Icon Editors

Filed under Icons, Utilities

I had to do some icon editing recently, and did a little digging for a decent, free (or nearly free) editor that supports the new Vista and XP style icons.

I turned up AWIcons lite that looks pretty good, for a freeware version of their pro app.

Then I happened upon IconFX. Wow! It’s not quite as polished and it’s missing a few minor features, but it’s a pretty slick package.

I also looked at Axialis and IconCool, but both are commercial and in the 50-60$ range, which isn’t bad, but still.

In the end, I like AWIcons for the UI and the ability to sort the icon images within a single icon to the order necessary for XP. It’s an SDI app (meaning you can only open one icon at a time in the app), but you can open multiple instances of the app, and cut/paste works seemlessly between them, so it’s not a deal breaker.

IconFX supports more effects, hue, saturation, plus drop shadow etc, but you can’t reorder the internal images. It is MDI, though, so you can load up any number of icons simultaneously to edit. The UI is a bit clunkier, but still perfectly functional.

There’s a very good writeup of a number of the better editors here. To summarize, they recommend Axialis, followed by MicroAngelo, AWIcons and IconCool. Personally, I ran into errors after installing IconCool, so I’m not so sure about that one.

Looks like there’s hundreds more, but these seem like the most capable. Anybody know of others that are good?


  1. Ralf says:

    I stopped looking years ago when I found Microangelo (reviewed at the donationcoders link above).

    Microangelo does everything I need, is cheap, and I’m certain the new version does Vista. But I doubt I’ll find out anytime soon since I’ve installed Vista exactly once on a test mule and decided it sucks. 🙂

  2. Darin says:

    I like Microangelo. It’s been around forever, and it’s got quite a few nice features for generating well colored icons.
    I guess I like the "object build blocks" approach in Axialis a little more. I’ve found that for about 95% of the icons I need to put together, I can do so by essentially combining elements of other icons, then tweaking the colors to get things blending well.
    But I’m definitely no professional Icon artist, so take that for what it’s worth<g>

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