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Icon sizes: 256x256, 128x128, 48x48, 32x32, 24x24, 16x16, 512x512
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What Are Windows Icons?

A number of independent vendors are offering custom icons in sizes and resolutions standard to certain systems. The article explains what icons are, how they are designed and implemented in various systems, and what standards exist for Windows icons, Mac icons, and PNG icons.

Computer icons are an integral part of any modern GUI. Icons are small pictograms of standardized sizes that depict objects, actions, and other concepts. In window-based systems, icons are used as a quicker, more intuitive way to communicate with the user. Icons depicting typical elements of a user interface are more visually appealing than text, can be recognized faster, and are certainly easier on the eyes.

Originally developed in 1970 by the Xerox Research Center and widely deployed by the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows platforms, icons make new users feel more comfortable with computer systems, learn quicker and work more efficiently. Icons can be employed to replace or supplement text messages. Commonly used in menus, toolbars, on buttons and in the latest ribbon-type user interfaces, icons have come a long way from the original concept.

There are several graphic formats for storing icons. The Windows systems store Windows icons in the platform-specific ICO format. Apple Macintosh systems store Mac icons in their specific formats, while Unix-based systems employ PNG icons for most applications. As such, icon editing software is generally available for the Windows and Apple systems, while Unix users can create their icons with any graphic editor.

As a rule of thumb, icons are square pictures that come in a variety of standard sizes and color resolutions. Most platforms support icon sizes of 16x16 to 128x128 pixels, while some systems readily accept icon images as large as 512x512 pixels. The large 512x512 pixel icons were first employed in Mac OS Leopard.

Pixel resolutions of all icons are operating system dependent. For example, Windows icons are defined as images in 16 and 256-color gammas as well as True Color images with alpha channel. Windows icons are supplied in standard resolutions of 16x16, 32x32, and 48x48 pixels. Windows Vista defines new standards for Windows icons, including icons in resolutions of up to 256x256 pixels in True Color only. Optionally, images of 128x128 and 512x512 pixels are supported. Interestingly, the higher resolution versions of Windows Vista icons are stored in compressed PNG format instead of Windows ICO used in older versions of Windows and for lower resolution icons. Other systems such as Windows Mobile can employ standard icons of other resolutions, e.g. 24x24 pixels.

Numerous independent designers are providing custom icons. Aha-Soft offers a wide selection of Windows icons, Mac icons, and PNG icons in all sizes and resolutions standard to those systems. The company provides royalty-free icons individually and in matching sets that include icons drawn a common style or theme.

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You can buy individual icons to suit your needs. Each icon is $1 when purchased individually.

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Classic Hardware Icon Set Hardware Icon Set is a collection of hardware related icons, distributed in GIF, PNG, BMP and ICO formats and 16x16, 24x24 and 32x32 sizes. The collection features both 32-bit and 256-color icons.

Free Business Desktop Icons Free Business Desktop Icons is a pack of 10 stock icons for use in commercial and personal projects, such as software applications, websites, blogs, and presentations. The images are free for personal, frequent and commercial use.

Perfect Warehouse Icons When you are working on a top-grade warehouse application or a website and cannot figure out how to solve the UI problem with a fixed deadline, see our Perfect Warehouse Icons pack!

Large Money Icons Large Money Icons is a set of professionally made icons for use in any spftware or Web products, such as software applications, websites, blogs and presentations. The icons present a bright color palette, smooth and well-rounded edges.

Large Weather Icons Large Weather Icons represent a number of weather conditions that are common for software, weather Web sites, and mobile gadgets. The icons arprovided in all sizes standard to Windows, Mac OS, and mobile platforms. The largest versions are huge 512x512 pixel images with vector sources in Adobe Illustrator (.ai) format easily affordable and ready to be printed or used in presentations in highest resolution.