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Icon sizes: 256x256, 48x48, 32x32, 24x24, 16x16, 512x512
File formats: ICO, GIF, PNG, BMP

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What Are Mac Icons?

Many independent vendors are supplying custom icons in sizes and resolutions standard to certain systems. The article explains what icons are, how they are designed 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 standardized sizes that depict objects, actions, and other concepts. In window-based systems, icons are used as a faster, more intuitive way to communicate with the user. Icons representing standard elements of a user interface are better visible than text, can be recognized faster, and are easier for new computer users.

Originally introduced in 1970 by the Xerox Research Center and widely deployed by the Mac OS and Microsoft Windows platforms, icons make computer novices feel more comfortable with operating systems, learn faster and work more efficiently. Icons can be employed to replace or supplement text messages. Widely used in menus, toolbars, on buttons and in new ribbon-style user interfaces, icons have come a long way from the original concept.

There are several graphic formats for storing icons. Microsoft Windows systems use Windows icons in the platform-specific ICO format. Apple Macintosh systems 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 create their icons with any image editor.

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

Pixel dimensions 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 implements 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 images. Other platforms such as Windows Mobile can employ standard icons of other resolutions, such as 24x24 pixels.

Many independent vendors 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 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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Download Large Portfolio Icons
Classic Hardware Icon Set Hardware Icon Set is a pack of hardware related images, available in GIF, BMP, ICO and PNG formats and 16x16, 24x24 and 32x32 sizes. The collection presents both 32-bit and 256-color icons.

16x16 Free Application Icons 16x16 Free Application Icons library contains all the images you need for your web site or application toolbar.

20x20 Free Toolbar Icons 20x20 Free Toolbar Icons set has all the images you need for your web project or application toolbar.

Large Money Icons Large Money Icons is a set of carefully 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, and smooth edges.

Desktop Device Icons Desktop Device Icons are perfect for private desktop enhancement, for application icons, or toolbar icons. This set has it all, from 256x256 Vista sized images to 16x16 toolbar icons.