How Can I Open Up or Edit an ICO file or Icon Library?

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.

If double-clicking on an ICO file does not result in it opening up in a viewer, you can restore its default actions. You can also find out how to choose 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?

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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?

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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

IcoFX – IcoFX library tutorial