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How Do I Save a .ICO File in Photoshop?

Last updated on November 22, 2022 @ 4:54 pm

If you want to save a .ico file in Photoshop, there are a few things you need to know. For starters, ICO files are currently not available in the file formats existing within Photoshop. If you’re planning to save an image or design as a .ico file, a plug-in is required.

Secondly, ICO files are supported in both Windows and Mac, so keep in mind to choose the right operating system when you download the .ico file plug-in. Finally, ICO files are only supported in 8-bit and 32-bit color modes.

If you have any version of Photoshop and you’re using Windows, then you can save .ico files by following the steps below.

First, go to your Downloads folder or the location of the file where you saved the downloaded .ico file plug-in.

Open the zipped file, select the ICO format plug-in file, right-click on it with your mouse, then select “Copy”.

Next, go to the location of the Adobe Photoshop application folder by going to This PC > Program Files > Adobe. Then, select the Adobe Photoshop folder.

In the Adobe Photoshop folder, go to the search bar at the top-right corner and type in “file format”, then click the search arrow. From the search results, select and open the “File Formats” folder.

From there, you can see the existing file format plug-ins within Photoshop. Right-click on a blank space within the folder, then select “Paste”.

You might encounter a pop-up about administrator permission, if so, just click on “Continue”.

Now, you can see that the ICO format is already in the available file formats within Photoshop.

Next, proceed to Photoshop to save your design or image as a .ico file. In the top menu, click on “Image”, and select image size.

As you can see, the original dimensions of the image are 480×480 pixels which are not within the range of the size requirements for ICO files.

NOTE: The size can be anything from 16×16 pixels up to 256×256 pixels.

Change the dimensions of the image from 480×480 pixels to 256×256 pixels, then click “OK”.

Now you can see the size of the image became smaller.

To save the image as a .ico file, click on “File” at the top menu, then select the “Save As…” option.

NOTE: You may also choose the “Save a Copy…” option depending on your preference.

A window will pop up where you can edit the image’s file name, and select your saved file folder location and preferred file type. For the preferred file type, select the box beside “Save as type:”.

Select the .ico file format from the drop-down menu.

Check if the selected file format is already reflected, then click on “Save”.

A pop-up window about the ICO format will appear upon saving. Select “Standard ICO”, then click “OK”.

Check the folder location where you saved the image to confirm. Search for the file name of the image. Here you can see that two of the same file names exist. The PNG file is the original file type of the image and the ICO file is the one saved earlier in Photoshop.


PRO TIP: If you are trying to save a .ICO file in Photoshop, you may lose some image data in the process. Make sure to back up your original image before saving as a .ICO file.

Once you’ve saved your ICO file, you can use it as the icon for a desktop shortcut. If you want to use your ICO file as the icon for a desktop shortcut, right-click on the shortcut and select “Properties.”

In the “Shortcut” tab, click on the “Change Icon” button.

Browse for your ICO file.

Once you’ve selected it, click on the “Open” button.

Once the selected file is reflected, select “OK”.

Check if the target shortcut is right, then select “Apply”.

Now you can see that the icon was applied to the shortcut folder!

In conclusion, if you want to save a .ico file in Photoshop, make sure that you have a plug-in installed on your Windows or Mac computer. Check that your color depth is in 8-bit or 32-bit color modes and that your image dimensions are within the range 16×16 pixels and 256×256 pixels. Lastly, go to File > Save as, select ICO format as your file type then click on “Save”.

Kathy McFarland

Kathy McFarland

Devops woman in trade, tech explorer and problem navigator.