How to Make Custom Icons in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Custom Icons in Windows 11

Creating custom icons in Windows 11 is a great way to personalize your desktop. By following a few simple steps, you can change the appearance of folders, shortcuts, and system icons to better suit your style. This guide will walk you through the process, from creating your icon to applying it on your desktop.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Make Custom Icons in Windows 11

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a custom icon, save it, and apply it to a folder or shortcut in Windows 11. By the end of these steps, your desktop will be uniquely yours.

Step 1: Create Your Icon

First, create an image for your icon using graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop or free options like GIMP or Paint.NET.

When designing your icon, ensure the image is clear and recognizable at small sizes. Save the image in a format that can be converted to an .ico file, such as PNG or JPEG.

Step 2: Convert the Image to an Icon File

Second, use an online converter like ICOConvert or a desktop tool to convert your image into an .ico file.

Upload your image to the converter, and follow the tool’s instructions to generate an .ico file. Save this file on your computer for easy access.

Step 3: Locate the Item to Customize

Third, find the folder or shortcut you want to customize on your desktop or within File Explorer.

Make sure it’s an item you frequently use or one that would benefit from a distinct icon for easy identification.

Step 4: Open Properties

Fourth, right-click the item you want to customize and select "Properties" from the context menu.

This will open a window where you can change various settings for the selected item, including its icon.

Step 5: Change the Icon

Fifth, navigate to the "Customize" tab (for folders) or the "Shortcut" tab (for shortcuts), and click on the "Change Icon" button.

A new window will open, allowing you to browse for and select your custom .ico file.

Step 6: Apply Your Custom Icon

Finally, browse to the location of your custom .ico file, select it, and click "OK" to apply the new icon.

Click "Apply" or "OK" in the Properties window to save your changes. Your selected item will now display the custom icon.

Once you complete these steps, the folder or shortcut will display your custom icon, making it stand out and adding a personal touch to your desktop.

Tips for Making Custom Icons in Windows 11

  1. Keep it simple: Simple designs work best for icons because they remain clear even when resized.
  2. Use transparent backgrounds: Icons with transparent backgrounds look cleaner on your desktop.
  3. Test visibility: Make sure your icon is distinguishable at different sizes before finalizing it.
  4. Backup the original icons: Save a copy of the default icons in case you want to revert back.
  5. Organize your icons: Keep all your custom .ico files in a dedicated folder for easy access.

Frequently Asked Questions on Custom Icons in Windows 11

How do I revert to the original icon?

To revert to the original icon, open the Properties window, click on "Change Icon," and select the default icon from the list provided.

Can I use any image as an icon?

You can use most images, but they need to be converted into the .ico format. Ensure the image is clear and properly sized.

Is it possible to change system icons?

Yes, you can change system icons, but it requires additional steps and permissions. Be cautious when altering system files.

Are there any size restrictions for icons?

Icons typically work best at 256×256 pixels, but they need to be recognizably clear at smaller sizes too.

Will custom icons affect system performance?

Custom icons usually have a negligible impact on performance, but using very large or highly detailed icons may slow down older systems.


  1. Create Your Icon: Design an image for your icon.
  2. Convert the Image: Change the image to an .ico file.
  3. Locate the Item: Find the folder or shortcut to customize.
  4. Open Properties: Right-click and select "Properties."
  5. Change the Icon: Navigate to the appropriate tab and click "Change Icon."
  6. Apply Your Custom Icon: Select your .ico file and save the changes.


Personalizing your Windows 11 desktop by making custom icons is a straightforward way to add a unique flair to your workspace. By following these easy steps—creating an icon, converting it to the .ico format, and applying it to your chosen items—you can transform how your desktop looks and feels.

Experiment with different designs and enjoy the creative process. If you ever feel like switching things up, you can always revert to the original icons or create new ones. Custom icons not only make your desktop visually appealing but also help you quickly identify important files and shortcuts. So, why not give it a try and see how a small change can make a big difference? For more advanced customization, you might explore further into the world of Windows theming and UI tweaks. Happy customizing!

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