5 Ways to Create a Windows Icon

Creating an image file is easy, but save it as a Windows icon file may be a little tricky. We've rounded up 5 different methods to create an icon with free utilities, just read along.

Microsoft Windows usually uses an image file in ICO fromat to visualize a file in Explorer, however, nither Adobe Photoshop nor MS Paint offers you the ability to create an icon directly. To create an icon, you'll need third-party utilities.

1, Using an Online PNG to ICO Converter

Converting the image in PNG( or jpg, gif ) format to ICO format with an online application( for example, ICO Convert ) might be more efficient if you do not have a large quantity of icons to convert, an online conversion tool always allows you to perform the conversion task without registration and downloading any software, you can use any Internet browser in any operationg system to visit the web app.

On ICOConvert.com, you can combine multiple PNG images into a single icon, split icons into images, or create an icon in circle or heart shape with ease.

2, Using Adobe Photoshop and the "ICO FORMAT" Plugin

Adobe Photoshop does not allow to open, edit or save an ico file directly, but with the assistance of a free and open source plugin named "ICO FORMAT", you can open and save an icon file within Photoshop.

To use "ICO FORMAT", just download the compressed archive from the official webpage, extract the package and copy the file "ICOFormat.8bi" to the corresponding folder, for example, "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop\Plug-Ins\File Formats", then restart Photoshop.

3, Using GIMP

GIMP is a well-known free image processing program, it works on Windows as well as Linux, GIMP allows users to read and write an icon without any restrictions.

4, Using a Dedicated Icon Editor

Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is a free, lightweight and easy using application developed to create icons and cursors, plus, it supports filters and layers.

5, Create the Icon with an Image Editor and Convert PNG to ICO

If you do not have Photoshop installed, and dislike to download a dedicated image editor to manipulate icon files, you can create and edit the icon with your favorite software, such as Paint.Net, Photoscape, LightBox Image Editor, the image file can be saved as PNG( Portable Network Graphics ) format, an image format which could preserve the alpha channel for you.

The PNG image can be subsequently converted to an icon with a desktop application, for instance, Portable AveIconifier, SimplyIcon, both of them are portable freeware that can be used without installation.