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How can I use parts of some icons to create new ones?

There are many cases where you’ll want to use one of the standard icons (for example, the folder, disk or network icons.) These standard icons can act as an element in the new icon you are creating.

In this case, you’ll want to extract the pixels of the standard icon and get them into a Photoshop layer. This allows you to manipulate the image and create a new version of the icon with IconBuilder.

Here is the procedure we recommend for extracting the icon’s pixels:

  1. Download IconShop by LionTech. It’s a free tool that manages icons and icon libraries on Windows. We’re recommend using version 1.20 (alpha 905) since it supports 32-bit icons.
  2. After starting IconShop, navigate to C:\WINDOWS\system32 in the lefthand navigation bar. Then select shell32.dll in the file list. You’ll see a list of the standard icons below the file list.
  3. Select the icon you want to use, and use File > Export As… to save the icon as a file. In the dialog box, make sure to select the Save As type to “Icons (ICO)”, then enter a file name.
  4. After saving the file, start Photoshop. Create a new, blank layer and then launch IconBuilder.
  5. Use the Open button to have IconBuilder read the ICO file that you just saved.
  6. Select one of the icon resources (for example, 48×48) and use the “Apply to Photoshop Layer” button to save the pixels in the new layer you just created.

At this point, you can edit the icon as needed and save any changes with IconBuilder. The IconBuilder folder contains a Tutorial that explains how to create the icon.

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