9 June 1998
Software and documentation
Copyright 1991, 1992, 1995, 1998 Gregory M. Robbins
Unmodified copies of Folder Icon Maker may be distributed at no charge, provided that the distribution includes the standard files listed at the end of this document. Unmodified copies of FIM 1.5.1 should have a creation and modification date of June 9, 1998, 1:00 PM. Book and disk publishers: please see the note at the end of this document.
Folder Icon Maker creates folders with custom icons. If you haven't already plastered your folders with icons from another program, or even if you have, Folder Icon Maker creates attractive folders from almost any file.
Folder Icon Maker is free. I am grateful for the many users who sent me attractive and interesting postcards of their hometowns. I no longer request a postcard from users of FIM.
How to use Folder Icon Maker
To use Folder Icon Maker, just drag an application or document onto the FIM icon. A new folder will be created in the same directory as the file is in.
System 7 or later; System 7.5 or later required for some features
Color or greyscale monitor for best results
A bug in the Mac OS 8 Finder prevents the "parent folder" option from working properly; upgrade to Mac OS 8.1 or later to avoid the problem, or else have FIM put icons onto new folders instead.
* Anti-aliases when creating small icons. This improves the visible detail.
* Can create transparent icons. Custom folder icons created from black-and-white icons look better if they are transparent, so the folder shows through.
* Offers full menus in addition to Finder dragging interface.
* Includes balloon help.
* New in version 1.1: Support for custom folder resource files.
* New in version 1.2: Scriptable and recordable with AppleScript; supports dragging into the FIM window.
* New in version 1.3: More flexible custom icon support, including dynamic mask generation; under System 7.5, can make folders by dragging any application, document, disk or folder onto FIM.
* New in version 1.4: Window displays current custom folder resource file icon.
* New in version 1.5: Finder icons and pictures can be dragged or pasted in as the folder image; allows adjustment of folder and badge position; creates double-clickable custom folder resource files preserving folder image and badge position; improved speed; window retains position.
* New in version 1.5.1: Updated this documentation file and the FIM About box. Functionally, FIM 1.5.1 is identical to FIM 1.5.
Creating and using custom folders
With System 7.5 or later, you can create a custom folder by dragging items and pictures into the folder box of the FIM window. The new icon will appear in the folder box, with a badge (a small application icon) representing the position of the small superimposed icon.
Adjust the position of either the folder or the small badge on the folder by clicking on them in the folder box in the FIM window and moving them slightly left, right, up or down.
Normally, the folder and the badge cannot be adjusted past the bounds of the icon box in the FIM window. Hold down the Option key to adjust the folder or the badge off the edges of the icon box. If the badge is accidentally dragged off the folder icon and entirely out of view when the Option key is held down, choose Use Standard Folder Icon from the Options menu to return to the default folder image and standard badge position.
To save a custom folder image and badge position as
a custom folder resource file, drag from inside the
folder box to the Finder.
To use a custom folder resource file, just double-click it or drag it onto FIM. (Custom folder resource files created for earlier versions of FIM cannot be double-clicked.) To stop using a custom folder, run FIM and choose Use Standard Folder Icon from the Options menu.
Under Systems 7.0 and 7.1, use the Select Folder Icon and Save Folder As menu items to create custom folder resource files. Folders, disks, and pictures cannot be used as the sources for folder icons under Systems 7.0 and 7.1.
Using pictures as folder images
Picture selections may be dragged from some other applications (such as the picture viewer JPEGView) into the folder box of the FIM window to create a custom folder. Picture clippings in the Finder can also be dragged into the folder box of the FIM window.
Normally, the entire picture is scaled down to fit in the icon box. To constrain the icon to include just the top left corner of the picture, hold down the Shift key while releasing the mouse button at the end of the drag.
To drag the contents of a standard Macintosh PICT file (rather than the PICT file's icon) from the Finder into the folder box, hold down the Option key while releasing the mouse button at the end of the drag.
These keys temporarily alter the settings of the items in the Options menu when launching Folder Icon Maker by dragging an item onto Folder Icon Maker's icon. These keys have no effect if Folder Icon Maker was already running or when dragging into Folder Icon Maker's window. These keys apply to U.S. keyboards and may be different for other keyboards.
* To place the folder icon on the clipboard, hold down
'C' while dragging.
* To place the folder icon on a newly created folder, hold down 'N' while dragging.
* To place the folder icon on the parent folder of the file, hold down 'P' or 'F' while dragging.
* To reverse the anti-aliasing setting, hold down 'A' while dragging.
* To reverse the transparency setting, hold down 'T' while dragging. Transparency treats the white portion of the icon as transparent, so the folder shows through.
* To use the standard folder icon rather than the currently selected custom folder resource file, hold down 'S' while dragging.
Scripting Folder Icon Maker
Here's what a typical usage of Folder Icon Maker via AppleScript might look like. If you actually use AppleScript to control FIM, please let me know, since I cannot think of a reason anyone would want to do so.
tell application "Folder Icon Maker"
make icon from alias "Hard Disk:MicroSquish
using custom folder icon alias "Hard Disk:Folder Icon Maker f:Green Gradient Folder Resources" !
placing icon on new folder !
naming new folder "Fatso f" !
with antialiasing and transparent white !
make icon from alias "Hard Disk:SuperProgram
placing icon on existing item !
targeting alias "Hard Disk:OlderFolder:" !
with antialiasing, transparent white and revealing
This is the full scripting dictionary of Folder Icon Maker.
make icon from alias -- The source file for the
custom folder icon
[using custom folder icon alias] -- A custom folder icon resource file to use instead of the standard folder icon.
[placing icon on new folder/parent folder/clipboard/existing item] -- Where to put the custom folder icon.
[targeting alias] -- An existing file, folder, or disk to receive the new icon.
[naming new folder string] -- The name for a newly created folder.
[antialiasing boolean] -- Allow anti-aliasing when reducing a large icon.
[transparent white boolean] -- Make white transparent in the custom folder icon.
[revealing boolean] -- Expose and select newly created folder in Finder.
To use the standard system folder icon rather than the currently selected custom folder icon, a script can specify the Folder Icon Maker application as the custom folder resource file in the "using custom folder icon" parameter.
Recording AppleScripts with Folder Icon Maker
To record usage of Folder Icon Maker into an AppleScript script, launch FIM, start recording, set the desired menu options in FIM, select a custom folder resource file if desired, and then drag applications or documents into the FIM window. Dragging onto the FIM icon in the Finder may not be properly recorded.
If you are unable to drag icons onto Folder Icon Maker, try rebuilding your computer's desktop file. To rebuild the desktop, hold down the Command and Option keys when starting up the computer.
System 7.5 users must have the Finder Scripting Extension installed in the Extensions folder for FIM to have full functionality.
Placing new icons on the parent folder may not work under System 8.0. Either place new icons on a new folder or on the clipboard under 8.0, or upgrade to System 8.1.
- Custom icons will not be placed on parent folders considered special by the System, such as the System folder and the Trash.
- FIM cannot usually be used via dragging while FIM is on a floppy. FIM may not work on icons belonging to applications residing on a floppy. Copy the application to a hard drive to use FIM.
- FIM anti-aliasing is unavailable on Macintosh models that do not support color monitors, including the Macintosh Plus, Macintosh SE, and PowerBook 100.
- Under Systems 7.0 and 7.1, FIM does not create icons for files displaying generic icons. Under Systems 7.0 and 7.1, FIM does not create icons for folders, disks, and other items which are not applications or documents. However, the tips below explain how to create folder icons for these items.
- Due to limitations of the Finder under Systems 7.0 and 7.1, custom folder icons will be placed on the parent folder only if it has never before had a custom icon. To replace a custom folder icon, create the new icon on the clipboard and paste it over the icon in the folder's Get Info window. This restriction does not apply when using the Scriptable Finder of System 7.5 or later.
- To remove the icon from a folder, select the folder in the Finder and choose Get Info from the File menu. Next, select the icon in the Info window and choose Clear from the Edit menu.
System 7.0 and 7.1 Tips
- If you use System 7.0 or 7.1 and really want to create a folder icon with a small generic file icon in it, you can do it quite easily. Select the file in the Finder and choose Get Info from the File menu. Next, select the icon in the Info window and choose Copy and then Paste from the Edit menu. Finally, close the Info window and drag the file onto FIM.
- Similarly, under System 7.0 or 7.1 you can create folders icons showing disks and small folders. Open the Get Info window for the disk or the folder, select and copy the icon in the window, and close the window. Next, open the Get Info window for any file, select its icon, choose Paste from the Edit menu, and close the window. The file should now look like the original folder or disk. Drag the file to FIM, and FIM will create the custom folder. To remove the disk or folder icon from the file, open its Get Info window, select the icon in the window, and choose Clear from the Edit menu.
Inside custom folder icon resource files
- FIM can use a custom folder icon resource file as the folder image source instead of the generic folder icon. For example, the Gray Floppy Folder Resources file makes floppy icons rather than folder icons (though it still places the floppy icon on a folder in the Finder.)
- Custom folder resource files can be created by dragging an item into the folder box of FIM's window, adjusting the position of the folder and the badge, and dragging from the folder box to the desktop or to a Finder window. System 7.0 and 7.1 users must use menus to select a new item's icon as a folder and to save the icon as a custom folder resource file.
- There are six resource types for icons: ICN# are large black-and-white icons, ics# are small black and white icons, icl4 and ics4 are large and small 4-bit (16 color) icons, and icl8 and ics8 are large and small 8-bit (256 color) icons. You can use ResEdit or Resorcerer to edit the icons in a custom folder resource file.
- Folder icon resource files must have a SHFT resource. The SHFT resource allows you to shift the position of the tiny icon when it is place on the folder icon. Use ResEdit or Resorcerer to change the SHFT. Setting all fields of the SHFT to zero means that the tiny icon should be placed in the standard position (where it would be placed on a normal folder.)
- When editing the SHFT, you must specify how many pixels right and down the small icon is to be shifted when placed on the folder. Negative numbers will shift the icon left or up.
- Shifting of large 1-bit icons right, and small 1-bit icons right and down, is done using the shift numbers provided for 4-bit icons.
- The icon resources in the custom icon file (ICN#, ics#, icl8, ics8, icl4, ics4, icl1, ics1) must have the ID number -3999 to be used.
Note to users of previous versions
Version 1.5 exists because many kind people sent me postcards and feedback on earlier versions. Folder Icon Maker has been my way of giving something to the Macintosh community, and countless people have expressed their appreciation in ways expected and unexpected. If you sent me a card or any other items, I'm sorry that I have been unable to acknowledge it individually, but please accept my thanks and gratitude.
Note to publishers
Publishers of collections of shareware and freeware software on book or disk may include Folder Icon Maker 1.5 if and only if the publisher includes in the collection unmodified copies of FIM, this note, and the resource files listed below. Including a version of FIM translated to another language along with the original, unmodified English version is acceptable.
Standard files for Folder Icon Maker 1.5.1
Standard files included in the Folder Icon Maker 1.5.1 release are Folder Icon Maker, Folder Icon Maker 1.5 Note, Black Floppy Folder Resources, Executive Folder Resources, Gray Floppy Folder Resources, Gray Gradient Folder Resources, Green Gradient Folder Resources, Shadowed Folder Resources, Tinged Folder Resources, Violet Floppy Folder Resources.
- December 1991 version 1.0: Initial release.
- May 1992 version 1.1: Fixed bug on 68000 machines; added support for custom icon file.
- May 1995 version 1.2: Fixed rare bug involving custom icons on large files (ye shall set ye SetResLoad to false. Say yeah); supports dragging into the application window under System 7.5; can replace parent folder icon under System 7.5; menu settings now remembered; drop-launch keys now toggle the anti-aliasing and transparency options; 'N' key supported when drop-launching for creating a new folder; sends a different message to the Finder under System 7.5 to reveal the created folder icons, avoiding the old "multiple-selected" syndrome; added AppleScript terminology resource and support for a few optional script parameters; sends Apple events to itself to support recording via AppleScript; dropping custom folder resource files onto the application icon or the application window selects the custom folder resource file; fixed dispose of picture resource upon quitting; compiled with CodeWarrior Pascal.
- July 1995 version 1.3: New implementation of folder merging code, removing earlier restriction that the small icon badge be on top of the folder and permitting full shifting of 1-bit and 4-bit icons; accepts AppleScript parameters "placing item on existing item" and "targeting" to replace the icon of an existing folder, file, or disk; accepts AppleScript parameter "naming new folder" for specifying the name given to the folder created by FIM; supports using folders, disks, and generic files as the source items under System 7.5; places new folder icons near source icon under System 7.5; plays a sound when dropping a custom folder resource file onto FIM; puts a picture on clipboard along with icons; new application signature avoids problems with folder and disk dragging.
- August 1995 version 1.4: Window displays current custom folder resource icon; custom folder resource file will be ignored if 'S' key is held during drop-launch or, for AppleScripts, if Folder Icon Maker itself is specified as the custom folder resource file; fixed bug preventing some files from appearing in standard file list when selecting source item via File menu.
- September 1995 version 1.5: Creates and adjusts custom folders and custom folder resource files via dragging and menus; supports picture data as the source for custom folders; new custom folder resource files can be double-clicked; caches image buffers and icons for faster folder creation; remembers window position; arguably improved balloon help.
- June 1998 version 1.5.1: Changed the documentation to reflect the Mac OS 8 problem with placing icons on parent folders. The documentation and About Box no longer request a postcard from users.
Your feedback is invited
Comments, criticisms, suggestions are welcome. Please send any feedback to me at
to Leonard Rosenthol for providing the shell program upon which FIM is based (a very early version of DropShell; FIM was really just an attempt to test Leonard's code), to Jon Pugh, to Greg Anderson, to my various competitors, to the beta testers for this version (Turadg Aleahmad, Adam Attarian, Jim Burrows, Jonathan Chapman, Michael Enfield, Alex Esser, Alan Gordon, Jim Hayes, Arnor Kristjansson, Anthony Lewis, Nevin Liber, Igor Livshits, Lance Murray, Aaron Platt, Guy Plunkett, Max Schoenherr, Jason Sheard, and Dan Weissman) and to the numerous users who have given positive and negative feedback (including requests for custom folder icon support, persistent menus, and dynamic mask generation.) Black Floppy Folder Resources, Gray Floppy Folder Resources, Grey Gradient Folder Resources and Tinged Folder Resources by Jonathan Chapman.
- Greg Robbins
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