How to Change PDF Icons on Windows Computer and Mac

Icons are visual representations of programs and files on your computer.

Each program usually has two types of icons – one for the application itself and another for files created using that application.

Icons are also used to represent various system elements within the computer system.

You have the flexibility to customize all icons, including the Adobe PDF file icon. On a PC, you can change it system-wide, while on a Mac, you have the option to change it on a file-by-file basis.

So, let me show you how you can change PDF icons on each platform!


  • You can customize PDF icons on both Windows computers and Macs, allowing you to add a personal touch to your digital experience.
  • On Windows, access the “Folder Options” menu to change PDF icons system-wide or customize them on a file-by-file basis. Choose your desired replacement icon and confirm the change.
  • For Mac users, you can change the default PDF icon for specific files by copying an image to the clipboard, opening the file’s Info dialog, and pasting the image onto the current icon.
  • Remember that changing PDF icons is a visual customization and does not modify the actual PDF files. You can always revert back to the default icons.

Changing PDF Icons on a Windows PC

STEP 1: First, open “My Computer” and navigate to the “Folder Options” in the Tools menu. This is where you can access various settings related to files and folders.

STEP 2: In the “Folder Options” window, click on “File Types” to see a comprehensive list of file types and their corresponding extensions registered on your system.

STEP 3: Scroll through the list until you find the PDF file type. Once you locate it, click on the advanced button at the bottom of the dialog window. This will open additional options for customizing the selected file type.

STEP 4: Within the advanced options, click the “change icon” button. A new window will appear, allowing you to choose a replacement icon for the PDF files. Select the icon you desire, and click OK to confirm the change. Voila! Your PDF icons on Windows have been successfully customized.

Changing PDF Icons on a Mac

STEP 1: To change the default icon for a specific PDF file on your Mac, begin by copying an image to the clipboard. You can do this by selecting the image and using the Command+C keyboard shortcut.

STEP 2: Next, right-click on the PDF file you want to customize and select “Get Info” from the context menu. Alternatively, you can use the Command+I keyboard shortcut to access the Info dialog for the file.

STEP 3: Within the Info dialog, you’ll notice an icon at the top left corner. Click on it once to select it, and then paste the previously copied image onto the current icon using the Command+P keyboard shortcut. The new image will replace the default PDF icon.

STEP 4: If you don’t see the changes immediately, don’t worry! Sometimes, the new icon may not appear right away. In such cases, you can try logging out and logging back in or simply rebooting your Mac. This should refresh the icon cache and display the updated PDF icon.


If you want to personalize the icons for your PDF files, it’s easy to do so on both Windows PC and Mac. By following a few simple steps, you can choose icons that align with your style and preferences.

This small customization can give your computer a more personal and unique feel.

Remember, customizing icons is a creative way to make your computer reflect your personality, and it’s a fun way to put your own stamp on your digital workspace.

Frequently Asked Questions about Customizing PDF Icons

Q: Can I use any image as a replacement icon?

A: Yes, you can use any image as a replacement icon for PDF files. However, it’s important to note that icons typically work best when they are in the ICO format for Windows and in the ICNS format for Mac.

Q: Will changing the PDF icons affect the actual PDF files?

A: No, changing the PDF icons will not modify the actual PDF files in any way. It is purely a visual customization, and the content and functionality of the PDF files remain intact.

Q: Can I revert back to the default PDF icons?

A: Yes, if you want to revert back to the default PDF icons, you can usually find an option within the settings to restore the original icons. In Windows, it is often located in the “Folder Options” or “File Types” settings. On Mac, you can remove the customized icon by selecting it and pressing the Delete key.

Q: Can I customize icons for other file types as well?

A: Yes, you can customize icons for various file types on both Windows and Mac. The process is similar to changing PDF icons, and you can apply it to different file formats according to your preference.

Q: Are there any limitations to customizing icons?

A: While you can customize icons to a great extent, it’s important to ensure that the icon file format is compatible with the operating system. Additionally, extremely large or complex icons may not display properly or could impact system performance.

Q: Can I share the customized PDF icons with others?

A: Yes, you can share customized PDF icons with others by providing them with the icon files or guiding them through the customization process. However, keep in mind that the recipient’s computer should support the same file format and icon customization options.

Q: Can I use third-party software to customize PDF icons?

A: Yes, there are third-party software applications available that offer advanced icon customization features. These tools can provide additional options and flexibility for modifying icons beyond the built-in settings of your operating system.

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