Automator: make your own icons

Automator in action

Back around Christmas I posted this little procedure for making your own icons, with the promise that sometime I’d get round to writing it up as a script. Well, reader Cameron Leask has saved us all the effort and created this great little Automator workflow to do just that!

Download the workflow by clicking on the Automator robot below. When the download’s finished (it’s only 2MB), save it in your Applications folder.

To use it, just click on it to run. The first time you do that you may need to override your GateKeeper settings. Once you’ve allowed the app permission to run, choose the image you want to make into an icon and click ‘OK’ or press ‘return’. Cameron’s workflow will do the rest.

After a few seconds, you should see a little confirmation dialog telling you the icon is on your Desktop. Be sure to change the name of your new icon and/or move it to somewhere else before running the workflow again (or the next icon you create will overwrite the previous one).

Click the Automator robot to download:


Picture to

Thanks a million Cameron!

Got your own favourite Automator workflow or AppleScript you’d like to share? I’d be happy to consider posting them on Applehelpwriter. Just drop me a mail.



About philastokes

Independent Software Developer, Technical Writer and Researcher at SentinelOne. Explaining the unexplainable with images, video and text. Scripting anything imaginable in AppleScript, Bash, Python and Swift.

Posted on July 22, 2013, in Automator, Mountain Lion, OS X Lion, Scripts, Snow Leopard and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Pamela J Clayton

    I downloaded the Picture to Icon App, placed it in my Applications folder, double-clicked to open, chose a 1.1 MB jpg image of a flower, waited for the notification, went to my Desktop folder, found the iconbuilder.ics file on top, and … voila! … I now had a 2.5 MB Apple icon image. I thought icons were much smaller files … say … 32×32 px? or 64×64 px? Is this the way the Picture to Icon App is supposed to work?

    • It’s nothing to do with the app, but the nature of .icns files. To see what I mean, drag that new icon file on your desktop onto the icon in your Dock and release.

      As you see will see when Preview opens it, the .icns file isn’t just one image, but many. This is due to the fact that the same icon has to be displayed in many different places where different image sizes are required, from the Dock, to the Finder, to within the application itself.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Pamela J Clayton

        Ah so. I did not know about the need for the large images. I only ever had created and deployed individual small image files as icons for a specific purpose, such as folder image graphics. Thanks.

  2. Couldn’t access the automator script. or app? Seems like it’s been removed. Is there an issue? Or someway I could obtain it?

    I know I used to do this about 5 years ago, but not with automator, I did the steps myself but can’t remember how.

    I do know that I was admonished at an Apple Genius Bar–because I was strongly told NOT to change the APPLE icons, that it messes stuff up…?

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