ICO (Windows Icon) file format plugin for Photoshop (2024)

Copyright 2002-2011 Toby Thain, toby@telegraphics.com.au

The plugin gives Photoshop the ability to directly Open and SaveWindows icon (.ICO) and cursor (.CUR) files(saving .CUR files is supported by version 2.1 or later).Download the latest version here.

Tested with:

  • Photoshop on Mac:
    • Photoshop CS5 on Intel Macintosh (32/64 bit)
    • Photoshop CS3 & CS4 on 32-bit Intel and PowerPC Macintosh
    • Photoshop 3.0-7.0, CS, CS2 on PowerPC Macintosh (OSX, OS 9 and Classic)
    • Photoshop 4.0 / MacOS 8.0 on 68K Macintosh
  • Windows: Photoshop 5.0 and any later version on Windows 98/NT, XP, Vista, and Windows 7
  • Paint Shop Pro 9 (may not work correctly with earlier versions due to PSP plugin compatibility issues)
  • Photoshop Elements (Mac US$79.99/Win US$89.99. Prices at time of writing)

Free software - donation suggested

This program is free software licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.If you use this program and like it, please donate what you think it is worth (US$5 suggested):

ICO (Windows Icon) file format plugin for Photoshop (1)

The program is fully supported. Please contact the author with any bug reports, suggestions or comments.

To install

  1. 64-bit Windows (Vista/Windows 7):
  • Restart before installing;
  • put plugin in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop \Plug-Ins\File Formats.
  • If you are running on a 64-bit Windows system and are launchingthe 64-bit version of Photoshop CS4 or CS5, download the 64-bit version of the plugin and put it inthe Plug-Ins folder corresponding to 64-bit Photoshop(i.e., the one in "Program Files" not "Program Files (x86)").
  • Move the plugin into the "File Formats" folder inside your Photoshop Plugins folder:
    • For Windows (32-bit), ICOFormat.8bi
    • For Windows (64-bit), ICOFormat64.8bi
    • For Mac OS X, ICOFormat.plugin (note that separate versions are provided for CS2, CS3/4 and CS5)
    • For Mac OS X/Classic, icoformat
    • For 68K MacOS, icoformat(68K)
  • If using Corel PSP Photo X2, put the plugin inC:\Program Files\Corel\Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2\Languages\EN\PlugIns
  • Quit and relaunch Photoshop, if it's already running.
  • To use the plugin

    • Use Photoshop's Open command (File menu) to open .ICO and .CUR files (which will now appear in the file browser)
    • Use Photoshop's Save command to create .ICO and .CUR files.
    • If saving .CUR, note that the cursor hotspot is defined by theruler origin.

    Having trouble?

    • If you are not sure if the plugin is correctly installed, look for "ICO (Windows Icon)" under Photoshop's "About Plug-in" menu (on Windows, look under "Help"; on OSX, under "Photoshop"). If it is not listed:
      • check you have downloaded the correct version (Windows/Mac)
      • is it in the "File Formats" subdirectory of Photoshop's "Plugins" folder?
      • have you quit and re-launched Photoshop?
    • If you are running Vista and see the error "plugin entry point not found", try restarting and reinstalling, or see this post.
    • The plugin is not a Filter or Import/Export plugin, so don't look for it there. It appears as a format option when Opening or Saving (eligible images).
    • The ICO format does not allow images more than 256 pixels high or wide.
    • Only Bitmap, Grey Scale, Indexed and RGB mode images, no more than 8 bits per channel, can be saved as ICO.
    • Using Windows98? If you see messages about "Assertion Failed", please download this alternative build. (Thanks to Qwerky for pointing out this issue.)


    • Reads and writes .ICO and .CUR files of 1,4,8 bits as Indexed modeimages, and 16,24,32 bit as RGB mode
    • If an input file contains multiple icons, a dialog box prompts to select one(indicates pixel size and colour depth of each contained icon).
    • Files created by the plugin contain a single icon or cursor only.To create "suites" of icons of multiple sizes and/or colour depths,you can save them individually and combine with myicobundlecommand line utility.
    • In version 1.7 and later, when saving an icon, it is possible to save in either standard ICO or PNG (Vista) compressed formats. The latter format is less compatible with other software and in particular should not be used for favicons.

    How to add a "favourites" icon (favicon, favicon.ico) to your web site

    1. Create the file named favicon.ico with your desired graphic (as "standard ICO" format, if asked when saving by version 1.7)
    2. Put it at the root level of your web site. (If you want Internet Explorer to recognise it, it must be 16x16 pixels in size.)
    3. Put a tag as follows in the <HEAD>...</HEAD> section of your top-level HTML page (home page):
      <LINK REL="SHORTCUT ICON" HREF="favicon.ico">

    More references:

    ...and many others.

    About transparency

    The ICO format has an inherent 1 bit transparency mask (0 = opaque, 1 = transparent), called the AND bitmap.

    • When reading or saving an RGB mode image in Photoshop 6.0 or later, layer transparency is used for the mask
    • If the image is Indexed mode, and uses a "transparent index", this will be used to set the icon mask
    • In other cases, the ICO mask is treated as an alpha channel (black = 0 = opaque, white = 255 = transparent)
    • In PNG (Vista) format icons, the alpha channel is simply stored as part of the PNG. There is no separate mask.

    Saving indexed mode images

    To ensure output files are as compact as possible, the smallest pixel depth is chosen sufficient to represent the colours used by the icon:

    • RGB mode: no colour table
    • Indexed/Grey Scale mode with >16 colours: 8 bits per pixel (up to 256 colours in colour table)
    • Indexed/Grey Scale mode with >2 colours: 4 bits per pixel (up to 16 colours in colour table)
    • Bitmap or Indexed/Grey Scale mode with 2 or fewer colours: 1 bit per pixel (up to 2 colours in colour table)

    A note on file sizes (Mac only)

    Do not be alarmed if the Mac Finder shows an unexpectedly large file size for ICO files saved out of Photoshop. The ICO itself is stored in the data fork and is as small as possible (see above).

    The Finder's size calculation is increased by Photoshop's prolific "metadata" in the resource fork,and does not truly reflect the size of the ICO data. (This is stored for all files saved out of Photoshop,regardless of format, and whether image thumbnails and previews are enabled in Preferences.) Finder's "K" size is also affected by the volume's minimum allocation size (often 4 or 8K depending on partition size).

    On upload to a web site, the data fork alone is copied and the resource fork is stripped, and so this extra data(and Finder's padded figure) has no effect or relevance whatsoever. The "true" logical size of the ICO filecan be confirmed in OSX's Terminal with ls -l in the icon's directory (or files -x br in MPWShell).

    About 32-bit (Windows XP) icons

    The plugin can create 32-bit icons with 8-bit alpha transparency. This will occur in two cases:

    1. in Photoshop 6.0 or later, saving a layered RGB image (i.e. not flattened)
    2. in any version of Photoshop, saving a flat RGB image with 2 or more alpha channels.

    In the first case, the layer transparency will be used as the ICO alpha.The 1-bit "AND mask" is taken from the first alpha channel, or if there is no available alpha channel,is derived from layer transparency.

    In the second case, the first alpha channel is used to create the 1-bit "AND mask",and the second alpha channel becomes the 8-bit ICO alpha.

    In both cases, the colour data is set to zero (black) where the icon is transparent. This should produce the desired result (complete transparency over the background).

    Still confused, or having trouble?

    Don't hesitate to write to us.

    ICO (Windows Icon) file format plugin for Photoshop (2024)


    How do I install an ICO file in Photoshop? ›

    1. Go to the site Telegraphics scroll down to ICO Format then, on the right select either 32bit, 64bit, ot Mac depending on your PC.
    2. Go to your Photoshop CC install ~ [Drive Letter]:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop 2021\Plug-ins\
    3. Creat a new folder named File Formats place the file ICOFormat_.

    How do I convert PNG to ICO in Photoshop? ›

    How to convert a PNG to a ICO file? Choose the PNG file that you want to convert. Select ICO as the the format you want to convert your PNG file to. Click "Convert" to convert your PNG file.

    How do I format an icon in Photoshop? ›

    How to Create Icon in Photoshop - YouTube

    How do I open a .ICO file in Windows? ›

    How to open ICO files with CorelDRAW
    1. Launch CorelDRAW.
    2. Choose File > Open.
    3. Find the ICO file you wish to open.
    4. Select the File(s)
    5. Edit & Save Your File!

    Can Photoshop save ICO files? ›

    Now, go into Photoshop and make a new document and select Save As. Scroll through the list of formats, and you should see . ICO in the list now. If it's missing, make sure your file is 256 x 256 pixels or smaller, as the ICO format doesn't support images larger than that.

    How do I install Photoshop plugins? ›

    For example, if you are installing an extension for Photoshop, install Photoshop first.
    1. Download the Creative Cloud desktop app.
    2. Go to the Stock & Marketplace tab, and then select Plugins. ...
    3. Search for your plugin.
    4. When you find a plugin you'd like to install, select Get or Learn more.
    Jun 3, 2022

    How do I convert PNG to ICO in Windows? ›

    How to convert PNG to ICO
    1. Upload png-file(s) Select files from Computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, URL or by dragging it on the page.
    2. Choose "to ico" Choose ico or any other format you need as a result (more than 200 formats supported)
    3. Download your ico.

    How do I create a .ICO file? ›

    So, after you create or import a suitable image into Paint and set it to the correct dimensions, creating the ICO file is straightforward. From the Paint menu, choose Save As, and then select JPEG Picture from the menu of file formats that pops up. Next, enter a filename with the . ico extension and save the file.

    Can I just rename a PNG to ICO? ›

    Take any PNG file and rename it with a . ico extension. Really, that's all it is. See also The evolution of the ICO file format, part 4: PNG images.

    How do I convert a JPEG to an icon in Photoshop? ›

    Photoshop: Turn Objects Into Icons - YouTube

    How do I open ICO files in Photoshop? ›

    To use the plugin
    1. Use Photoshop's Open command (File menu) to open .ICO and .CUR files (which will now appear in the file browser)
    2. Use Photoshop's Save command to create . ICO and . CUR files.
    3. If saving . CUR, note that the cursor hotspot is defined by the ruler origin.
    May 24, 2022

    What program can open ICO files? ›

    Programs that open ICO files
    • File Viewer for Android. Google Photos.
    • Apple Preview. Included with OS. Lemkesoft GraphicConverter. Inkscape. GIMP. ...
    • File Viewer Plus. Microsoft Photos. Included with OS. Microsoft Paint. Included with OS. ...
    • Linux. Inkscape. GIMP.
    • Web. Google Photos. Google Drive.
    • iOS. Google Photos.
    • Chrome OS. Google Photos.
    Nov 19, 2021

    What format is an icon file on Windows? ›

    The ICO file format is an image file format for computer icons in Microsoft Windows. ICO files contain one or more small images at multiple sizes and color depths, such that they may be scaled appropriately.

    How do I open ICO files in Photoshop? ›

    To use the plugin
    1. Use Photoshop's Open command (File menu) to open .ICO and .CUR files (which will now appear in the file browser)
    2. Use Photoshop's Save command to create . ICO and . CUR files.
    3. If saving . CUR, note that the cursor hotspot is defined by the ruler origin.
    May 24, 2022

    Where is Photoshop plugin folder? ›

    Launch Photoshop and go to Window > Extension (Legacy) to find your installed plug-ins.

    How do I save a logo as an icon? ›

    Go to the location of the picture you want to use as your Windows icon, then click the picture to select it. Click Open. It's in the bottom-right corner of the window. Doing so will prompt the picture to upload to ICO Convert.

    How do I create a folder icon in Photoshop? ›

    How to Make a Folder Icon in Photoshop - YouTube

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