If you are using Internet Explorer 5.0 or above you have probably noticed that some of the recently added links in your "Favorites" list are sporting distinctive icons.  (Netscape and earlier versions of IE don't "see" them.)  These icons are one of the cheaper ways of giving your site free advertising by catching attention when people look through their Favorite's list.  If you bookmark this site the "Eutychus, Web Assistant" link will be preceded by this icon:

How do you add a "Favorites" icon to your site? Here are the essentials:

Now, how do I create an icon?  First, download & install the free "IrfanView" program (described on my Tools page).  Use the Paint program that comes with Windows (Programs / Accessories / Paint) to design your icon.  After you start the program select "Image / Attributes" and set the both width and height to 16 - make sure the "Units" selection is set to pixels and "Color" to color.  If you do not see the color box, select "View / Color Box".  It is important that you only use the primary 16 colors, the 8 top and bottom choices to the left in the box.  Using the others will produce unpredictable results later.  You will find the zoom feature useful (the magnifying glass on the tool bar) for working on such a small canvas.

When you have finished the design, use Paint's "File / Save as", enter favicon in the file name box, select 16 color bitmap in the "Save as type" pull down list. 

Start IrfanView.  Locate and open the file favicon.bmp.  Select "File / Save as", then use the pull down list and select "(*.ICO) Windows Icon".  Locate the icon file using Windows Explorer to verify that it appears the way you expect.  Or, simply locate the file with IrfanView and open it.

Place the file "favicon.ico" in the root directory of your web site and you are finished.  The next time someone bookmarks your site they will afterwards also see your icon next to your link.

NOTE: This will only work if you have your own domain, something like www.geocities.com/MyFreeWebsite/ will NOT work.  But don't loose heart, there is still a way around the problem.  Add an HTML tag in your home page:

In fact, it is possible to create different Icon files for each page, if you want by adding a similar tag to the one above and replace the "favicon.ico" with your own file name (ex. MyVeryOwnIcon.ico).  This technique works but I'm not sure that it is worth all the effort - I used to think it was difficult to be very creative making 32 X 32 pixel icons with 16 colors for programs, but 16 X 16 icons are even more taxing on creativity.

If the link is still available, there is a more in-depth article on this subject on WebDevelopersJournal.com.

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