In OS X, you can customize files and folders by changing their icons. It can be as simple as copying and pasting to give your folders custom icons that you can identify more easily. If you use a graphics application like Photoshop, you could even design your own original custom icons for files and folders.
- [Voiceover] In this movie I want to show you how you can change the icon for any file or folder in OS X El Capitan. I'll also show you some extra ideas that you can use to put this feature to good use. I want to start by making a new folder on my desktop. I can do this anywhere on my hard drive, but it will be easier to see on the desktop. So I'll just click somewhere on the desktop. I'll go into the File menu in Finder and I'll choose New Folder. I'm going to give this the name Explore California. So now I have a new folder and my plan is to put all of my files related to the Explore California project into this folder but take a look at the icon.
It has the standard icon for a normal folder. What I want to do is make this folder easier to see by giving it a different icon. So first I need an image for that icon. I actually have that in a folder here. So let me dig into the folder where I have this picture and I'm going to double click on this picture. By default, when I double click on a picture, it opens in Preview. I do need to have this open in Preview. So if you have some other application as your default application when you open a picture, I want you to open it in Preview specifically.
What we're going to do is copy it from Preview so we can paste it somewhere else. So here in Preview, I'm going to go to the Edit menu. I'm going to do Select All so that the entire picture is selected. I'll go back into the Edit menu and I'll hit Copy. So now I'm ready to paste it somewhere, but where are we going to paste it? Well, here's what we'll do. We'll select the new folder that we just made and I need to see information about that folder. So I'll use the keyboard command for Get Info which is Cmd I. I could also go into the File menu and choose Get Info from there.
Ok so now I've got information about this folder. I see a bunch of things like the size of the folder and when it was created and all that, but what we're really interested in here is the icon, which we see up in the top left corner. We can do lots of things to that icon. We can select it and from there I could copy or paste something into that slot. So since I just copied something from Preview, with this icon selected, I can do the keyboard shortcut Cmd V to paste and now I've pasted that picture into the icon slot for this folder.
If I close this, now I can see that icon has been changed for this folder. So now I can identify my Explore California project folder a little easier because of this icon. So that's the core of what we want to do here. Whatever image you can copy to the clipboard can be pasted as a file or folder icon, even the icon from another file or folder. So for example, if I wanted to switch this back to the regular folder icon, I could select some other folder that has the correct icon.
I'll just use this folder right here. I'll hit Cmd I to get info on that. I'll select this icon. I'll use the keyboard shortcut Cmd C to copy. Then I'll go to the information on this new folder. I'll select the icon there and I'll hit Cmd V to paste. Now, something interesting happened here and I do see this fairly often where I did paste the new icon here, but it did not update visually. Everything is just fine, you just need to force it to update and one way to do that would be to move this to another location.
So I'll just move it to this folder and then I'll move it right back and now you can see that icon is updated. Sometimes you just need to jog it like that. So that's the basic idea and it's pretty easy, but I want to take this a step further, but to do this you're going to need some image editing tool like Photoshop. So this part may not be for everybody, but what I want to do is make my own icon. I want it to still look like a folder icon, but I also want it to have that Explore California logo. So here's what I'm going to do. I'll start by selecting a normal folder so I can get the normal icon.
I'll do Get Info on that. Select the icon in the Get Info window and I'll hit Cmd C to copy it. So now I'm ready to paste that somewhere. Next I'm going to flip over to Photoshop. I already have Photoshop running here. I want to create a new image document based on what I just copied. So I'm going to go into the File menu and I'll hit New. Since I have something sitting in the clipboard, ready to be pasted somewhere, the default document size here is set to clipboard. So I know that the size is correct. The only thing I need to change here, I don't want to background to be white, I want it to be transparent and I'll hit Ok.
So now in this new image, I'll just use the keyboard shortcut for paste, Cmd V, and that pastes the icon that I copied a moment ago. So far so good. Let me go back to Preview where I still have this logo picture and I'm going to copy that. So I'll Cmd C on that. Flip back over to Photoshop, Cmd V here. So now in Photoshop, I have two layers. I have Layer 1 which is the folder icon and Layer 2 which is the Explore California logo. I want to make sure I select Layer 2 and I want to transform this.
I want to make this a different size. So I'm going to go to the Edit menu. I'm going to go to Free Transform and then I can grab the corners of this. Actually let me hold the Shift key as I resize it so it will keep the proportions. I can make this larger. I'm not worried that it's getting pixelated here because this will be fairly small when I actually apply it to a folder. So what I want to do is just have this graphic on top of a folder icon and I can set this up however I want, but I think that looks good. I'll hit Return and now that's all set.
Now at this point you might be thinking that you could just copy this image that I have here from Photoshop and paste that as the folder icon, but I've found that copying and pasting multilayer images from Photoshop doesn't really work for this. Instead what you can do is save this. So I'm going to go into File, I'm going to do Save As. For now I'm just going to save it to the desktop. I'm going to call this ECFolderIcon. I do want to save it as a PNG file, which is a specific type of image file.
Alright so that's all good. I'll hit Save and I'll hit Ok here. Now I have that file on the desktop. I'm going to minimize Photoshop. Let's close Preview and I'll close this window as well. So now I have this folder icon. So what I'm going to do is double click to open that up in Preview. Again I'll do Edit, Select All. Then I'll copy it with Cmd C. Then I'll go to this new folder I created. Cmd I for Get Info. Select the icon, Cmd V to paste.
Again, it did not update visually. So all I need to do is open up some other folder. Let me just go here just to have some folder. I'll drag it there and then drag it back just so it updates visually. Now I have my own custom-made icon applied to this folder. It still looks like a folder but it has that special graphic on top of it so I can really pick it out if I've got a whole bunch of other icons around it. This I can just delete, so I'll just drag that to the trash.
I don't need that anymore. For some people, I think custom visuals go a long way to help you find things. If you have a lot of icons on your desktop or in a folder this can be a great way of quickly finding what you're looking for and if you are comfortable with graphic design, you might experiment with making your own original icon designs.
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