I have a certain PNG I'd like to replace a folder icon with.

I noticed that when i Command-I this .png file, it will preview on the bottom, but not on the top left part (generic ".png" text appears instead).

I also noticed that only images that DO appear on the top left side of the "Get Info" window can be successfully Command-C'ed + Command-V'ed into my target folders' "Get Info" top left area - so that the image is replaced.

My question: is there some kind of standard for images that makes or breaks their compatibility with changing a folder's icon?

1 Answer 1


Any image can be used to create an icon for a folder. The problem is that you're trying to copy the image from the Finder's preview. Not all images are saved with a preview like that, so you can't always use that as a source.

Fortunately, there's a good way around that. When you copy that icon, all you're copying is the image data. You can also do that by opening any image in Preview, selecting all (cmd+a), and copying. Go to your folder's Get Info window, select that icon at the top right, and paste.

I tested, and this works on Lion.

  • Tried it and it worked. however, i tried copying the data of a transparent photoshop image. It replaced the transparent background with white background. Any way around that?
    – JasonGenX
    Jul 27, 2011 at 4:15
  • @ron Either copy from Photoshop, or save as an image format that supports transparency (like PNG), open that in Preview, and copy. Your problem is cased by Preview's imperfect PSD rendering. Jul 27, 2011 at 14:05
  • Make sure you export the image as png with transparency enabled to do that
    – mopsyd
    May 17, 2013 at 18:39
  • Just to add that I’ve used this same method on every release from 10.4 to 10.10.
    – forquare
    May 26, 2015 at 9:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .