Convert pixmaps file into a Windows .ico file to create a favicon.ico file with GIMP

by on October 8, 2007 · 2 comments· LAST UPDATED October 8, 2007

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Favorites icon (favicon) file is placed in a web server root directory. It is a page icon or associated with a particular website. For example when you visit our site you see favicon in the browser's URL bar, next to the site's name. Also it appears next to the site's name in lists of bookmarks, and next to the page's title in a tabbed document interface.

There is a tool called ppmtowinicon which convert 1 or more portable pixmaps into a Windows .ico file You need to specify one or more portable pixmaps as input and it produces a Microsoft Windows .ico file as output. A Windows icon contains 1 or more images, at different resolutions and color depths. Microsoft recommends including at least the following formats in each icon (size and bits-per-pixel):
=> 16 x 16 - 4 bpp
=> 32 x 32 - 4 bpp
=> 48 x 48 - 8 bpp

How to create a favicon.ico with GIMP

How to create a favicon.ico with GIMP

You need to install netpbm - a graphics conversion tools under Linux / UNIX. You also need GIMP - the GNU Image Manipulation program to create a favicon on Linux.

Install netpbm and GIMP

Use apt-get command to install packages under Debian / Ubuntu Linux:
$ sudo apt-get install netpbm gimp

Step # 1: Convert logo to ppm raw format

  1. Open your logo using GIMP
  2. Now cut and paste logo in square
  3. Next resize logo by visiting Image > Scale image option. Set pixel size to 16 x 16 or 32 x 32 or 48 x 48.
  4. Next click on File > Save as > Enter file name as favicon.ppm > Click on Save > Raw Encoding > Ok

Step # 2: Convert portable pixmaps into a Windows .ico file

Now run the following command to create a .ico file:
$ ppmtowinicon -output favicon.ico favicon.ppm

Step # 3: Upload favicon.ico file

Upload favicon.ico file to webserver root directory such as /var/www/html or /srv/httpd/cyberciti.biz.

Step # 4: Favicon example

To activate favicon, modify your site pages or template by placing following code between <head>...</head> section:

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Binny V A October 9, 2007 at 3:15 am

I just convert it to GIF and rename it as .ico. Seems to work fine.

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2 BGreeNZ April 1, 2011 at 5:07 am

@Binny V A: In general, that is true. AFAIK, Internet Explorer is the only browser that actually expects favicon.ico to be in Windows Icon format.

All other browsers use the mime-type (Content-Type header) or actual file contents to determine the format, and will generally display any supported image (maybe even SVG), so simply make sure your webserver is configured to send the correct mime-type for whatever favicon.ico format you choose, and Bob’s your Uncle!

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