I recently received a question from one of my customers, asking how to set the icon for an application (in this case a VCL application). This is something that I’d understood to be trivial, but when I tried it for myself I learned that in fact, it’s more tricky than I’d expected.

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  • Neither scaling nor reducing the color depth are desirable. An application icon group should contain a 256px 32bpp icon. Using PNG is the way forward. All that pfaffing around with GIMP is completely missing the big picture. Namely that the Delphi IDE has been deficient in this area for over 10 years. Quite why Emba cannot add native support for PNG icons is beyond me.
  • You can of course scale and reduce the bit-depth of the image, and yes, using the resource compiler will allow you to use the PNG format for the sake of compression.
  • I can recommend using the IcoFX tool developed by IcoFX Software - a small Romanian-based software company. All tasks related to creating icons can be performed using the tool. It is able to create not only icons for use in Windows, but handles icons for Mac, iOS and Android in diverse formats and resolutions as well from a single source. I have been using the tool for several years and can recommend highly recommend it.
  • This is categorically the wrong solution to the Emba IDE's failure to support PNG icons, introduced 10 years ago FWIW. Obviously the right solution would be for Emba to bring their IDE up to date in this regard. In the meantime though, you should never use 256px bmp icons due to their immense size. These size icons need to be PNG. The solution is to compile the resource using the MS resource compiler which has no such limitation.