Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Change icons for files and folders, part of macOS Sierra Tips and Tricks.
- [Narrator] In this movie, I want to show you how you can change the icon for any file or folder in MacOS. I'll also show you some extra ideas you can use to put this feature to good use. I'll start by making a new folder on my desktop. So, I can just click anywhere on the desktop, then go into the file menu, and choose new folder. I can do this anywhere on my hard drive, but it will be easier to see what we're doing if we just work on the desktop here. So now I have this new folder, and I'm going to change the name. So I'm just going to click on it, hit return, and I'm going to type in Explore California, just because that's the name of the project that I'm working on.
So any files related to my Explore California project might go into this folder, but take a look at the icon. It has the standard icon for a normal folder. I want to make this folder easier to see by giving it a different icon. So first, I need to find an image for that. Well, if I go into the files we've been using in this course, and just sort of dig down in here, I have a logo graphic here. I'm going to double click on that to open it up, and preview, and we can see what that logo looks like. Now, in order to do what I'm about to do, you do need to open this in preview.
So, if you have it set to open your picture files in another application by default, make sure you manually open this in preview. So, basically what I'm going to do is copy and paste this graphic somewhere. So here in preview I'm going to go into the edit menu, and I'll hit select all so that the entire graphic is selected. Then, I'll go back to the edit menu and hit copy, or I can do the keyboard shortcut command C. So, I've copied that, and I'm ready to paste it somewhere. So, to paste it, I'm going to go back to the folder we're working with. I'm going to select it, and then I need to see information for that folder.
So, I could go into the file menu and choose get info, or I could use a keyboard shortcut command I to get information on whatever I have selected. So this is the information about that file, and there's a bunch of useful information here, but we're really focused on this right here, that icon. This is of course the folder icon, but if I select that, I can copy or paste into this icon. So, since I already copied what I have over in preview, I can just select this, hit command V, which is the keyboard shortcut to paste, and now I've changed the icon for that folder.
So now, instead of looking like a normal folder icon, it has my graphic. So, I've really customized the icon for this folder. So that's the core of what we can do here, and I can do this to any file or any folder on my computer, and 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 icon back to the original folder icon, I just need to find another folder that currently has that icon, hit command I on that folder, select it, use the keyboard shortcut command C to copy that, go back to this other folder, command I to get information on that, click on the icon, and then the keyboard shortcut command V to paste, and now I've replaced that with the original folder icon again.
Next, I'd like to take this a step further, but you will need some image editing tool like Photoshop in order to do this next step. So, this next step may not be for everybody. What I want to do is make my own custom icon. I want it to still look like a folder icon, but I also want it to have that Explore California logo. So, what I'm going to do is start by getting the original icon. So, I'll click on this folder, command I to get information, select the icon, command C to copy it. Then, I'm going to go into Photoshop, and like I said you'll need some image editing application to do this.
I'm going to create a new document here in Photoshop, and when you have a picture copied to your clipboard, and you create a new document in Photoshop, it will automatically have the size and dimensions for whatever is currently copied to your clipboard. So, these settings are already exactly what I need. The only thing I want to change, I don't want a white background. I want a transparent background. So, I'll choose that, hit create, and then from here I'll hit the keyboard shortcut command V to paste what I had copied into my new Photoshop document.
So, now I just have a transparent background with that folder icon, and I want to have something else in this document. So, let me go back into that logo graphic that I had before. I'll open that up. I'll do again select all, and I'll copy that. Then I'll go back into Photoshop, and then let's paste this, and now we'll paste that graphic as another layer in this Photoshop document, and I just want to make this a little bit bigger. So, I want to make sure that layer is selected. I'll go into the edit menu, and I'll choose free transform.
I'll hold the shift key on my keyboard as I resize this graphic, and then I'll just sort of position this where I want it to be, and you could do basically whatever you want to create whatever graphic you want, and I'll get that in position, press return, and now this is the new icon that I want to use. Now, you make think that the next step would be to just copy and paste this over onto that other file, but it's not going to work if you just try to copy it straight out of Photoshop, and that has to do with the multi-layer format that Photoshop has.
So, I will need to say this as a graphic file first. So, I'm going to go into the file menu. I'll choose save as. I'll call this EC Folder, and I want to change the format. I don't want it to be a Photoshop document. I need it as a PNG, which is a specific format for picture files, and just to make it a little bit easier, I'm going to save it on the desktop. I'll hit save, hit okay, and now I have that file saved out on my desktop. Okay, so let me close this, and I'll go to this file, and we'll just go through that process again.
I'll double click on this to open it in preview, edit, select all, edit, copy. Then I'll go to the folder where I want to put this icon. I'll select that, command I to get information, select the icon, and command V to paste, and now I'm finished with this graphic, so I can actually just throw this in the trash. I don't need that anymore, and now I've updated the icon for this folder, and it's a lot easier to see and identify it for my Explore California project. Now, one quick little note here.
Sometimes when you're changing the icon for a file or a folder, you may the change in the get information window, but you might not see the change updated on the actual file or folder icon itself, and that's just because something has not refreshed. So, I've found if you just move this to another location, and move it back. So, for example, if I just move it over to this folder, and then move it back to the original location, any changes that had not updated will update then. So, that's just one quick fix if you run into that problem, but everything else should work the way I just showed you.
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.
- Working with voice dictation and voice control
- Enlarging part of the screen using the zoom control
- Printing to PDF
- Customizing Finder windows
- Changing icons for files and folders
- Securing files with encrypted disk images
- Controlling what Spotlight searches
- Recording audio and video in QuickTime
- Managing available disk space
- Using the Activity Monitor