniature image for computers. It is
usually a standardized size and is used to represent different objects. An icon
may represent a single file or file type, different commands and even web-pages.
Icon-style images are widely used in web design as symbols representing links or
is a program for creating icons.
Icon and image: what's the difference?
Ordinary computer images are composed of pixels (bitmap images) or curves
(vector images). Popular image formats are: BMP, JPG, GIF, PSD, PNG, CDR, and
AI. Each format is used for different purposes. Images may be stored in any
resolution and size. In contrast to ordinary computer graphics, icons have
several defined sizes (e.g. 16X16, 32X32 etc.) and must be stored in one format:
.ico. The main difference between a standard image and an icon, is the ability
to use transparency as a background for icons.
Icon structure and color modes
An icon is a bitmap image with a transparent background which is saved in the
.ico format. Therefore, an icon may be created using any image editor (vector or
bitmap) and then simply saved in .ico format. AWicons allows you to create icons
with many special effects using our unique program features.
To satisfy the requirements of different screen modes and operating systems,
icons must be saved in several color modes and sizes. Windows XP has three defined
icon sizes: 48x48 pixels for display in Windows explorer (list mode), 32x32
pixels for desktop display and 16x16 pixels which are displayed in the taskbar.
Icon color mode is another important feature for creating quality icons.
Listed below are all color modes and popular icon sizes.
- 16x16: Displayed in taskbar, windows upper-left corner, detailed lists etc.
- 24x24: Displayed in Windows 2000/XP menus
- 32x32: Displayed in desktop, lists etc.
- 48x48: Displayed in Windows XP explorer and system lists etc.
- 64x64, 96x96, 128x128, 256x256: Displayed in Windows Vista explorer and system lists etc.
- Monochrome: Displayed by Windows if the screen is monochrome
- 16 colors: Displayed by Windows if the screen is 16 or 256 colors (recommended)
- 256 colors: Displayed by Windows if the screen is 16bits or True Colors (recommended)
- True-color and 32 bit: Displayed by Windows XP/Vista if screen is True Color or more (recommended)
How to create an icon file and library
The only standard Windows extension for icons is .ico and an icon must be saved
in an ICO file. One ICO file stores only one icon in different sizes and color
modes. To create a file containing several icons, an ICL (Icon Library) file
must be created. An Icon Library comes in handy when you need to store and
manage many icons.
allows you to create ICO files as well as ICL icon libraries, which are
standard and applied in all Windows versions.
In addition to icons, AWicons
lets you to create cursors. All color modes are
supported for cursors as well as 32-bit mode (for Windows XP/Vista use). Animated
cursors can be designed also!
To help you master the icon creation technique we have created this AWicons