How to Create an Icon in Windows 10 [Simplified Guide]

Learn how to easily create an icon in Windows 10

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
Reviewed by Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Windows Server & Networking Expert
After moving away from the corporate work-style, Alex has found rewards in a lifestyle of constant analysis, team coordination and pestering his colleagues. Holding an MCSA Windows Server... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Adding your own unique desktop icon a great way to customize Windows 10, and creating one is simpler that you think.
  • To do that, you just need a create an ICO file using any drawing software, and change them manually.
how to make an icon on windows 10
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Windows 10 displays shortcuts on its desktop with icons, which are a big aspect of the platform’s themes, and you can always change Windows file icons if you want to customize it further.

If you fancy giving Windows a bit of a makeover, customizing desktop icons is a good way to do it. You can create your own custom icons for desktop shortcuts. All you’ll need to set up your own icons is one art (or graphic) design application and this guide, so let’s get started, shall we?

What do I need to know before I make an icon?

Before you create an icon, you need to follow the following guidelines:

  • Use the proper software – You can create icons in any drawing software, but for simplicity, you might want to use icon maker software instead.
  • Set the correct size – Icons require you to use a certain size, and the best results are achieved when using 16x16px, 20x20px, 24x24px, and 32x32px sizes.
  • Use the ICO format – All icons require ICO format to work, so be sure to save them in that format. You can also use convert icon software to transform them to the desired format.
In this article

How do I make an icon on Windows 10?

1. Use Adobe Illustrator

  1. Download Adobe Illustrator and install it.
  2. Go to File and select New.
  3. Set unit to Pixels and set width and height to 256px. Click on Create.
  4. Create your icon using the available tools.
  5. Once you’re done, go to File and expand the Export section. Select Export for Screens.
  6. Set the format to PNG and click the gear icon.
  7. Change the Background color to Transparent. Click on Save settings.
  8. In the Export to set your save location and click on Export Artboard.

2. Create an icon with Paint 3D

Set up the canvas

  1. First, click the Start button.
  2. Click Paint 3D on the Start menu’s software index.
  3. Click New in Paint 3D.
    New button how to make an icon on windows 10
  4. Select Canvas to open the options shown directly below.
    The Canvas tab how to make an icon on windows 10
  5. Enter 32 in both the Width the Height boxes to resize the canvas to 32 x 32.
  6. Roll your mouse wheel to zoom in on, and expand the canvas.
    A 32 x 32 canvas how to make an icon on windows 10
  7. Toggle the Transparent canvas option on.

Design the icon

  1. You can draw a picture on your icon’s canvas by selecting Brushes. You’ll need to select Marker or Pixel Pen at a 1 px weighting.
    Brushes tab how to make an icon on windows 10
  2. To add lines and two-dimensional shapes, select the 2D shapes tab. Then select a line, curve, or shape option there.
  3. Paint 3D’s 3D shapes tab includes various options for adding three-dimensional shapes and models to your icon. Click 3D shapes to open that tab.
    3D shapes tab how to make an icon on windows 10
  4. Select a 3D object or model option on the sidebar. Then hold the left mouse button and drag the cursor right to expand the selected shape, so it fits within your icon’s canvas.
  5. Click the shape on the canvas to open its rotation options as in the shot directly below.
    A 3D shape how to make an icon on windows 10

Save the icon design as an image

  1. When you’ve finished your icon design, click Menu and then select Save As. Lastly, choose Image.
    Save as copy options how to make an icon on windows 10
  2. If you added a 3D model to your icon, an image preview will open as in the snapshot directly below. Select PNG on the Save as type menu.
    3D image preview how to make an icon on windows 10
  3. Press the Save button.
  4. Select a folder to save the PNG image in.
  5. Select 2D – PNG as the file format.
  6. Enter a title for the image, and click the Save option.

How do I convert a JPEG to an icon in Windows 10?

  1. You can convert PNG, JPEG, and JPG files to icons at the Online-Convert website. So, open that website’s Online image convert page in a browser.
    The Online image converter page how to make an icon on windows 10
  2. Click Choose files to select the icon PNG you set up in Paint 3D.
  3. Press the Start conversion button.
  4. Then click the Download button.

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If you use PNG format, be sure to check our guide on how to convert PNG to ICO on Windows.

As you can see, it’s simple to create an icon, and once you’re done, you just need to change the icon manually. If you don’t know how to do that, we have a special guide on how to change icons in Windows, so be sure to check it out.

What method do you use to create icons? Let us know in the comments below.

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