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Icon sizes: 48x48, 32x32, 24x24, 20x20, 16x16, 256x256, 512x512
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What Are Windows Icons?

A number of independent vendors are providing custom icons in sizes and resolutions common to certain systems. The article explains what icons are, how they are used and implemented in various systems, and what standards are defined for Windows icons, Mac icons, and PNG icons.

Computer icons are incorporated into any modern GUI. Icons are small pictograms of standard resolutions that depict objects, actions, and symbols. In graphical user interfaces, icons are used as a faster, more intuitive way to communicate with the user. Icons depicting standard elements of a user interface are better visible than text, can be recognized faster, and are certainly easier on the eyes.

Originally introduced in 1970 by the Xerox Research Center and widely popularized by the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows systems, icons make new users feel more comfortable with operating systems, learn faster and interact more efficiently. Icons can be used to replace or supplement text commands. 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 multiple image formats for storing icons. The Windows systems store Windows icons in the platform-specific ICO format. Mac OS systems use Mac icons in their specific formats, while Unix-based systems use PNG icons for most applications. As such, icon editing software is generally available for the Windows and Apple systems, while Unix users can design their icons with any image editor.

As a rule of thumb, icons are square pictograms that come in a number 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 used in Mac OS Leopard.

Pixel dimensions of all icons are platform 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 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 icons. Other platforms such as Windows Mobile can employ standard icons of other resolutions, e.g. 24x24 pixels.

Numerous independent designers are offering custom icons. Aha-Soft offers a wide selection 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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Standard Software Icons Standard Software Icons is pack of colorful software icons meticulously designed by professional artists. This set is the best selection for navigation menus and toolbars of all sorts.

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, websites, blogs, and desktops. The images are free for personal, frequent and commercial use.

People Icons for Vista People Icons for Vista depict people of different jobs, groups and family status. They are created in Vista style and come with or without shadows. Icons are provided in various formats and sizes.

Large Toolbar Icons If you are looking for a modern and attractive design for you program's toolbar, consider using graphics in large sizes. Large Toolbar Icons pack from Aha-Soft is just what you need.

Standard Chess Icons Design chess games and Web sites faster with Standard Chess Icons! All white and black figures are provided as 2D and 3D icons, the graphics for chess board and timer are also there.