Learning how to make desktop icons is important for users who wish to customize the look of their desktops. Many users don't realize how simple the process can be, nor do they realize the powerful effect of icons specifically tailored to one's specifications. Desktop icons can be created using either Windows XP or Mac OS.
Creating Desktop Icons From Scratch Using Windows XP
In Windows XP, desktop icons can be created from scratch or from an existing file. To create an icon from scratch, an easy program to use is the default Paint program that comes with Windows XP. Click on Start, then Programs and then Accessories. Once you see the list of options opened by Accessories, click on the program called Paint. When that has opened, you may use the program's tools to draw a custom image from scratch. Make sure that the image can fit reasonably well inside a small square. Next, you need to shrink your image. Click on the Image option above, and then Attributes. The image needs to be shrunk to 32 x 32. Also, make sure Units is set to Pixels, and Colors is set to Colors, not Black and White, unless that is your intention. Once you have an image in the appropriate size, you may save your new icon on the desktop. Give the icon an appropriate title, and save it with an .ico extension. If the icon is not saved with an .ico extension, it will not work. Check the desktop to see your new icon, which will work as a shortcut to a program or file of your choice.
Creating Desktop Icons From Pre-Existing Images Using Windows XP
To create desktop icons from pre-existing images, open the Paint program, and click on File. After that, click the Open option, which will give you the option of opening an image downloaded from the Internet or any other source. After opening the pre-existing image, shrink it down to the required 32 x 32 size. Once shrunken, save the image to your desktop using the .ico extension, and your pre-existing image icon will be created. As a word of caution, do not attempt to create an icon from an excessively large image, or the required cropping may cause distortion. The closer the pre-existing image is to the right icon size, the better.
Creating Desktop Icons Using Mac OS
Creating desktop icons with Mac OS involves a different process. Using any image editor or paint program, either create a new image using the program tools, or insert a pre-existing image. Once created or inserted, shrink the icon size to 128 x 128. If you decide you want a larger or smaller icon, make sure that height and width or the same. When you are finished cropping, save the image onto the desktop as a TIFF file, with a .tif extension.
Mac OS requires the user to download more programs in order to complete the icon creation process. These two programs are called Icon Composer and Icns2Icon. Icon Composer can be downloaded at the Apple Web site, while the free download site for Icns2Icon can be found through a simple search on any search engine. After downloading both programs, insert the created TIFF file into Icon Composer. Icon Composer will prompt with the option to convert the TIFF into a file with an .icns extension. Choose this option. Save the .icns file onto the desktop, and drag and drop it into Icns2Icon. Here, select for conversion of the .icns file, and save to the desktop. Finally, at this point, your newly created desktop icon will appear on the desktop.
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