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Icon sizes: 48x48, 32x32, 24x24, 20x20, 16x16, 256x256, 128x128, 64x64, 512x512
File formats: ICO, GIF, PNG, BMP

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What Are PNG Icons?

A number of independent vendors are supplying custom icons in sizes and resolutions common to certain systems. 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 an integral part of any modern GUI. Icons are small pictograms of standard resolutions 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 representing typical elements of a user interface are more visually appealing than text, can be recognized faster, and are certainly easier on the eyes.

Originally introduced in 1970 by the Xerox Research Center and widely deployed by the Mac OS and Microsoft Windows systems, icons make new users feel more comfortable with computer systems, learn quicker and interact more efficiently. Icons can be employed to replace or supplement text commands. 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. Microsoft Windows systems store Windows icons in the platform-dependent ICO format. Mac OS computers store Mac icons in their specific formats, while Unix-based systems use PNG icons for most applications. As such, icon software is generally available for the Windows and Mac OS systems, while Unix users can create their icons with any image editor.

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

Pixel dimensions of all icons are platform dependent. For example, Windows icons are defined as pictures 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 sizes of up to 256x256 pixels in True Color only. Optionally, icons 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 previous versions of Windows and for lower resolution images. Other systems such as Windows Mobile can employ standard icons of other resolutions, e.g. 24x24 pixels.

Many independent designers are offering custom icons. Aha-Soft offers a variety of Windows icons, Mac icons, and PNG icons in all sizes and resolutions standard to those platforms. The company sells 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 a number of weather conditions typical in software, weather Web sites, and mobile gadgets. The images arprovided in typical resolutions standard to Windows, Mac OS, and mobile devices. The biggest 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.

Program Toolbar Icons Add beautifully crafted toolbar icons to your software projects. Program Toolbar Icons are readily available, royalty-free graphics of items, tasks and symbols that are typically used in application toolbars.

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

Perfect Science Icons Scientific software and Web-site developers will certainly value this rare set of scientific icons. Presenting nuerous symbols and objects used in all the areas of science and engineering, Perfect Science Icons are a great value.

Free Business Desktop Icons Free Business Desktop Icons is a collection of 10 ready icons to be used in commercial and personal products, such as software applications, websites, blogs, and presentations. The graphics are free for personal, frequent and commercial use.