How Can I Open Up or Edit an ICO file or Icon Library?
By on September 22nd, 2009

Most of you are familiar with icons since you see them every time you use a PC. An ICO file is an image file that contains the small picture that you see as an icon. Icons are usually associated with files or actions on your PC. Icons make it easier to identify file types by simply looking at the icon.

How Can I Open (view) an ICO file?

If you wish to open or view the little picture in an ICO file, double clicking an ICO file will most often open in the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer (XP) or Windows Photo Viewer (Vista, Win7) so that you can see it in more detail.

If you have a collection of ICO files, I’ve found that it’s often just as easy to open the folder that the ICO files are in then select the “Thumbnail” view or the “Tiles” view in WinXP or the large icon view in Vista/Win7.

cn_thumbview_of_icons

If double clicking on an ICO file does not result in it opening up in a viewer, you can restore it’s default actions. You can also find out how to chose your own default application to openICO files.

One more thing I’ll share with you before moving on is that you can download tons of free high quality icons from the net.

How Can I Edit an ICO File?

On most PCs, the default editor for an ICO (icon) file is the ever present MS Paint application. Right clicking on an ICO file and choosing Editwill usually open an icon in MS Paint.

MS Paint is a very basic graphics editor and it is definitely not a good application for editing icons. Paint’s biggest problem is that it cannot set transparent areas. I have also seen cases where an ICO file saved by Paint is not recognized as an icon by other applications.

Here I have listed some of the best free icon editors:

Greenfish

IcoFX

@icon sushi

IconArt

Portable Icon Editors

Gimp

Here are a few tutorials showing you how to use icon editors:

Creating large icons with Greenfish

IcoFX video tutorial #1

IcoFX video tutorial #2

Tutorials from the author of IcoFX

Create large Vista/Win7 icons with icon sushi

IconArt video tutorial

Creating Icons with Gimp

45 icon design tutorials


How Can I Create My Own Ico Libraries?

Icons are normally thought of as ICO files, but they are also included in icon libraries in the form of EXE, DLL or ICL files. There are quite a few programs that will allow you to create or manage existing icon libraries on your computer. Below are links to two icon editors that I mentioned earlier which handle libraries nicely. This makes them an “all-in-one” tool for dealing with icons.

Greenfish Icon Editor

IcoFXIcoFX library tutorial


Do you have more questions about icons and ICO files?

How Can I Restore the Default ICO File Behavior?

How Can I Change Windows Default Desktop Icons?

How Can I Change the Icon for a File Extension or File Type?

Browse And Download Tons Of Free High Quality Icons at IconArchive

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.

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