How to create transparent icons for Mac OS X

“Ever wondered how to make your own Mac icons? Have you ever created an icon and had trouble making the icons fully transparent? If you answer either of these questions with a yes, then this tutorial is for you,” Tutorial Dog explains.

“To complete this tutorial, you will need Adobe Photoshop (or any other image editor that will export transparent TIFF files), Xcode and CandyBar [US$29] installed on your Mac. Xcode is Apple’s free software development kit. You should be able to install Xcode from your computer’s install disk or download it off Apple’s Website. It’s also important to note that the newest version of Mac OS X, Leopard has moved to a maximum 512 pixel icon sizes. CandyBar allows you to organize your icons,” Tutorial Dog explains.

Full tutorial, including “Designing The Icon,” “Exporting The Icon,” and “Using Icon Composer & CandyBar,” here.


  1. Duh, I just copy and paste. I don’t use transparent icons though, who wants an icon that when you click on part of it it doesn’t work. MDN we can see though this, whappen’, get some ad revenue?
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Hey, cut some slack. Many people wonder how to do stuff like this and don’t know where to start. There is often more than one way to skin a cat and this tutorial may be but one way. If you knew zero ways before this article then you are now wiser. If you already have a better way, post your own tutorial on a web site and give us your URL.

  3. Multifaceted comments are opaque to posters such as ‘I A Dolt’.


    Very true, however I keep applications in the doc and invariably create icons for image files which remain in folders. So I can maybe appreciate that the functionality is useful for a handful of people but question why this is a story on MDN.

    For those who missed it in my earlier comment there is a play on the word ‘transparency’. I thought it was quite easy to see through especially as I included an emoticon.

    <sig> Do not mess with wizards for they may become ethereal and even more difficult to grasp. </sig>

  4. Which Includes Free Applications to MAKE icons in Tiger & Leopard. The way it should be. Free.

    1) any picture – best when it’s one you took or drew
    2) LiveQuartz – to erase the edges – effects – paint whatever
    2) Pixer 1.9.6b or img2icns – to make the icons

    Because you are all mainly mac people… I think you can figure it out yourselves. But if not… hmmmm maybe I will write one.


  5. @ Spark,
    but with your logic. they can keep telling us about every single product. right? but this is supposed to be a news site not a learning site(MacDaily”News”). but no harm is done. MDN sometimes even put MS ads. so whatever works for them. we just follow ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    PS. I know, I don’t have to visit MDN

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