How to Change a Shortcut Icon in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing a shortcut icon in Windows 11 is a straightforward process that can be completed in just a few steps. First, locate the shortcut whose icon you want to change, then right-click on it and select ‘Properties’. In the ‘Properties’ window, click on the ‘Change Icon’ button, choose a new icon from the list or browse for a custom icon file, and click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Change a Shortcut Icon in Windows 11

Before diving into the steps, let’s understand what we’re about to do. Changing a shortcut icon not only personalizes your desktop but can also make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Locate the Shortcut

Find the shortcut on your desktop or in a folder whose icon you wish to change.

Shortcuts are small files that link to the actual program, file, or folder. They usually have a small arrow on the bottom left to indicate they’re a shortcut.

Step 2: Access Properties

Right-click on the shortcut and select ‘Properties’ from the context menu.

The ‘Properties’ option is where you can modify different settings related to the shortcut, including the icon.

Step 3: Open the Change Icon Window

In the ‘Properties’ window, click on the ‘Change Icon’ button.

This button is usually located at the bottom of the ‘Shortcut’ tab in the ‘Properties’ window.

Step 4: Choose a New Icon

Select an icon from the list provided or click ‘Browse’ to choose a custom icon file.

Windows 11 includes a set of default icons, but you can also use any .ico file as a custom icon.

Step 5: Apply the Changes

After selecting your new icon, click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.

You might need to refresh your desktop or reopen the folder to see the updated icon.

After completing these steps, your shortcut will have a brand new icon that you’ve chosen. It’s a simple yet effective way to customize your Windows 11 experience.

Tips: How to Change a Shortcut Icon in Windows 11

  • Ensure the custom icon file is in .ico format as Windows 11 primarily supports this file type for icons.
  • If you cannot find a suitable icon, numerous websites offer free icon downloads.
  • Consider creating a backup of the original shortcut in case you want to revert to the default icon.
  • If the icon doesn’t update immediately, try restarting your computer.
  • Use high-resolution icons to ensure they look sharp and clear on your screen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a .png or .jpg file as a shortcut icon?

No, you must convert .png or .jpg files to .ico format before using them as a shortcut icon.

How do I convert an image to an .ico file?

You can use online converters or image editing software that supports saving files in .ico format.

Will changing the shortcut icon change the program’s actual icon?

No, it only changes the icon for that particular shortcut, not for the program itself.

Can I use custom icons for folder shortcuts as well?

Yes, the same method applies to folder shortcuts.

What should I do if the ‘Change Icon’ button is greyed out?

This might happen if the shortcut is linked to a system application. Try creating a new shortcut and changing the icon for that one.


  1. Locate the shortcut.
  2. Access ‘Properties’.
  3. Open ‘Change Icon’ window.
  4. Choose a new icon.
  5. Apply the changes.


Revamping your desktop with custom icons can add a personal touch to your Windows 11 experience. It’s not only about aesthetics, but also functionality. By changing your shortcut icons, you can create a more organized and visually appealing workspace that is uniquely yours. Remember, the key is to have fun and experiment with different icons that reflect your personality or make your workflow more intuitive. So go ahead, give your desktop a makeover and enjoy the fresh new look! Whether you’re a seasoned Windows user or new to the platform, mastering the art of customizing shortcut icons is sure to enhance your overall computing experience.

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