Would you like to replace that default desktop icon that is used for your program? Do you need special icons in your program? Many existing icons are copyrighted and you may not use them for your own purposes. Now you can create your own icons!

I am working on my next program which needs some non-standard icons in the toolbar. I’ve been using one of my favorite free programs, Greenfish Icon Editor Pro, to create the icons that I need. I am so impressed with how feature-rich this program is, and how intuitive it is to use, that I thought I would tell you about it.

Where to Get Greenfish Icon Editor Pro

Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is currently available at http://greenfish.xtreemhost.com/.

Made for Making Icons

Greenfish Icon Editor Pro has many features you would expect to find in more sophisticated painting programs. It supports layers and filters, and can import and export many different image formats. But because this program is made for making icons, it has features you will not find in a typical painting program. Use Greenfish Icon Editor Pro to test your icon on light and dark backgrounds, define a hot spot for a new cursor, or create an Icon Library.

The Greenfish Icon Editor Pro’s painting features that are most important to creating icons are easier to use than in typical painting programs. Greenfish Icon Editor Pro makes it very easy to create icons the exact size you need. Images with transparent backgrounds come naturally in Greenfish Icon Editor Pro.

Icon Library

One of the features I like the most about Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is its ability to quickly create an Icon Library. Have you noticed that Windows uses different size icons for a file, depending on where the file is listed? Windows Explorer even gives you the option to choose which size icons to represent its listed files.

Instead of assigning a single icon image to a file, you may assign an icon library. An icon library is a collection of icon images bundled into one file. When Windows needs to display an icon for the file, it will look in the icon library and choose the icon that is the best size for what Windows is trying to display.

Greenfish Icon Editor Pro will not only quickly create a whole set of different size icons from a single icon, but it will then give you the opportunity to edit each generated icon. This allows you to tweak each icon as needed.


Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is my choice for making all my icons. By making my own icons I do not need to worry about any copyright infringement of existing icons, or pay for use of icons that someone else made. And I can create unique icons to meet all my specific needs.

Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is available for free. As freeware, you are under no obligation to pay for it. However, if like me, you find it is a very useful tool, consider making a donation to the developers.

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  3. Windows 7 UAC: Permission Prompts and Access Errors

About the Author

3 Responses to Create Your Own Icons

  1. Kees says:

    I downloaded Greenfish.
    My impression is that it is very complicated to draw any other things than rectangles.
    Is that right?

    Kind regards,


    • Hi Kees,

      I also find it very easy to draw circles and ovals with Greenfish. Plus drawing and erasing individual pixels is very easy too. Since the icons I need for toolbars are often only 16 x 16 pixels, or 32 x 32 pixels, drawing and erasing individual pixels using Greenfish is the quickest and easiest way to create them. And Greenfish is great for that.

      If I am trying to create a much more elaborate icon, such as for a desktop icon, which can be as large as 256 x 256 pixels, I will often use a different program to create the larger image. I then save the image as a .gif or .jpg and import it into Greenfish and use Greenfish to generate all the smaller size images I need. I use the Greenfish pencil tool to change individual pixels if I don’t quite like how it scaled the image down to some of the smaller sizes. And then I use Greenfish to generate the icon library with all the images in one .ico file.

      So no, Greenfish isn’t the best tool for drawing complicated images. But it is great for drawing simple icons, or for fine tuning complex images created with other programs and turning them into icons.

      Best of luck with your icons!


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