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What Are Mac Icons?

Many independent vendors are supplying custom icons in sizes and resolutions standard to certain computer platforms. The article explains what icons are, how they are used and implemented in various platforms, and what standards exist for Windows icons, Mac icons, and PNG icons.

Computer icons are incorporated into any modern GUI. Icons are small pictures of standard sizes that visually represent objects, actions, and symbols. In graphical user interfaces, icons are used as a quicker, more intuitive way to communicate with the user. Icons depicting common elements of a user interface are more visually appealing than text, can be recognized faster, and are easier for new computer users.

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

There are several image formats for storing icons. Microsoft Windows systems store Windows icons in the platform-specific ICO format. Mac OS computers use Mac icons in their specific formats, while Unix-based systems employ PNG icons for most applications. As such, icon software is generally available for the Windows and Mac OS platforms, while Unix users can design PNG icons with just about any graphic editor.

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

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

Numerous independent vendors are providing custom icons. Aha-Soft offers a variety of Windows icons, Mac icons, and PNG icons in all sizes and resolutions common to those systems. The company provides royalty-free icons individually and in matching sets incorporating 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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Large Weather Icons Large Weather Icons depict different weather conditions typical in software, weather Web sites, and mobile gadgets. The images are available in typical sizes standard to Windows, Mac OS, and mobile devices. The largest versions are huge 512x512 pixel icons with vector sources in Adobe Illustrator (.ai) format easily available and ready to be printed or used in presentations in highest quality.

Perfect Science Icons Labaratory software and Web-site developers will certainly appreciate this hard-to-find pack of scientific images. Providing nuerous symbols and objects common for all the areas of science and engineering, Perfect Science Icons are a wonderfull value.

Business Icon Set Business Icon Set. A collection of all-purpose icons with various symbols for the business environment for use with your software or on your website.

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

Perfect Business Icons Enhance your accounting or business-oriented software with instantly available quality Perfect Business Icons. More then two hundred of beautifully designed and carefully crafted icons are provided.