How to Make an Icon for Windows 10 or 11 Out of Any Image

Last Updated: Feb 9, 2024 by

Icons are an essential part of the user experience on any operating system. They help users quickly identify and access their favorite apps, files, and folders. With the release of Windows 11, many users are looking to update their icons to match the new design. But what if you can’t find an icon that fits your needs? In this article, we’ll show you how to make an icon for Windows 10 or 11 out of any image, so you can customize your desktop to your liking.

Why Create Your Own Icon?

There are several reasons why you might want to create your own icon for Windows 10 or 11. Maybe you have a specific image that you want to use as an icon for a particular app or folder. Or perhaps you want to match the new design of Windows 11 and update all your icons accordingly. Whatever the reason may be, creating your own icon allows for more personalization and customization of your desktop.

Icon Development Tools

Before we dive into the steps of creating an icon, let’s first go over the tools you’ll need. There are several options for creating icons, but we’ll focus on two popular and user-friendly tools: Adobe Photoshop and GIMP.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful and widely used image editing software. It offers a variety of tools and features that make it a great option for creating icons. However, it is a paid software, so you’ll need to purchase a subscription to use it.


GIMP is a free and open-source image editing software that offers many of the same features as Adobe Photoshop. It’s a great alternative for those who don’t want to pay for a subscription. However, it may have a steeper learning curve for beginners.

Steps to Create an Icon for Windows 10 or 11

Now that you have the necessary tools, let’s go through the steps of creating an icon for Windows 10 or 11.

Step 1: Choose Your Image

The first step is to choose the image you want to use as your icon. It can be a photo, a logo, or any other image that you want to represent your app or folder. Keep in mind that the image will be resized to a smaller size, so choose an image that is clear and easy to recognize even when it’s small.

Step 2: Open the Image in Your Chosen Software

Once you have your image, open it in either Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. If you’re using Adobe Photoshop, make sure to open the image in the “New Document” window, and if you’re using GIMP, open it in the “Create a New Image” window.

Step 3: Resize the Image

Next, you’ll need to resize the image to the appropriate size for an icon. For Windows 10, the recommended size for icons is 256×256 pixels, and for Windows 11, it’s 512×512 pixels. In Adobe Photoshop, you can resize the image by going to “Image” > “Image Size” and entering the desired dimensions. In GIMP, you can resize the image by going to “Image” > “Scale Image” and entering the desired dimensions.

Step 4: Edit and Enhance the Image

Now that you have the image at the right size, you can edit and enhance it to make it look like an icon. You can use tools like the “Crop” tool, the “Brush” tool, and the “Eraser” tool to make any necessary changes. You can also add effects, adjust the colors, and add text to the image to make it stand out.

Step 5: Save the Image as an Icon File

Once you’re happy with the image, it’s time to save it as an icon file. In Adobe Photoshop, you can do this by going to “File” > “Save As” and selecting “ICO” as the file format. In GIMP, you can go to “File” > “Export As” and select “ICO” as the file type.

Step 6: Set the Icon for Your App or Folder

The final step is to set the icon for your app or folder. To do this, right-click on the app or folder and select “Properties.” Then, go to the “Customize” tab and click on the “Change Icon” button. Select the icon file you just created and click “OK.” Your app or folder will now have a custom icon.

Tips for Creating an Effective Icon

Creating an icon may seem like a simple task, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your icon is effective and stands out.

Keep It Simple

Icons are meant to be small and easily recognizable, so it’s essential to keep them simple. Avoid using too many colors or intricate designs that may not be clear when the icon is resized.

Use High-Quality Images

As mentioned earlier, the image you choose for your icon should be clear and easy to recognize, even when it’s small. Make sure to use high-quality images to avoid a blurry or pixelated icon.

Consider the Background

When creating an icon, it’s important to consider the background it will be placed on. If the background is dark, use a light-colored icon, and vice versa. This will ensure that the icon stands out and is easily visible.

Test It Out

Before setting your icon, test it out on your desktop to see how it looks. You may need to make some adjustments to the size or design to make sure it looks good on your desktop.

Examples of Custom Icons for Windows 10 and 11

To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples of custom icons for Windows 10 and 11.

App Icons

Custom app icons can make your desktop look more organized and visually appealing. You can use icons that match the theme of your desktop or create your own icons for a more personalized touch.

Folder Icons

Custom folder icons can help you quickly identify and access your most used folders. You can use different icons for different types of folders, making it easier to navigate through your files.

System Icons

You can even customize system icons, such as the recycle bin or the network icon. This can add a unique touch to your desktop and make it stand out from others.


Creating your own icon for Windows 10 or 11 is a simple and fun way to personalize your desktop. With the right tools and a little creativity, you can turn any image into a custom icon that represents your style and preferences. So go ahead and give it a try, and make your desktop truly your own.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.