Iconic coolness

Create and manage icons with this total icon workshop.

Windows lets you customize its look in lots of ways, and one of the coolest is the ability to change almost any icon to suit your style or to create themes. While there's no shortage of icons available online, why not make your own? It's much easier than you might think, especially with the help of Axialis IconWorkshop. True to its name, it handles just about every aspect of the job, from creating, extracting, and converting icons to managing whole libraries of them. The full-featured IconWorkshop is free to use for 30 days. The latest release has tons of updates and new features, tops among them the ability to create Android and iPhone icons. But it also has many new Object packs, more image formats, bitmap editing, enhanced batch processing, and Windows 8, Mac OS X, and Photoshop plug-in compatibility.

Setting up IconWorkshop includes choosing icon file associations, with an option to automatically repair incorrect associations (something we'd like to see in other programs, too). We could also choose a Mac OS option. IconWorkshop lets you open, modify, and save Mac OS-compatible icons as well as convert them to BinHex and Windows ICO. Clearly, this is a program that takes icons seriously! That impression was strengthened by well-configured user interface that follows the popular Explorer-style layout, with a Web-style toolbar, a tree view/navigation sidebar to the left of the main window, and palettes and tools on the right. We clicked Windows Icon under Create New Projects on IconWorkshop's comprehensive Start Screen. A detailed wizard screen started us off on what proved a remarkably easy process, considering the dizzying array of choices. Anyone who has used photo or graphics editors, drawing programs, and similar tools won't have any trouble with IconWorkshop's layout or features, but a top-quality Help file and manual is a click away.

Making icons with IconWorkshop is easy and fun. Obviously, there's an art to the design process, too, since detail gets lost or blurred when sizing icons. But Axialis IconWorkshop has every step covered when it comes to creating icons for Windows -- or, better yet, your smartphone. And how cool is that?

Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Axialis IconWorkshop 6.80.

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