Optimizing .ico Imagery

To optimize the .ico imagery on your web site, you should be aware of a number of techniques that you can use in effort to reduce the size of those files:

  1. Appropriately size your images to the dimensions you wish to display on your web site.
    Most .ico files do not need to be larger than 16x16, 24x24 or 32x32 pixels in size. 48x48 pixels is sometimes appropriate, those using smaller .ico file dimension can often result in substantially smaller file sizes.

  2.  
  3. Use different color palettes for differently-sized .ico files.
    For .ico files that are 16x16 pixels in size, using an 8-bit color palette will result in unnecessarily large file sizes, since an 8-bit color palette has a fixed size of 4*256=1024 bytes. However, using a 24-bit color palette for 16x16 pixel imagery, then applying 1-bit, 4-bit, or 8-bit color to your 24x24, 32x32, 48x48 or 256x256 pixel .ico files, will generally result in the smallest possible .ico output.

Tools that will allow you to complete these techniques:
Digitope Pixelshop (Windows): Cost: $$ | Quality: A- | Ease of Use: A+ | Use With: 1, 2
FavIcon from Pics (Web-Based): Cost: Free | Quality: A- | Ease of Use: A+ | Use With: 1
Favicon Generator (Web-Based): Cost: Free | Quality: A- | Ease of Use: A+ | Use With: 1
Iconographer (Mac/Windows): Cost: $ | Quality: B+ | Ease of Use: B+ | Use With: 1, 2
ImageMagick (Mac/Windows/Unix): Cost: Free | Quality: A- | Ease of Use: B | Use With: 1, 2
Pixelformer (Windows): Cost: Free | Quality: A+ | Ease of Use: A+ | Use With: 1, 2

** - Qualibyte Software and Pixelformer creator Igor I. Tyrnoff contributed valuable information to this page.


 
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