How to Customize File and Folder Icons on Your Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    This article shows you how to change the icon of any file or folder on your Mac. Apart from adding a bit of personal style to your desktop, there are good practical reasons why you might want to do so.


    For example, perhaps you've dragged some folders to your Dock so that you can easily drop items into them, but you don't want to have to keep hovering your mouse over their generic blue icons to identify which is which.

    Carbon Folders by necramar

    To customize a file or folder icon, simply follow the steps below. You can use your own pictures as icons. Alternatively, there are a wealth of icon libraries hosted online, so you could try a web search for free icon pack downloads for Mac.

    Note: If you find icons online in the .icns format, you can drag these icon types directly onto the icon in a file or folder's Info panel, thereby skipping the Preview steps described below.
    1. Double-click the picture or icon you want to use to open it in your Mac's built-in Preview app.

      Choose Edit -> Select All in Preview's menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut Command-A.

      Choose Edit -> Copy in Preview's menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut Command-C.
    2. Next, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the file or folder whose icon you want to change and select Get Info from the contextual menu.

      Click the icon in the top left of the Info panel to select it.

      Choose Edit -> Paste from the menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut Command-V.

      Click the red traffic light to close the Info panel, and you're done.
    If you want to revert a file or folder to its default icon, open its Get Info panel again, click the icon in the panel to select it, and choose Edit -> Cut or use the keyboard shortcut Command-X. You can also select and copy (Edit -> Copy) a file or folder's icon in its Info panel for use elsewhere.

    Article Link: How to Customize File and Folder Icons on Your Mac
  2. MrGimper macrumors 603


    Sep 22, 2012
    Andover, UK
    If you want to change the icons for all types of file/folder, then this handy free tool does just that.

    Not affiliated in any way, just a happy user of this software over the years
  3. HQuest, Nov 14, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018

    HQuest macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2012
    That was one of the firsf tips I learned back in the day of the old, old old iMac G3 times. I use it to this day, including changing the OS volume icon to the installed OS (just because I used to have multiple OS installed), or from the shared folders/disks mapped on my Mac to something easily recognizable.
  4. Niko Todd macrumors newbie

    Niko Todd

    Sep 20, 2018
    Is it possible to go back and forth in Finder by swiping left or right with the mouse - like it's in the Windows Explorer by default with the side mouse buttons?
  5. Starflyer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2003
    Everyone remember this app back in the day and when Post Your Desktop was the most popular forum on Macrumors?
  6. orbital~debris macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    England, UK, Europe
    CandyBar, Kaleidoscope… apps such as these gave a little more life to the Mac. I miss them.
  7. phunigai macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2018
    what the helk is animator? jebeesus, i have been staring at that icon since 200? maybe in jaguar and never used that program. I think iway back in 2004 on a cold snowy night in Baraboo, WI when i tried investigating how efficient my computing on the new Imac G4 igloo would be by mastering Animator, then a bunch of demons with violins jumped in and next think i knew i was knee deep in the 'eart of Georgia being moonshines by jack daniels 2nd cousins nieces, nephews ohhh lordy!
  8. simonmet macrumors 68000


    Sep 9, 2012
    And those of us even older will remember ResEdit and!

    Desktop hackery used to be such a big thing!
  9. RumorConsumer macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2016
    This has been since system 7 i think. As a kid icons were valuable like legal tender.
  10. jaster2 macrumors newbie


    Jun 21, 2010
    I would be a lot more excited about this again if custom folder icons would show up in the Finder sidebar. Did not appreciate that when Apple eliminated the feature awhile ago. Just tried it and it's still the case.
  11. lunarworks macrumors 65816

    Jun 17, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    I wasted so much time editing icons in ResEdit. I made a radioactive Trash can once.
  12. AngerDanger macrumors 68040


    Dec 9, 2008
    Yeah, I use BetterTouchTool to do that. You'll have to add the shortcut yourself, but it isn't difficult.
  13. NutFlush920 macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    I’ve changed icons but for whatever reason eventually they change back on their own. I got fed up so stopped.
  14. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    ah..yeah, those good old days, I miss the shiny Icons
  15. AlteMac macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2011
    New York suburb
  16. X--X macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2015
    Completely agree LiteIcon is awesome, been using it for years.
  17. Kobayagi macrumors 6502a


    Dec 18, 2012
    I made a post about this amazing app almost 4 years ago, still using it and it's still very handy. I've added more gestures in the meantime, but the post is still handy to get you started:
  18. Niko Todd macrumors newbie

    Niko Todd

    Sep 20, 2018
    Thank you both!
  19. Defthand macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    It’s refreshing to see Old School productivity and customization articles like this one. It’s a welcome reprieve from the phone culture.
  20. trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    Great article Macrumors, I really wish there could be a renaissance of icon customization like the good old days.
  21. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    I use the combination of Gimp, image2icns, and liteicon to make realistic icons for my drives and thumbdrives, etc.

    I use Gimp to remove the background from a photo of the drive, then image2icns converts it to an icon on a folder, then I use liteicon to replace it at the system level. All free apps.

    I haven't used liteicon in Mojave. Usually they have to modify it when a new OS comes out, but it's a great tool.
  22. bstone100 macrumors newbie


    Nov 4, 2018
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2019 ---
    I made my own icon in illustrator and exported it as a png and then opened it in preview and then selected it and copy and pasted it into where it should and then it shows up as the preview icon along with the word "jpeg" instead of showing my icon. What should i do?
  23. ArthurCrown macrumors newbie


    Feb 19, 2017
    I'm still using some of those I collected from way back for my PowerMac7300.
    Here are three now on my iMac.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2019 ---
    And I also altered the Photoshop app icon from the PS original - and it shows up here in the Dock.

    Attached Files:

  24. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    I too like those old Adobe Icons (much) more than the newer ones.

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