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Home: Icon Library: User Manual


Section Contents

Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about Icon Library and their answers.

Introduction Installation Using Icon Library Customization Advanced Topics Registration Copyright

  • What is the purpose of Icon Library?
    Back in the early 1990's, it was difficult to find useful collections of Windows icons. There were many icons available, but they were usually random collections of unrelated images. They were often stored in DLL files making it difficult to find an icon to suit a particular need. Other collections consisted of many hundreds of individual icon files which were easy to display in Windows folders, but these collections used up a huge amount of disk space because of the cluster size of disks. These early collections of icons also contained many duplicates. Icon Library was created to overcome these problems by:

    • Bringing together a wide variety of icons into a single collection.
    • Removing thousands of duplicate icons to create a unique collection.
    • Sorting all the icons into categories so they are easier to find.
    • Storing all the individual icons into "libraries" to save disk space and speed up disk access.
    • Making the background transparent if it improves the look of the icon.
    • Cleaning up messy images within icons.
    • Creating new icons to complete icon sets; eg. same image in several colors.
    • Providing a viewer program to look at the icons and extract individual ones.

    Icon Library is not an icon editing program. It is not able to edit icons or to change the contents of ICL icon library files. There are other well written programs such as MicroAngelo which perform these functions. Icon Library does not try to compete with these top quality products.

  • What is new in this version of Icon Library?
    Here are the new features of Version 5:

    • Added many additional icons. More than 20,000 icons are now available in the full, registered version of Icon Library. This is double of what was available in the previous version.
    • Reorganised categories, with many new ones added.
    • Added the ability to handle 256 color icons.
    • Added the ability to handle multiple sizes of icons.
    • Added the ability to handle icons containing multiple images.
    • Provided an installation option which enables a feature where double clicking on ICL files will open Icon Library showing the contents of that ICL file.
    • Removed animated icons and the animation option to prevent user confusion. The animated icons were ot really of much use and many people often asked me how they could be used on the desktop. I do not know of any practical way to have animated icons, as opposed to animated cursors, on the desktop so it is best for me to not have this option available.
    • Documentation and help files are now written in HTML format for easy access both online and offline. The documentation is much more detailed than in previous versions.
    • Some technical papers have been included describing several Icon Library applications.
    • This FAQ was written and included with the new documentation.
    • Various minor bugs were fixed.
    • I have temporarily prevented the ability for the program to save icons from EXE and DLL files because of their varying formats. Trying to save icons from these files often caused Icon Library to crash. I know that it can be done, so a future version of Icon Library will re-instate the ability to save icons from these files. In the meantime, I wanted to get this version out as soon as possible!

  • Where can I get the shareware version?
    The shareware version of Icon Library can always be downloaded from There are also many other software archives that distribute Icon Library, but they may not always have the latest version.

  • Where can I get the registered version?
    The registered version of Icon Library can only be obtained by paying a registration fee. You can register by going to and clicking on either the Digibuy or PayPal links. You will be required to pay a US$19 registration fee if you are purchasing a single license. When I have been notified by Digibuy or PayPal that you have registered, I will email you instructions on how to download the full, registered version of Icon Library.

  • How can I contact you, the author?
    You can contact me either by email or the post. My email address is and my postal address is:

    Steve Balogh
    PO Box 414
    Caulfield East
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Australia. 3145

    I do not use any instant messaging service such as IRC or ICQ.

  • Do you provide telephone support?
    I do not provide telephone support. Since most of the Icon Library users seem to live in the USA and I live in Australia it is not very practical to provide telephone support.

  • Do you listen to suggestions regarding Icon Library?
    Yes. I am always open to suggestions on how Icon Library can be improved. The best way to pass on your suggestions is by sending email to

  • Is the shareware version of Icon Library time limited?
    No, there are no time limits on the shareware version of Icon Library. It will continue working indefinately.

  • How is the shareware version of Icon Library limited?
    There are a lot fewer icons available in the shareware version of Icon Library. The full version has more than 20,000 icons but the shareware version only has approximately 3,000 icons. The shareware version of the Icon Library viewer program displays a popup window when it is started to remind the user to register. The full version does not.

  • Do you provide additional previews of the full Icon Library?
    The Icon Library website contains a list of all icon categories and the number of icons contained in each one. There are also slightly blurred screenshots of all the icons contained in the full version of Icon Library.

  • Why don't you include more 256 color icons in Icon Library?
    Icon Library was originally created when only 32x32 16 color icons were in common use and I concentrated on collecting that particular format. The viewer program could always display 256 color icons, however, there were problems when trying to extract them as individual icons. Starting with version 5 this is no longer a problem and all formats of icons can now be successfully extracted. There are more than 20,000 icons in Icon Library so I expect that there are not too many 16 color icons remaining that are not already in the collection. The only path forward is to look at 256 color and larger format icons so I will be expanding in that direction. I am always on the lookout for suitable icons, including 256 color and larger format ones. All contributions are welcome of course!

  • How do I install Icon Library?
    An installation guide is available here

  • How do I remove Icon Library from my computer?
    Instructions on how to remove Icon Library from your system are available here.

  • What versions of Windows does Icon Library support?
    Icon Library has been tested and is known to work with all versions of Windows including Win3.1, Win95, Win98, WinME, WinNT, Win2K and WinXP.

  • Can Icon Library use the new Windows XP icons?
    The new format WinXP icons will not work with Icon Library.

  • I have installed Icon Library but cannot find any icons. Why?
    This used to be a problem with previous versions of Icon Library. When the files were extracted from the distributed ZIP archive it was possible to switch off the option which reconstructed the required folder structure. If the Icon Library files were not in the expected folders, the viewer program could not find them and it appeared as if there were no icons available. The new self-extracting archive will automatically recreate the correct folder structure so this problem should no longer appear. If it does happen to you, please let me know by email.

  • Why am I asked which program to use when clicking on ICL files?
    Windows does not yet know what program handles Icon Library files with the ICL extension. If you double click on a file extension that Windows does not recognise, you will see a window appear asking you to specify which program will open that file type in future. Enable the option labelled Always use this... and then click on the Other... button. Browse to the Icon Library viewer program, eg icolib5_shar.exe, and select it by double clicking on the program name. Click on the OK button and you should no longer be asked which program to use. There is another method which overcomes this problem described here.

  • I get an error asking for the location of Icon.exe. Why?
    Windows has already associated ICL files with a program called icon.exe but this program either does not exist or has been moved on your system. You may be able to solve this problem by following these instructions.

  • The first icon in each category was replaced by a single icon. Why?
    I suspect you may have changed the icon association for the ICL extension in Windows Explorer. Open your Registry Editor regedit and look for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/iclfile/DefaultIcon. You should see a (Default) StringValue entry containing %1. Chances are that it will be pointing to some other pathname containing the currently displayed icon. Change the (Default) entry back to %1. Windows Explorer does not always respond to this change to your registry because it caches the icons it displays. You may have to restart your PC to display the original icons.

Using Icon Library
  • How do I start using Icon Library?
    A User Manual has been provided which gives you detailed instructions on how to use Icon Library.

  • Where are all the icons in the shareware version?
    The shareware version of Icon Library only comes with a small number of all the icons available in the full, registered version. Some of the categories will contain all the available icons, while many of the other categories will not contain any icons. The categories without icons will instead display a reminder to register the program. The menu names which contain icons will have (SHAREWARE) appended to the menu name. The Icon Library web site will contain screenshots of all the icons available in the full version of the program so you can see what you will receive when you register.

  • Why does the shareware version have two ICOLIB.INI files?
    The Registered Menu will load all of the categories, including the ones that are only available in the registered version of Icon Library. The Shareware Menu loads only those categories which contain icons. This menu is provided for your convenience so you don't have to search for categories containing icons. The registered version of Icon Library only provides the full menu.

  • Why would I want to change the display background color?
    Try it! Display a collection of icons using a white background and then change the background to a another color. The icons will appear to be quite different especially if you change from a light background to a dark one. This option allows you to see what the icons look like against different backgrounds.

  • What is the purpose of the BMP transparent color option?
    Icons can have pixels designated as being transparent but bitmaps do not have that ability. This option allows you to choose a color that represents these transparent pixels. When you save the bitmap file, you will see the transparent parts of the image set to this color. When you edit this image you can manipulate these pixels as desired. For example, in Photoshop you can set this color to be transparent again before saving the image as a GIF file, since GIF files can handle transparent pixels.

  • How do I find an icon I need?
    The best way is to look through the Icon Library categories. They have been sorted in a reasonably logical manner, making it fairly easy to find icons on for a specific purpose. There are no search tools available with Icon Library. Searching for images is an almost impossible task, while creating search keywords for each of the 20,000 icons would be an enormous, tedious task.

  • Can I extract a single icon from the library?
    Yes you can. Here are the instructions that tell you how. You can extract an icon and save it as either an ICO icon file or a BMP bitmap file.

  • Can Windows access icons in the ICL icon library files?
    Yes. If you don't want to extract any icons but prefer to keep them in their original ICL files, you can still point Windows to these icons. Most places where you would use an ICO type icon, you can also use one contained in an ICL file. The main difference is that you will have many icons to chose from rather than the single icon normally found in an ICO file. When trying to open an ICL file, you may need to select the All Types option within the Open window otherwise the ICL files may not be displayed. You should also be careful not to move or delete any icon file once it is used by Windows.

  • Should I store important icons in a dedicated folder?
    Although you can use icons directly from within the ICL libraries, I recommend that you extract and store in a standard folder any icon used within your system. I created a folder called c:\icons for this purpose. It is much easier to find and manage a smaller number of frequently used icons by having them all in one place. There is also less danger of you moving or deleting this folder.

  • What formats can I select to save the icon?
    You can extract and save icon images as ICO icon files or as BMP bitmap files. If the original icon contains multiple images then the extracted icon file will also contain multiple images. If you save such an icon in the bitmap format then multiple bitmap files, one for each icon image, will be saved. At this time, it is not possible to save icons as GIF or JPG images, so you would have to use another graphics editing program to convert BMP files to these formats. A future version of Icon Library will probably have the ability to save files in these additional formats.

  • Why can't I save icons as GIF or JPG images?
    I have not worked out how to do it yet. This new version of Icon Library has already been delayed too long and I did not want to hold up the release further by adding more and more options. The main purpose of this version is to release a library of 20,000 icons which is double what was provided in the previous version. Once this version has been released, and a reasonable number of registrations indicate support for the product, I will develop a new version which allows you to save icons as GIF or JPG images.

  • Can I customize the Icon Library menus?
    Yes. Full instructions are provided here.

  • What is the format of the ICOLIB.INI file?
    The format of this file is described here.

  • I tried to change the menu, but it did not work. Why?
    A common mistake is to have non-sequential item numbers for the menu parameters. You should also make sure your icon pathnames are correct, and that you did not leave out the little comma after the pathname. I am planning to make future versions of Icon Library more robust in this area, but for now just be careful with the contents of the INI file.

  • How can I add my own icons to my personal collection?
    Yes, you can. I suggest that you collect all your icons into one or more ICL library files using a program such as MicroAngleo. You can then add the pathnames for these icon library files into your icolib.ini file. Your icons will appear as menu items in the Icon Library viewer program.

  • Can I contribute my own icons to your collection?
    If you want to add your icon collection to Icon Library for public distribution, I am happy to receive your contribution. I am particularly interested in specialised collections of icons on various topics. I am even more interested if the icons have 256 colors. Please email me if you have something to contribute. Some simple conditions apply:

    • The icons must be yours to give. I don't want to get into any copyright battles with icon artists.
    • In return for good quality contributions, I will give you a copy of the registered version of Icon Library for free. I decide what constitutes a "good quality contribution".
    • You will not be entitled to any royalties or payments in return for your icons.
    • You will retain the copyright to your collection.
    • I can include a text file with Icon Library distributions giving full credit to icon contributers.
    • Normally, I would only distribute user contributions in the registered version of Icon Library, but if you insist on your icons being distributed for free, I can include them in the shareware version of Icon Library.
    • You have the option to remove your icons from Icon Library after a period of three (3) months has expired.

  • Can I edit icons or change icons in ICL files with Icon Library?
    Icon Library is not an icon editing program. It is not able to edit icons or to change the contents of ICL icon library files. There are other well written programs such as MicroAngelo which perform these functions. Icon Library does not try to compete with these top quality products.

Advanced Topics

  • Do I have to register?
    Theoretically, you should register if you plan to use Icon Library for more than 30 days, however, I realise that there is no way I can enforce this condition without including expiry dates with the program. This is something I have no plans to do. I therefore rely on your conscience. You should register if you decide the product is useful to you and you would like to reward me for the thousands of hours spent creating Icon Library. Of course, by registering, you will also reap substantial rewards. See the next answer.

  • What are the benefits to me if I register?
    These are the benefits of registering:

    • You receive 20,000+ icons instead of 3,000
    • There are no more popup reminders when the program starts
    • You are entitled to email support
    • Your contribution helps further development of Icon Library
    • You are entitled to free upgrades to future full versions of Icon Library
    • You feel warm and fuzzy inside because you helped a shareware author

  • How do I register?
    You can register by going to and clicking on either the Digibuy or PayPal links. You will be required to pay a US$19 registration fee if you are purchasing a single license. When I have been notified by Digibuy or PayPal that you have registered, I will email you instructions on how to download the full, registered version of Icon Library.

  • How much does it cost?
    A single license costs US$19.

  • Do you have multiple or site licenses?
    Yes. I provide substantial discounts for multiple licenses.

    1    license  (no discount) .... US$29.00
    2-5  licenses (15% discount) ... US$25.00 each copy
    6-20 licenses (30% discount) ... US$20.00 each copy
    21+  licenses (50% discount) ... US$15.00 each copy

    I can also provide site licenses for larger organisations by negotiation.

  • Can I register with a credit card?
    Yes. Both Digibuy and Paypal have facilities for secure credit card payments. A link is provided on the Icon Library website.

  • Can I register using the online PayPal payment service?
    Yes. A link is provided on the Icon Library website.

  • Can I register with a personal check?
    Yes. I accept personal checks, bank checks or even cash. However, it may not be a good idea to send cash in the post. Currencies other than US Dollars are accepted as long as the amount paid is roughly equivalent to US$19. If you want to pay using a check, you will also have to print, then fill out a Registration Form. Send the completed details with your payment to the address shown on the form. Download intructions for the full version of Icon Library will be emailed to you as soon as your registration is received. I can also email the program to you if you select this option. Make sure that your email INTRAY can accept large ZIP-file attachments. Many email providers have started to restrict incoming attachments as a form of virus protection. It is probably more reliable for you to download the program yourself rather than receiving it by email. Also, please note that it takes 1-2 weeks for postal mail to reach me in Australia. Online registration is quicker!

  • What are the license conditions for Icon Library?
    Detailed license conditions are available here.

  • Do I have to pay royalties for comercial use of the icons?
    After registration, no further royalty payments for the use of small numbers of icons is required. Please remember that I do not allow a competing product to be created using icons from the Icon Library collection.

  • Who owns copyright to the icons?
    I am not a lawyer so the following may be complete rubbish.

    • Most individual icons contained within Icon Library are public domain.
    • Some icons represent commercial trademarks or products and copyright is owned by their respective organisations.
    • Some public domain icons represent copyright images, for example, the Star Trek logo. Copyright is owned by their respective organisations.
    • Some icon collections may be owned by icon artists. Permission will be requested to use these icons and credit provided if authorship details are known.
    • The copyright for the categories and collections of icons and the viewer program is owned by Steve Balogh.
    • The copyright to all documentation, user manuals and web pages is owned by Steve Balogh. The copyright to some of the frames surrounding the web pages may be owned by Danworld Inc. (used with permission)

  • What value have you added to these public domain icons?
    • Searching the net and other sources for public domain icons.
    • Finding and removing tens of thousands of duplicate icons from these combined collections, thus creating a unique collection of icons.
    • Classifying these unique icons into categories to make icons easier to find.
    • Removing fixed (often white) backgrounds in icons by making the backgrounds transparent where approriate.
    • Correcting any minor flaws in the icon artwork.
    • Creating variations on individual icons where there is a need (eg. to complete a set of arrows, different colors, etc).
    • Placing individual icons into ICL library files, thus saving the huge amounts of disk space normally taken by individual icons and greatly speeding up disk access to icons.
    • Providing documentation and application notes to help you use these icons in a meaningful way.
    • Maintain my icon viewing software.

If have any questions not covered by this FAQ, please email me at

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