Home > Automator, Mac OS X > Customizing Automator application icons

Customizing Automator application icons

As part of my work with packaging, I’ve built a few Automator-based applications to assist me and other Mac admins.

Along with building the applications themselves, I wanted to provide custom icons for these apps. This would help them be instantly distinguishable from other Automator applications and also help make them look more polished.

I recently decided to change out the application icon for Payload-Free Package Creator, as its icon had been created on Mavericks and now appeared a little dated when used on Yosemite. With input from my colleague Elliot Jordan, the new icon for Payload-Free Package Creator now looks like this.

Payload Free Package Creator logo

For more information on how I went from this PNG file to an icon set for the application, please see below the jump.

The first step is creating a high-resolution image of what you want your icon to look like. You can always convert a high-res image into a lower resolution image, but the reverse is not true.

Once you have your image created, convert it into an icon set. There are ways to do this manually, but I prefer to use iConvert Icons for this task. iConvert Icons is a paid app available on the App Store that allows you to drag-and-drop an image onto its application window and have it convert the image into one or more icon formats.

For my own applications, I have the following options selected in iConvert Icons:

  • icns – Mac OS folder icon
  • icns – Mac OS icns file
  • Xcode iconset

IConvert Icons

I primarily use the Mac OS folder icon and Mac OS icns files in my Automator applications, but creating the Xcode iconset allows me to see how the icons will appear at various resolutions before actually applying them to the application.

Xcode icon set

To change the Automator application icon via the Finder’s Get Info window, I’m using the Mac OS folder icon generated by iConvert Icons with the procedure described here in this Apple KBase article:


To change the Automator application’s embedded icons, so that the application’s icon also appears in dialog windows, I’m using the following procedure:

1. Right-click on the Automator application
2. Click on Show Package Contents

Show package contents


3. Navigate to Contents/Resources
4. Locate an existing file named AutomatorApplet.icns

Locate Automator icon set

5. Remove the existing AutomatorApplet.icns file
6. Copy the Mac OS icns file generated by iConvert Icons to the Resources folder
7. Rename the Mac OS icns file to AutomatorApplet.icns

Replace Automator icon set

8. Fix permissions as needed for the new AutomatorApplet.icns file, to match those that have been set for the Automator application

9. Close the Finder window

Once the new AutomatorApplet.icns file is in place, the chosen application icon should appear in dialog windows instead of the generic Automator icons.

Dialog window 1


Dialog window 2

Categories: Automator, Mac OS X
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