How To Change the Icon of a Shortcut

In a previous tutorial, I have shown how to create a shortcut in Windows 7 with a few clicks. Today I continue the series on shortcuts with a brief tutorial about how to change the icon of any shortcut on your Windows 7 computer. As you will see, the procedure is pretty straight-forward.

What Is An Icon?

An icon is a small graphical symbol used to represent different types of items like: applications, folders, devices, web pages, commands, etc. In Windows 7, icons are almost everywhere: on your Desktop, taskbar, Start Menu, menus of application such as Microsoft Paint, etc.

The most common file types for icons are:

  • '.ico' - the most known file format used for icons in Microsoft Windows operating systems;
  • '.exe' - icons can be embedded into the executable files of an application;
  • '.dll' - sets of icons can also be embedded into DLL (Dynamic-link library) files.

How To Change the Shortcut Icon of a Program or Folder

Right click on the shortcut who's icon you want to change and select Properties.

Icon of A Shortcut

Go to the Shortcut tab and press the Change Icon button.

Icon of A Shortcut

In the Change Icon window, you have a list with the icons included alongside that application or folder. Here you can select a new icon to be used. Click the Browse button to navigate to where the new icon is found.

Icon of A Shortcut

Select the file which contains the new icon and click on the Open button.

Icon of A Shortcut

NOTE: The icon you intend to use is recommended to have size of 256x256 pixel, so that it is properly displayed when you use the Large icons view. Smaller icons work too but they don't look great when using this view.
If the file you selected contains more than one icon, select the one you want. When done, press the OK button.

Icon of A Shortcut

To confirm the icon change, click the OK button once again.

Icon of A Shortcut

Now the icon is changed.

How To Change the Icon of a Shortcut to a Web Page

When you need to change the icon of a shortcut to a website, the procedure is almost the same. You start with a right click on the shortcut and then a click on Properties.

In the Properties window, you need to go to the Web Document tab and press the Change Icon button.

Icon of A Shortcut

From now on, the steps are the same as those in the previous section: click on the Browse button, select the file containing the icon, select the new icon and confirm by pressing the OK button.

How To Change the Icon of a Folder

When you need to change the icon of a folder, the procedure is the same as in the How To Change the Shortcut Icon of a Program or Folder section. The only difference is that, instead of going to the Shortcut tab, you go to the Customize tab.

Conclusion

As you can see from this tutorial, changing the icon of any shortcut is quite trivial. If you have any questions or problems, don't hesitate to use the form below.