The first place to look for icons is your computer: it generally contains several tens of "hidden" icons. This expert lets you scan your folders in order to get all of the icons they contain. A good source for "hidden" icons is generally applications, libraries (especially DLL files in your system folder). If you have a lot of files, then this expert is designed for you.
To open the Icon Browser expert, just select "File|Browse for icons" or press CTRL+W.
On the left side of the window, you can see two items:
- a combo box which lists the most recent visited folders. Thus you can access to your frequently visited folders containing interesting icons.
- the shell folder tree view: this list is similar to the one in Windows Explorer. It displays the list of the drives and folders available on your computer, so you can navigate between the different folders of your system and explorer them for icons.
In the shell folder tree view, select a folder that you would like to scan, then press Search in the toolbar to begin searching. The expert will scan the entire folder and gets a list of all files inside it. Then for every file found, it looks for icons. Each icon found is then displayed in the list on the right side. Note that only 32x32 icon images (standard format) of the extracted icon resources are displayed with the name of the original file (for memory & speed reasons).
The search process will go on until all files in the folder are processed or until you press the Stop button. An option is the Environment options lets you pause a search when 250 files have been processed.
When a search is incomplete (you have pressed the Stop button), you can resume it at any time by pressing Resume in the toolbar. When a search is resumed, the icons previously found are not cleared: if you want to clear them, first press Clear in the toolbar.Additional options regarding the icon browser's behavior may be configured in the Environment options: for example, if you click on an icon in the list, you can configure GConvert to open the source file in the main window. So you can perform additional operations on the selected icon.
Exporting found icons to icon libraries
Once a search has been completed or stopped, the Export ICL button is enabled. It lets you export all listed icons to a new icon library (in ICL format) for your personal collection for example.
When you hit Export ICL, a dialog box will appear:
- first of all, you need to type the filename of the new icon library to create. You can also press the Browse button.
- If you wish GConvert to save the resulting icons with their icon images (not only 32x32 icon images), then enable "Include images when exporting" (it will require more time and especially lots of free memory to create the library, as GConvert will first need to load source files into memory in order to copy the icons to the new icon library). Otherwise, if the option is disabled, only 32x32 icon images will be saved to the library.
- Enable "Open the new icon library in GConvert" to open the generated icon library file in GConvert once it has been created.
- Finally to limit free memory requirements, it is highly recommended to set a maximum number of icons per icon library. If you enable the last option named "Create several icon libraries", GConvert will not create one big icon library, but several smaller icon libraries with all of the found icons.
All you need to do is to define the maximum number of icons per library (generally 200 to 500 according to the sizes and color depths is a good limit). Icon libraries will be saved in the same folder as the first one specified by your filename above. Note that they will also have the same filename plus the index number such as mylib0.icl, mylib1.icl and so on.
Press OK to generate the icon libraries or Cancel to exit.
The Icon Browser has a file filter (at the top of the window, before the toolbar): you can decide which file types should be allowed for icon searching. By default GConvert will scan all of the files possibly containing icons such as executable, icon libraries, icon files themselves (Windows and Macintosh) except Zip archives. In fact Zip archives are not designed to only contain icon files: the majority of Zip archives are not good places for searching icons, that's why they are not included in the default filter.
The File Filter combo box contains the following filters:
- Files containing icons (specified above)
- Only Windows icon files (.ico)
- Only Macintosh icon files (.icns or .rsrc)
- Only Zip archives (.zip)
- All files (*.*) without file type restrictions.
- To refresh the folder tree list, right click to display the context menu and select "Refresh folders".
- To automatically search for icons when a folder is selected in the list, enable the related option in the Environment Options. Or on the contrary if you prefer to press Search each time, you can disable the latter.