How to create nice-looking icons for Citrix published apps

Problem:

A customer of mine has a handful of web applications which are published with XenApp 6.5 and PNAgent, have shortcuts on the desktop, and are launched via a URL with Internet Explorer.  So, the default icon that the user sees on their desktop is the typical Internet Explorer blue e icon for every one of them.  The customer wanted to assign a distinctive and representative icon to each of the web based applications, but didn’t have all of the icons for them.

 

How I worked through it:

We first tried to assign some ICO files that we found to those applications; but while they looked good when we downloaded them, they looked horrible when presented to the user.  The colors were way off, which looked unacceptable to the customer:

 

 

So, I searched around on the web to find out why the custom icons looked so bad, but couldn’t find a lot of concrete information about it.  I found a Citrix support article (http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX126458) that was very brief, but did say one critical thing:  any icon files assigned to published applications that are larger or smaller than 32×32 pixels will downgrade to only an 8-bit color depth.  This is what I experienced in the above screenshot of the icon for the published application.  However, if the icon file is sized at exactly 32×32 pixels, it will retain up to the full 32-bit color depth.

Given this information, and messing around a bit with some icon files, I was able to prove out a process to ensure your custom icon files will show up as expected when assigned to published applications.

 

Process:

  1. Obtain a reference file that you want to turn into the new icon
    – This file can be in at least a ICO, PNG, GIF or JPEG format
    – It is preferable to have a file that already has a  transparent background (ICO, GIF or PNG) unless the background color is acceptable or the image is meant to take up the entire 32×32 pixel canvas

    Here is an example of the icon file that I tried originally, but looked bad on the published application because the size was 64×64 pixels (please see the “How I worked through it” section above for a screenshot of what it looked like in XenApp) 

  2. Open file in image editing software (like GIMP or Photoshop)
    Optional: If the image has a background that is not transparent and you want the final icon to have a transparent background  then proceed to cutout image that you want in the final icon file and paste it onto a new canvas with a transparent background
  3. Orient the image on the canvas as needed and re-size the canvas to 32×32 pixels
  4. Edit/touch-up as necessary
  5. Export to PNG or GIF (to keep transparency)
  6. Convert to ICO file
    – Browse to www.converticon.com
    – Browse for the new PNG or GIF file that was just created
    – Export to 32×32 pixel ICO file
  7. Upload file to a XenApp server in the farm that is hosting the published application
  8. Assign the icon to published application (XenApp 6.5 specific steps)
    – Open AppCenter
    – Open Application Properties of Published Application
    – Select Shortcut Presentation
    – Click “Change icon…”
    – Select “Choose an icon from a file on an IMA server”
    – Browse for and select the ICO file
    – Click OK, then OK

Here is what the re-sized icon then looked like after I assigned it to the published application:

 Happy iconing!

 

 

2017-07-27T00:01:07+00:00 October 17th, 2012|Uncategorized|

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