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How to Create Custom Icons in macOS 12 Monterey



Create Custom Icons for Folders, Documents and Apps in macOS 12 Monterey

This trick is necessary for anyone with a lot of folders to locate every day

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It just got a lot easier to customize icons for your mac. Most useful of all is adding a custom icon for your most used and most important folders. The trick we will show you today also works for Documents and Apps.

The first step is to use the “get info” command to access the default icon storage. “get info” is a useful way to quickly access various info on a folder, file or app. It has data like the file size, type and date created, as well as other special data, including the icon.

To access the “get info” window use the keyboard shortcut [ command-i ]. You can also right-click and choose “get-info”, Once you select the file and hit [ command-i ] the info window will pop up. In it you will see the various data as described above, and, in the upper left a small box that contains the default icon, which for folders is…. a folder.

There is also a preview of the icon down below, slightly larger, but this is just to see the current icon, so our business is with the one above.

Next: choosing the best icon for your favorite folders

The beauty of this tip is that you can choose any photo as the source for your icon.

A great idea is to use something that relates to the contents of the folder and will help you to quickly identify it when searching through a bunch of folders on your desktop or nested inside another folder.

Warning: if you choose a photo that looks like, well, a photo, your eye and brain might get tricked into thinking that the folder with the new custom icon is actually an image file!

To avoid this choose or create a square image that is either an icon already (like a logo) or one that you will definitely associate with the folder contents!

So it’s a great idea to pick something eye-catching but logical. For example, if it is a folder full of video clips you want to upload to YouTube, then why not a YouTube logo image?


  1. Always use a square (or nearly square) image. wide or tall images make the arrangement of folders odd and messy. Squares work best.
  2. You can capture an image by opening a file you have, then selecting “copy”. Alternatively you can use [ command-shift-4 ] to select anything you see on your screen and shift-drag to select and screen-shot an image.
  3. Use images, like logos or simple, iconic easy to see photos in order to be able to quickly “get” the message telling you what the folder contains.

Several methods to capture an image to be pasted.

Image file method:

  1. Open a file in the preview app. Double clicking an image file will usually default open in the preview app, if not, you can right-click and choose preview from the “open with” menu that pops up.
  2. Once in the preview app, shift-drag to select a square section of the photo. If the file is already square and copped just as you want it to be, you can also just choose select-all.
  3. Use [ command – c ] to copy the selection.

Screen Shot method:

  1. Find an image, this can be online in Safari or basically anywhere that you see something you want to capture for your file folder icon. Once you have the image on your screen you can size it how you want.
  2. Next activate the screenshot selection tool by using [ command-shift-4 ]
  3. Drag with the selection tool to make a box around the area you want to use. When you release the screen shot will be created and sent to your desktop.
  4. Open the file in preview, as described above and select using [ command-a ]

Adding your new icon to a folder, file or app

  1. Once you’ve captured an icon image and copied it into your buffer memory using [ command-c ] go to the folder that you want to add that custom icon image to.
  2. Click on the folder and use the [ command-i ] keyboard shortcut to open the “get info” window.
  3. Tap on the folder icon storage area in the upper left and use [ command-v ] to paste your new custom image.

You will see the image both in the upper and lower preview windows and when you close the “get info” pop-up the folder will now have a custom icon! If you do this in your own preferred style it will be much easier to find and identify, reducing stress on your eyes and brain!

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