- Computer icons are a great way to customize your desktop and OS UI. Windows 10 offers an interesting library of icons you can set as visual shortcuts to different programs.
- But if you're not satisfied with the default icon library, you can create your own icons with the help of specialized software.
- Adobe Illustrator is an excellent icon making software that you can use to design your own computer icons.
- If you're interested in reading more about design software, visit our dedicated Graphic and Design page.
Adding new shortcut icons to the desktop is a great way to customize Windows. You can download myriad icon packs from various websites.
However, some prefer to design their own icons for Windows with third-party software. Although you can utilize some image editors to set up your own icons, there are also numerous icon maker programs for Windows.
These are the nest programs to design icons with on your Windows 10 computer.
Adobe Illustrator is the go-to icon maker software for PC when planning to design your own Windows desktop icons easily and intuitively.
With Adobe Illustrator, you may start with a simple graphic and turn it into memorable icons for your digital business or holiday projects.
The best thing about this icon maker tool is that it comes as vector-based design software. This means that you can bring your designs into reality as it easily scales down for mobile screens and lets you go as far as billboard sizes.
The icons finally look crisp and beautiful, yet various effects, styles, and individual characters may be further selected when you plan to give the finishing touches to your icons.
Despite all these countless different options you may choose from, Adobe Illustrator is still incredibly easy to use and has a very intuitive interface.
Therefore, this tool is designed for professionals and newbies alike who need all the bells and whistles to level up their game.
Don’t hesitate to be one of them. You just need to let your imagination run wild and trust your designing skills.
Softorbits Icon Maker (recommended)
When talking about creating icons or other UI elements that are smaller in size, few programs come close to Softorbits Icon Maker. As far as toolset goes, it has everything you may ever need in order to create a new icon, a new cursor and generating an icon from pictures in batch.
In fact, If you want to create multiple icons that follow the same style, you can make great use of the program’s bulk mode.
Additionally, Softorbits Icon Maker oversimplifies the icon creation process by introducing a tool that efficiently transforms pictures into icons by simply reducing their size.
The icons that you create will seem all the more original thanks to the variety of editing tools that you can use, which include blurring, brightness, contrast, adding perspective, sharpening, adjusting colors, transparency, and much more.
However, the best part about this tool is not what it offers, but how it offers it. The UI is incredibly intuitive, and you don’t need experience with similar programs in order to get around it.
IcoFX is among the best all-in-one icon maker software for Windows platforms from XP to 10. This is an icon maker package that includes many of the tools and options you would expect to find in full image editors.
The software enables its users to extract and edit icons for both Windows and Macintosh OS X. IcoFX is retailing at $29.99 on the publisher’s website, and there’s also a 30-day trial of the software you can try out.
IcoFX has all the options you’ll probably need to design great icons from scratch. It includes more than 30 tools to edit icons with, which include various brush and pencil, selection, text, gradient, eraser, shape and retouching options. The software provides more than 40 effects, color correction tools and layer-based editing for image processing.
IcoFX users can also apply icon customizations to Windows folders. In addition, you can convert various image formats directly to ICO files with resolutions up to 1024 x1 024 and extract icons with this software. So this is a great program for designing icons, and you can also utilize it for more general photo editing.
Junior Icon Editor
Junior Icon Editor 4.37 enables users to create icons from scratch or existing images. This might not have as many tools and options as IcoFX, but it’s a lightweight freeware alternative you can run on most Windows platforms.
Junior Icon Editor includes brush, pen, airbrush, shape, line, flood fill, arc, text, color picker and eraser drawing tools with which to set up new icons. The software doesn’t come with much in the way of image-processing tools, but does include options for flipping, rotating, zooming and shifting images.
Junior Icon Editor enables you to set up 16 x 16, 32 x 32 and 48 x 48 icons with a 32-bit color depth. You can also create icons for Window Mobile, iOS, Linux and Android platforms with this software.
You can design and convert icons for the Windows, Android, iPhone OS and Mac platforms with Axialis IconWorkshop. This is also one of the few icon maker programs with which developers can set up image strips for software toolbar icons. Axialis IconWorkshop is compatible with 64-bit Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7 platforms; and the software is available for 69.95 euros.
Axialis IconWorkshop has an intuitive drag-and-drop UI design. The UI includes a Librarian file manager on the left, built-in folder browser at the bottom and the drawing and editing tools on the right of the software’s window. It is also a multi-image UI that enables you to open and edit multiple icons within the same window.
For editing icons, Axialis IconWorkshop includes a range of brushes, pencil, color picker, shape, line, flip and rotate, color fill and text tools. This isn’t entirely a full-blown image editor, but it does include 13 effects. It also provides color correction options for adjusting contrast, hue, saturation, etc.
Another good thing about Axialis IconWorkshop is its Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator compatibility. Axialis IconWorkshop users can import PSD files directly from Photoshop and quickly transfer files between the applications with the IconWorkshop plug-ins. This software also has 15 Photoshop templates that you can quickly set up icons with.
Greenfish Icon Editor Pro
Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is a highly rated open-source icon maker package for 32 and 64-bit Windows platforms. You can utilize this software for designing 256 x 256 icons, editing animated cursors, extracting icons and converting images to ICO formats. There’s also a portable version of the software for USB drives.
Greenfish Icon Editor Pro includes a drawing toolkit from which you can select pencil, line, shape, text editing and advanced selection options. There’s a Color Picker tool on the right of Icon Editor Pro’s window with which you can adjust colors. Greenfish Pro users can select a range of effects on the software’s Filters menu.
The software supports layer editing, and you can also select Create Windows icon from image and Create Mac icon from image options on its Icon menu. So this program has most of the tools and options you’ll need for editing icons.
Those are six noteworthy icon makers for Windows that include a wide selection of editing options and tools to design innovative shortcut icons and modify existing icon sets with.
They are also graphics editors that you can utilize for designing custom cursors and other graphic content. Also, note that you can set up custom icons with web apps such as X-Icon Editor and Free Icon Maker.
FAQ: Learn more about icon design
- What format is an icon file?
Windows computers use the ICO image file format for icons. The main advantage of ICO files is that they pack multiple versions of the same image in terms of size and color settings, which allows for proper scaling on different screens and resolutions.
- How do I make an icon from a JPEG or PNG?
To make an icon from a JPEG or PNG file, you need a dedicated software that converts JPEG or PNG image files into ICO files.
- How do I create my own icons?
You can create your own computer icons by using a dedicated image editor that supports vector-based design, such as Adobe Illustrator.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has since been updated for freshness and accuracy.