Image2icon: Tom's Mac Software Pick

Jazz Up Your Desktop With an Easy-to-Use Custom Icon Maker

Image2icon icon
Courtesy of Shiny Frog

Image2icon from Shiny Frog is an icon creation tool that you can use to create custom icons for folders, drives, files, just about any Finder item on your Mac. Unlike some competing icon utilities that take a very complex and detailed approach to creating icons, Image2icon allows anyone to make icons from a favorite image.

Pro

  • Simply drag and drop to create an icon.
  • Batch processing using multiple images.
  • Image tweaking tools to customize the icon.
  • Can create ICNS, Folder, iOS, and Android icon formats.
  • Can apply the created icon automatically.
  • Retina support.
  • Pro version offers additional templates and icon type support.

Cons

  • Limited image manipulation capabilities.
  • Most icon templates only available in the pro version.

I've always enjoyed customizing my Mac to meet my needs, and that's not limited to adding memory or storage volumes. It includes customizing my desktop, adding screen savers, and perhaps one of my favorites, creating custom icons for the drive icons that sit on my desktop. Outfitting each drive with its own custom icon not only helps make my desktop unique and colorful, it also makes it easier to quickly select the correct drive by its unique icon.

Image2icon automates the process of creating icons, letting anyone, including those of us who aren't graphic artists, produce reasonable quality, if not downright good-looking, icons for our own use.

Using Image2icon

As the app's name implies, you can use just about any image as the starting point for your icon. Simply drag the image onto the Image2icon window, and the app will produce a complete icon set with multiple icon sizes, from 16x16 all the way up to 1024x1024.

Image2icon automatically scales your image to each of the icon sizes that your Mac expects to have available in an icon set.

For that reason it's best, although not required, to start with images that are at least 1024x1024 for Retina-quality icons, and 512x512 for Macs with a standard display.

Once the image is dropped onto the app's open window, a representation of the icons that can be created is displayed. The examples shown include many template types, such as rounded icon, centered document, stamp, and drive, which are only available from the pro version.

The pro templates are nice, and I suggest springing for the pro version just for the ease of using the templates. But even if you're only going to use the free version, Image2icon has enough features to let you create the icons you want.

You can use the image editing utilities to move the image horizontally or vertically from its default centered position. You can also rotate the image 360 degrees, or zoom in to magnify it. You can also change the background color for images that don’t take up the full display space.

Applying the Icon

Once you have an icon you're happy with, you have two choices for applying it. The easiest method is to drag the target file or folder to the Image2icon app window; the app will automatically apply the icon for you.

The second method is to use the export function to generate one of the supported icon file types.

For Mac users, that would be ICNS or Folder. In the case of ICNS, an ICNS icon file will be created, which you can then apply to any Finder item by simply dragging the ICNS file onto the icon thumbnail image in the item's Get Info window (see Personalize Your Mac by Changing Desktop Icons for details). If you choose the Folder method, Image2Icon will create an empty folder with the icon applied to it. You can copy the thumbnail image in the Get Info window from one item to another.

Pro Features

The pro version of Image2icon is available ​in two levels.

Templates ($5.99): Provides all of the high-quality templates that are locked away in the free version, and allows the automatic application of icons to work for all file and disk types.

Export ($5.99): Unlocks the additional export types that let you create icons for Windows, Favicons for web use, and basic JPG and PNG file outputs.

You can also purchase both for $9.99, and have all of the pro tools at your fingertips.

Final Thoughts

Image2icon is designed for those of us who want to have custom icons to dress up our Macs, but who don’t have the time or ability to use professional graphics tools to create them. In this role, Image2icon, especially the free version, is a winner, taking care of almost all of the image creation process for us. All you need to do is select an image, and the app will take care of the rest.

If you would like to add a bit more pizzazz to your icons, then the pro version with the additional templates or export capabilities may be a better choice.

Image2icon is free. Pro versions are available from $5.99 to $9.99.

See other software choices from Tom's Mac Software Picks.

Published: 8/1/2015