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Guide to Customizing Icons On Your Mac

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 2/3/2012

Are you the kind of person that loves customizing anything and everything on your computer? If so, one way to customize the look of your computer is by changing your icons.

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    Finding New Icons to Use

    In order to change your icons, you first need something to change them to. This can be accomplished in two ways:

    1. You can download icons from the internet (http://interfacelift.com/icons-mac/ is a great place to start) or

    2. You can find an image you want to use on your computer.

    Once you have your sources you are ready to go.

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    Customizing Icons

    To start, find the icon you want to change. Click it once and choose “Get info” from the File menu in the Finder. A small dialog window will open (figure 1). Next find the icon you want to change it to and follow the same procedure. Click the image of the new icon in the window until it is highlighted. Choose “Copy” from the Edit menu. Click the old icon in its window until it is highlighted. Choose “Paste” from the Edit menu. The new icon should be applied to the window and changed on the icon itself.

    If you are using an image file instead of an icon you will follow a slightly different procedure. Open the image in Preview and go to the Edit menu and choose “Select All.” Go back to the Edit menu and choose “Copy.” The image is now copied to the clipboard and same procedure for copying a new icon to the old one layed out above can now be followed. Click the icon you want to change and choose "Get Info" from the File menu in Finder. Click the icon in the window that opens so it is highlighted. Choose "Paste" from the Edit menu. The image you copied in Preview should now be the new icon.

    There's a few exceptions to these guidelines. Some icons will not take effect until your restart the computer. Other icons are locked down in the system and will not allow you to change them. And not all images will work, but most will.

    For those locked icons (usually system icons like the trash) you can use a program called LiteIcon. (see Figure 2.) LiteIcon is a simple to use program the will change these icons through dragging and dropping, and applying the changes. It works great and is easy to use.

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    Images

    Figure1FIgure2