HTML tutorials for the rest of us...

How did you do that??
favicon screenshot
How did I put the little man in Explorer's location bar ???

It's really very simple. I'll give you the short answer, then I'll go into a little more detail.

The short answer: place an icon in the root directory of your web page and name it "favicon.ico". And that's it. Bada-boom bada-bing... done.

NOTE: There have been reports that Internet Explorer 5.5 does not always display the favicon reliably. I'm not sure exactly what's going on... if we need to be doing something differently (doubtful) or it's just a glitch/change with the 5.5 version of Explorer (likely). At any rate, if you're using IE-5.5, you can expect the favicon to sometimes behave unreliably. IE-5.0 behaves as advertised.

A little more detail:

Where do I get an icon?

Well, that's like saying "Where do I get a GIF?" They're kinda all over. Visit a few shareware/freeware sites. With just a little looking around, you'll find a bazillion ready made icons.

Can I make my own icon?

Sure. An icon is an image just like any other. Many common graphics programs can Save As an icon. There are also many applications that specialize in just icons. There are a few barebones freebies out there, and there are some really nice shareware editors out there. A really nice one that has plenty of power is EasyApps Icon Software. This is all you need to make any type of Windows icon. The download includes two separate applications... Icon Easel 98 will help you draw individual icons in several sizes and color depths. Easy Icons 98 will help you put together icon collections and multi-image icons.

What is an icon collection?

An icon collection (file extension .icl or sometimes .dll) is simply a group of icons assembled into a single file. Sort of like a zip file for icons. It keeps things compact and makes it easy to download a package of many icons. Easy Icons will help you make your own icon collections for distribution.

What is a multi-image icon?

An icon that contains more than one icon. You see, we're mostly used to icons that are 32x32 pixels in 16 colors. But an icon can also have 256 colors or more. An icon can also be 16x16, 48x48 or 64x64 pixels. So, a multi-image icon can contain several versions of an icon, the most appropriate one being used at the time...


And this is important why?

Well, for starters, in Windows Explorer you can display an icon large or small (32x32 or 16x16). Depending on your display's color depth, the icon can have 16 colors, 256 colors, or more. Plus the occasional display is configured to use the larger icons (48x48 and 64x64). Your Start menu and Favorites menu probably uses 16x16 icons. Of course, your system uses whatever is available. If an icon only contains a 32x32 x 16 color icon, it will shrink it to fit a 16x16 space as needed. Or, if the icon artist was ambitious, he can create a 16x16 version and a 32x32 version, combine the two and the proper one will be displayed as needed.

Here is the Little Joe icon in the Internet Explorer favorites menu...

And here is a desktop shortcut to

Notice one is big and one is small. That's because my favicon is a multi-image icon that actually contains 4 icons...

16 x 16
16 colors
16 x 16
256 colors
32 x 32
16 colors
32 x 32
256 colors

I'm covered for the four most common Window's icon requirements. The icons will look presentable at both 16x16 and 32x32 and at low color depth and high color depth.