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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Change an Icon

Before You Begin

Create a New Folder

Rename a Folder or Document

See Also

Set a Color Label

One of the convenient and unique features of the Mac OS is that you can apply your own custom icons to individual documents, folders, and volumes (disks). You can copy an icon from one item to another, create your own icons from picture files, or remove custom icons from items to return them to their generic appearance.

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5

  1. Locate the Source Image

  2. An icon can come from either of two places: a picture file copied to the Clipboard, or an existing icon copied from another document or folder. Decide where the icon is going to come from; open a Finder window and navigate to where that source item is.

  3. Copy Source Image to Clipboard

  4. To create an icon from a picture file, first open the picture in Preview (or any other picture-viewing application that allows you to copy image data to the Clipboard). Copy the picture to the Clipboard by choosing Edit, Copy or pressing Command + C.

    To copy an existing icon from another item, select that item and then choose File, Get Info (or press Command + I). Use the mouse to select the icon in the top-left corner of the General pane of the Info palette, and choose Edit, Copy or press Command + C to copy the icon to the Clipboard.


    You can view the contents of the Clipboard by switching to the Finder and then choosing Edit, Show Clipboard. If the picture has been successfully copied to the Clipboard, it will appear in the Clipboard window that opens.

  5. Get Info on Item to Be Changed

  6. Select the document or folder whose icon you want to change. Choose File, Get Info or press Command + I. Click the icon in the top-left corner of the General pane of the Info palette.

  7. Paste Image into Icon

  8. Press Command + V to paste the Clipboard's contents onto the item as its new icon.

    In Mac OS X, icons can contain 32-bit picture data—red, green, blue, and alpha (transparency) channels. If a part of the icon image is transparent (the alpha channel is at maximum), that part of the icon will not be clickable—clicking that region does not select the icon. If you apply a custom icon that's got a weird shape and not much non-transparent image data, it will be difficult to click the icon in the Finder. For icons in the Dock, the whole square region of an icon responds to a click, whether it's transparent or not.

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