ico Converter

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What is the ICO format?

The ICO format is an image file format developed by Microsoft. It's the default format of the computer icons' images on Windows.

It was released in 1987 at the same time as Windows 1.0.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the ICO format

The ICO format is the most appropriate format for computer icons because it has the following advantages:

Advantages

  • ICO files are considerably small.
  • ICO allows you to redimension the icons to different sizes.
  • The format, however, has its disadvantages:

Disadvantages

  • ICO's only usage is for computer icons.

ICO Format FAQs

How does the ICO format work?

An ICO file is not the image itself but a container that stores the icon's image.

The ICO format tells your computer that the image in it will be used as an icon. It also contains the same image at different color depths and sizes. That makes it possible that the icon can be appropriately scaled with no detriment in quality.


How do I create an ICO file?

Creating ICO files with Windows is not an issue. You can even do it with Microsoft Paint. It takes to open an image and save it in the ICO format. That's all.

But that's not enough to create an adequate computer icon. You must edit it until it matches the size and color icon's requirements.


Can a PNG image be in an ICO file?

The ICO format can contain PNG images since 2007, when Windows Vista was released.

Microsoft added such a feature to the ICO format to make ICO files smaller in size.

Making ICO files smaller became necessary because the icons' resolution increased alongside technological advances.


Does the ICO format work on macOS?

You'll fail if you download specific images in ICO format to use them as icons in your Mac. Since ICO is proprietary software, it only works on Windows.

It's possible to open ICO files on Mac, but they appear as common images. It's impossible to use them as actual icons.