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 Windows Toolbar Icons

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Image sizes: 256x256, 48x48, 32x32, 24x24, 20x20, 16x16
File formats: BMP, GIF, PNG, ICO

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What Are Windows Icons?

A number of independent vendors are supplying custom icons in sizes and resolutions standard to certain computer platforms. 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 an integral part of any modern GUI. Icons are small pictograms of standard resolutions that visually represent objects, actions, and symbols. In window-based systems, icons are used as a quicker, more intuitive way to communicate with the user. Icons representing common elements of a user interface are more visually appealing 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 platforms, icons make new users feel more comfortable with computer systems, learn quicker 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-style user interfaces, icons have come a long way from the original concept.

There are multiple file formats for storing icons. The Windows systems use Windows icons in the platform-dependent ICO format. Mac OS 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 their icons with any graphic editor.

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

Pixel resolutions 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 are supplied 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 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, e.g. 24x24 pixels.

Many independent designers are providing 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 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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Download Windows Toolbar Icons
Standard Software Icons Standard Software Icons is set of eye-caching software icons specially created by experienced artists. This set is an ideal choice for navigation panels and toolbars of all sorts.

Military Icon Set Plenty of military icons from our Military Icon Set will make your application's interface appear more current and engaging. The images are delivered in PNG, BMP, ICO and GIF file formats.

Business Icon Set Business Icon Set. A collection of all-purpose icons with various symbols for the business environment for use with your software or on your website.

Small Network Icons Small Network Icons is a pack of network-related icons provided as PNG, ICO, GIF and BMP files. Each icon has 16x16, 24x24, 32x32 and 48x48 versions.

Financial Icon Library for Vista Vista Financial Icon Library is a collection of money and purchase related icons in contemporary Vista style. The collection is distributed as PNG, BMP, ICO and GIF file formats.