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How to display the Pick Icon Dialog

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12 Jan 2000CPOL 129.1K   1.8K   23   12
Explains how to display the windows 'Pick Icon' dialog
In this post, you will find an explanation of how to use the Pick Icon common dialog.

Sample Image - selecticon.gif


We all know the Pick Icon common dialog that the Windows shell displays when you choose "Change icon". However, the function to do this is undocumented. This article explains how to use this common dialog.

You bring up the dialog by calling the function PickIconDlg. This function is exported by ordinal from shell32.dll and has ordinal 62.

However, the function has one drawback: it has a different signature in Windows NT and Windows 95/98. Therefore, I wrote a wrapper around the function that dynamically binds to shell32.dll and converts arguments when necessary.

I provided two versions of the wrapper function: a Unicode version and an ANSI version.

The function returns you the name of the file that contains the icon and the index of the icon. This is a zero-based index, not a resource id. This means you can extract the icon with the function ExtractIcon.

The following piece of code (from the accompanying sample project) shows how to call the wrapper function:

if (::SelectIcon(m_hWnd, m_pszCurrentFile, MAX_PATH, &m_dwCurrentIndex))
    m_hIcon = ::ExtractIcon(::AfxGetInstanceHandle(), 
        m_pszCurrentFile, m_dwCurrentIndex);
    SetIcon(m_hIcon, TRUE);
    SetIcon(m_hIcon, FALSE);


  • 13th January, 2000: Initial version


This article has no explicit license attached to it, but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt, please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Written By
Web Developer
Belgium Belgium
Henk studied computer science at the University of Ghent, specializing in theoretical computer science.
He is now working for Artwork Systems, Belgium, and Whirling Dervishes Software, Belgium.
Henk knows a little something about networking, graphics, object-oriented design, AI, embedded systems. He knows most of the PDF specs by heart.
Henk developed NSELib, the NameSpace Extension Library.
You can find his latest freeware software at It contains a namespace extension that puts the registry in Windows Explorer. The newest commercial project is Alpha ZIP, an explorer-embedded ZIP file utility.

Comments and Discussions

QuestionProblem with PickIconDialog in C# and Windows 2000 Pin
nagarsoft19-Nov-05 7:43
nagarsoft19-Nov-05 7:43 
AnswerRe: Problem with PickIconDialog in C# and Windows 2000 Pin
jeremy simmons29-Jan-10 6:19
jeremy simmons29-Jan-10 6:19 
GeneralLarge or small icon add to image list Pin
Tcpip20051-Nov-05 14:23
Tcpip20051-Nov-05 14:23 
GeneralSelectIcon on VB 6.0 Pin
WillianBR29-Apr-04 5:23
WillianBR29-Apr-04 5:23 
QuestionHow did you figure out the signature ? Pin
<b>T</b>om <b>C</b>ollins9-Dec-03 3:13
<b>T</b>om <b>C</b>ollins9-Dec-03 3:13 
GeneralUndocumented PickIcon dialog Pin
Armen Hakobyan12-Mar-02 5:44
professionalArmen Hakobyan12-Mar-02 5:44 
GeneralContextMenu on Network Neighborhood computer Pin
13-Feb-01 16:09
suss13-Feb-01 16:09 
GeneralRe: ContextMenu on Network Neighborhood computer Pin
Henk Devos13-Feb-01 22:13
Henk Devos13-Feb-01 22:13 
GeneralRe: ContextMenu on Network Neighborhood computer Pin
14-Feb-01 7:51
suss14-Feb-01 7:51 
GeneralSaved me a couple hours Pin
Matt Wigdahl14-Sep-00 4:12
Matt Wigdahl14-Sep-00 4:12 
QuestionHow to save the selected icon in a file ? Pin
Member 477216-Jan-00 1:30
Member 477216-Jan-00 1:30 
AnswerRe: How to save the selected icon in a file ? Pin
Christiaan Ghijselinck8-Jun-00 14:16
sussChristiaan Ghijselinck8-Jun-00 14:16 

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