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 Desktop Education Icons

Diploma Icon Images

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

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What Are Icons?

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

Computer icons are incorporated into any modern GUI. Icons are small pictures of standard sizes 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 representing common elements of a user interface are better visible than text, can be recognized faster, and are certainly easier on the eyes.

Originally developed in 1970 by the Xerox Research Center and widely popularized by the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows platforms, icons make computer novices feel more comfortable with operating systems, learn quicker and work more efficiently. Icons can be used to replace or supplement text messages. Widely 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-specific ICO format. Apple Macintosh systems store 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 Apple platforms, while Unix users can create PNG icons with any image editor.

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

Pixel dimensions of all icons are operating system dependent. For example, Windows icons are specified as images in 16 and 256-color gammas as well as True Color pictures with alpha channel. Windows icons come in standard sizes 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 high-resolution 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 use standard icons of other resolutions, such as 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 systems. 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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Classic Hardware Icon Set Hardware Icon Set is a library of hardware related images, distributed in ICO, GIF, PNG and BMP formats and 16x16, 24x24 and 32x32 sizes. The library contains both 32-bit and 256-color icons.

Standard Software Icons Standard Software Icons is set of eye-caching software-related icons meticulously designed by professional artists. This set is an ideal choice for navigation panels and toolbars of all sorts.

People Icons for Vista People Icons for Vista illustrate 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.

24x24 Free Application Icons 24x24 Free Application Icons library contains all the images that are required for your web site or application toolbar.

Money Icon Set Money Icon Set is a pack of beautifully-crafted icons for use in business and personal software and Web projects. Icons have a bright color palette, smooth and well-rounded edges.