Best Free Icon Editor and Replacer

 

Introduction

Icon editors allow you to edit an icon file, which is basically an image file with the .ico extension and contains one or more small images at multiple sizes and colour depths. They also allow you to create new icons to replace your program or system icons, and favicons (short for favorites icons) that are used on websites, as seen in the browser address bar, tabs and bookmarks, such as this Gizmo's favicon.

An icon editor needs to have a program or system icon replacement function also built in, otherwise the icons you create cannot easily be used.

Icons are normally saved at 32 x 32px 256-color .ico files, but 48 x 48px, 64 x 64px, or 128 x 128px is sometimes used. Favicons need to be saved as 16 x 16px 256-color .ico files. You can create icons in full-color (and it's best to do so), but favicons for web use need to be saved in 256-color—don't save your icons in any other profile or format as they will not be able to be viewed on some platforms.

 

In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 

Discussion

Greenfish Icon Editor ProNot all Pro software products are commercial. Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is indeed a freeware program, complete with professional tools to create, edit, open and save icon files. It allows you to extract and patch icons in the executable files, or batch convert image files to icons and other image formats.

The program handles icon libraries and supports ico, cur, ani, png, xpm, bmp, jpg and gif image file formats, including Vista compatible png compressed icons.

In addition to icons, it allows you to design cursors, small pixel graphic, animation or static images. Some other useful features such as drop shadow, glow and bevel are supported.

This program is designed for ease of use, lightweight and portable, just download the zip file and run the executable.

 

IcoFXAlternatively, IcoFX is a good freeware icon editor which is worth a try. It has a wealth of tools and equipped with more than 40 image effects, but common to most image editors, you need to spend some time to get familiar with the tools.

The program allows you to create icons for your programs, setup files, or favicons for your website or blog. It also allows you to convert your favorite images to icons, or icons to images. Conversion between Macintosh and Windows icons are supported. Other features include supporting Vista icons with PNG compression, true color, transparency (alpha channel) and batch processing capability.

Similar to Greenfish Icon Editor Pro, IcoFX allows you to create icon libraries, extract and patch icons inside the executable files. However, on some executable files which I tried, the former seems work better than the latter.

Unfortunately, the new version of IcoFX has turned commercial and the last free version is no more supported by the developer.

 

Tips

Extract a favicon from a web page?

Google provides a simple service to extract a favicon and return it in a png file format from a web page. By entering the following in the address bar with a specific domain (e.g. techsupportalert.com), you will get one.

http://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain=techsupportalert.com

 

Related Products and Links

Free Icon Sets:

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Quick Selection Guide

Greenfish Icon Editor Pro
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Create, edit, open and save icon files, extract and patch icons in executable files, batch convert, gradient styles and filters, etc.
Drag and drop an image from some browsers such as Chrome not supported. Developer's homepage is sometimes not available.
3.0
1.6 MB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 95 to Windows 7

Portable Version: http://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/Multimedia/Graphics/Porta...
Supported image files: ico, cur, ani, png, xpm, bmp, jpg and gif.

IcoFX
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Plenty to tools, more than 40 image effects, convert between Macintosh and Windows icons, batch processing capability, etc.
Extracting and patching icons in some executable files are found not as good as Greenfish Icon Editor Pro.
http://icofx.ro/
v1.6.4 (last free version)
1.46 MB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Win 98 to XP

The product under this review is the last free version which is no more supported by the developer. The above download is from the third party website. The portable last free version is available here.

 

Editor

This category is maintained by volunteer editor Jojo Yee. Registered members can contact the editor with comments or suggestions by clicking here.
You can visit the Google+ profile page of Jojo Yee here.

 

Tags

icon editor, icon replacer, free icon, freeware, favorite icon, favicon, system icon, folder icon, file icon, program icon, setup file icon, website icon, web icon, shortcut icon, url icon, bookmark icon

Back to the top of the article.

 

Share this
3.8
Average: 3.8 (20 votes)
Your rating: None

Comments

by Panzer on 1. February 2014 - 9:03  (114118)

"... Junior Icon Editor 4.33 will help you to:
- Create and edit icons in color depths up to 16 million colors
- Create and edit icons for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 in 32-bit color depth with 8-bit alpha channel
- Edit .png icons for web, Linux, Android, iOS, WP7
- Paint images with pen, brush, airbrush, ellipse, rectangle, line, curve tools
- Roll, shift and rotate images
- Import and export .ico, .png, .xpm, .xbm, and .icpr formats
- Sort images inside icons
- Copy and paste images to other applications
- Copy and paste color values from the clipboard ...":

http://www.sibcode.com/junior-icon-editor/index.htm

by Jojo Yee on 2. February 2014 - 6:26  (114142)

Thanks Panzer for the suggestion. I tried it but found that it was pretty basic when compared with those selected. Each time you run this program, it prompts you to purchase icons from its related websites, some of which are badly rated at Web of Trust.

by NiteCyper on 24. July 2013 - 7:12  (109544)

I registered just to say thank you so much. It's not easy to find a freeware program to extract icons from .exes.

by cobwebid on 4. January 2014 - 6:42  (113397)

Same here, registered just to say thanks. :)

by Anupam on 24. July 2013 - 7:22  (109545)

Thanks for posting :). Glad you could find something of use.

by thomasiconstool (not verified) on 12. October 2012 - 3:54  (100666)

Hi Guys! I like this, very easy to use: http://www.seanau.com/free_icon_toolkit/

by Andy M (not verified) on 10. August 2012 - 8:51  (97500)

Greenfish installed, open and run fine. No ads as promised. Have just replaced IconEditor with it as the old program wasn't Windows7 compliant. Greenfish is as easy to use, features layers (nice), merging and flattening. No gripes from me. Would recommend.

by Ya!Wego (not verified) on 5. August 2012 - 7:00  (97227)

i think LiquidIcon XP is one of the best:

http://www.x2studios.com/OSX_Win_Products.html

[Moderator's note : Blog link replaced with link to home site of the software]

by Jojo Yee on 10. August 2012 - 9:16  (97501)

Thanks for the suggestion Ya!Wego. It looks quite basic when compared with the applications reviewed in this article. You can load only one image at a time from an ico file containing multiple images. 256 colors icons are supported well but not 24-bit colors in my tests.

by ehorwitz1 on 27. April 2012 - 19:13  (92704)

Looks like Greenfish has a new website:

[Edit] Link removed. As per alexxx46's comment below, although rated green by WOT (Web Of Trust), the site address given is indeed flagged as malicious by both Norton and URL Void

http://safeweb.norton.com/report/show?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgreenfish.cixx6.com
http://urlvoid.com/scan/greenfish.cixx6.com/

The site seems to be written in HTML5, so don't even try viewing it with IE8 or earlier (my mistake!). Use IE9, Firefox, Chrome or ???

Downloading to try it out now. I used the free version of IcoFX for a couple years and liked it. The screenshot on Greenfish's site looks a lot like the old IcoFX.

Product now has separate portable and installable versions, help packages in three languages, and downloadable tutorials on installation and usage.

Enjoy!

by alexxx46 on 27. April 2012 - 19:50  (92707)

Malicious site!

by anomander (not verified) on 4. March 2012 - 23:08  (89916)

Greenfish is superb. 5 Stars!

But their webpage seems to have been taken down.

by Jojo Yee on 5. March 2012 - 2:36  (89925)

Thanks Anomander. Its homepage was relying a third-party web hosting site and now not available. Updated both installer and portable versions available at Softpedia.

by Australia (not verified) on 17. December 2011 - 5:43  (85170)

IcoFX last freeware version -
Just a warning regarding the Softonic download page for IcoFX ...
The most prominent link is a Softonic Downloader link, which is bundled with spyware or junkware
You have to scroll down to "Alternative IcoFX download" from an external server - this is the legitimate spyware free version
Just like Download.com, Softonic is pushing spyware on unsuspecting people

These days you have to look twice before you choose to download software even from established sites :(

Anyway, I tried IcoFX freeware version 1.64, and used the Gizmo website recommended "32 x 32" "256-color .ico file" settings, and made my very first very nice icon. The program was nice. And FREE ! Thanks again :)

by Storm (not verified) on 19. October 2011 - 12:16  (81698)

Well i think this is perfect place for IconTweaker [similar to Icon Packager but free] so maybe u guys can add IT as icon replacer.

by ShinzuiUindo on 15. October 2011 - 8:10  (81431)

What is greenfish icon editor even doing here? It can't save the icons so it's not useful at all. Well it saves them but they are locked and the system doesn't have access to them.

by Anupam on 5. September 2011 - 18:37  (79034)

Jojo, is IcoFx still free? A new version came out, and I went to its site to download, but I cannot see any free version there, nor any license page, where it says free for personal use, or anything like that.
It seems like its not free anymore. Please check.

by Jojo Yee on 6. September 2011 - 3:30  (79050)

Thanks for the info Anupam. Looks like the new version 2.0 has turned commercial.

You still can get the previous free version from 3rd party sites such as here http://icofx.en.softonic.com/download

by Anupam on 6. September 2011 - 6:03  (79057)

Its sad to see these free products go commercial.

by veekay on 12. December 2010 - 19:25  (62366)

Bumping this older topic.

A must-have feature for any decent icon editor is that images and fonts should be anti-aliased while retaining the transparency, during icon resizing, orientation rotation and format conversion operations.

I have used IcoFX in the past, and can vouch for its stability and versatility. It also has a good standing with the graphics design community, which is another point in its favor.

Over the years, I have been an ardent user of Microangelo (in my office), which is the benchmark for all icon editing/collection tools, so it is good for home users and freelance designers, that even the freeware alternatives are improving to market standards.

Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is something I hadn't tried. Its 2.1 version adds many features including the antialiasing, so I'm giving it a whirl now. Greenfish also have some other freeware tools on their site, such as the DataMiner which is a recovery tool for optical discs. They have few other tools, and truth be told, I am kinda scratching my head on how they can be used realistically and what their target audience is. Anyway, Softpedia has given these products a 100% clean rating, and that's good enough for me.

I think this topic can do with some more feedback from the design community, and what kind of features they expect/use in such freeware design tools. I am sure the developers of these freeware tools would appreciate positive suggestions and grateful gestures.

by caduser (not verified) on 2. September 2010 - 14:09  (57141)

Like greenfish but wish it had drag and drop page feature like icofx I prefer to prebuild my sizes so I can use a different one for lower resolutions so a drag from a browser or straight from folder so they can be imported as pages would be cool.

by Anonymous on 28. November 2009 - 15:29  (37468)

I have a compiler that doesn't like Icofx icons - I saved specifically as 32x32 x 256, though it readily accepts various readymade icons littering my hard-drive. Still looking.

by Anonymous on 17. November 2009 - 7:50  (36755)

i begin with a small img (eg: "icon size" image search for reactos, or haiku, etc) Then resize in irfanview so i have 16,32,48px icon files.
then load all 3 into @iconsushi, and save as one multiicon.

but I'd rather have an app that can do all of that within a few builtin commands. perhaps i could write batch to do much of it but, besides writing&debug effort, I'd like to monitor the intermediate visual results.

i wonder if any iconeditor can export to base64?

by Anonymous on 4. August 2009 - 16:22  (26257)

Greenfish Icon Editor Pro - Cool things!))) 5 balls!!!

by Anonymous on 23. July 2009 - 16:05  (25649)

One downside to Greenfish Icon Editor Pro is that the resize function does not anti-alias the pixel information, making for ragged resizes and loss of detail. :(

by Anonymous on 30. January 2010 - 19:52  (42434)

Hello,

The antialiasing feature you requested will be added to the next version (2.1), which will be uploaded to (link removed). Extra.hu does not offer free webhosting from April 2010 any more, so the Greenfish website had to be moved there.

Balázs Szalkai
author of GFIE Pro

Moderators comment:
Link removed because of unsatisfactory WOT rating.
Only links which are green rated are allowed on this site.

by Anonymous on 6. November 2009 - 12:55  (36065)

True. I normally use Paint .NET in conjunction with Greenfish when I need to resize. I use Greenfish regularly and think it's great. Only real annoyance I've found is if you open Windows Task Manager when you are running Greenfish then you'll get a bunch of error boxes you'll have to close.

by chris.p on 17. June 2009 - 14:34  (24043)

Nice work Jojo!!

chris.p

by Anonymous on 21. May 2009 - 14:52  (22054)

For those of us (most of us) who have neither the time nor the inclination to go off editing system icons, Folder Marker Free allows you to better organise and highlight your personal stuff http://www.foldermarker.com/folder-marker-free.php

by Anonymous on 17. April 2010 - 1:42  (47829)

Folder Marker Free version is pretty crippled, no Context Menu operations, limited number of icons can be used, etc.

Gizmos Needs You

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting

 We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following areas:
 -  Mobile Platform App Reviews for Android and iOS
 -  Windows, Mac and Linux software reviews       Interested? Click here