An Iconic Tip

Despite spending all my time developing Domino browser applications, I still make a point of giving them nice icons, quite early on in the process. Whether or not you agree they are important they can still be quite useful. Personally, I don't use Bookmarks at all and still rely on the good old Workspace. Here, icons come in really handy.

We all know how to change the icon, but making your own is only for the brave or the artistically gifted. I tried once and never have since. Here's how I do it now:

Get yourself a copy of an image viewer that will show you the images contained inside .ico and .dll files. My favourite is Multimedia Explorer, which is now freeware. If you browse folders likes Windows\System for DLLs you will soon see what treasures are contained within some, like below:

Copy icon from DLL

When you find one you like, select it and use the Copy Image command from the Edit menu to copy it. Now open the Notes icon for editing in the client and use the Paste button to include the new image. Colour depth and size should match ok, as below:

pasted icon image

You can make them even nicer though! Open the icon for editing again and select the same two tools from the left-hand side as I'm using below:

Editing icon

With this tool combination (the eraser end of the pencil and the spray tool), click inside the white areas one by one until they all become transparent. You will then have an icon that looks much more professional, like so:

Finished icon

There are lots of files you can look in for great quality icons. Try some executables as well. The Office programs have some nice ones. As does Outlook and its Express sibling. Happy hunting...


    • avatar
    • ron
    • Tue 31 Aug 2004 08:49 PM

    Let go of the workspace! Bookmarks rule! At least maybe they would give the workspace a cooler color. That ancient grey just makes me think I'm working at a factory. A cap gun factory. With no hope of ever working anywhere else.

    • avatar
    • Dragon Cotterill
    • Wed 1 Sep 2004 01:40 AM

    I once saw an application which allowed you to put any graphic you wanted on the workspace. It was at one of the Berlin Lotusspheres back around 1999 or 2000. Can't find any reference to it on the net anymore.

    The Icons date back from version 3 (may have been earlier, but I started with 3.0) and haven't changed one bit. I would have thought that they certainly could have been improved somewhat. Perhaps with allowing greater colour depth or even allowing other image types.

    I still use the workspace. Simply because when you have 100+ databases on the system it's still the fastest way to select them. Bookmarks are still a bit clumsy to my mind. I've not seen anything that comes close to the workspace as yet.

    • avatar
    • anjali
    • Wed 1 Sep 2004 01:41 AM

    Does nyone know how to pass arguments to an agent from a button action??

  1. Have they fallen out then anjali?


    • avatar
    • Joe
    • Wed 1 Sep 2004 06:55 AM

    boom boom! and i thought the jokes were on a tuesday!

  2. When Lotus come up with a good bookmark equivilent of "Stack Replica Icons", together with a better visual classification then bookmarks, THEN I'll change. (In fact my most popular bookmark is the Workspace icon ;o)

    Anjali -- WTF? Talk about non-sequitur! How did you come up with a question about passing agent parameters in a discussion about workspace icons? Have you not heard of of {Link} ? (Take a look there -- no RIGHT THERE, the FAQ ... specifically, item 1: Agents FAQ.)

    There is the answer to your question.

  3. the workspace really rocks. That is the reason why it is still available in Notes 6 :-)

    Another great freeware tool which includes a search mechanism for icons in dll's and exe's is Hardcopy {Link} You can also edit the pictures and make hardcopies with it and much more...

    You once had a blog the tools I always use...this tool is really a must-have.

    • avatar
    • Doug
    • Wed 1 Sep 2004 07:40 PM

    Does anyone use Multimedia Explorer with Windows XP? Are the known bugs really bad? In trying to install this software it gives you a warning stating that it is not meant for use with XP and there is known bugs but it works.

    On a similar note, I have been using a similar technique for years, without having this type of software. I simply show all hidden icons at the operating system level, and once I find one I like, I use PrtScr. At this point, I take the screen capture into my graphics software and cut out the icon I want. Once you paste it into the Design Icon area, you can use the tools Jake mentioned to remove any extraneous background color(s).

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Thu 2 Sep 2004 03:25 AM

    I use it without problems on XP Doug.

  4. The way I do it is to find a suitable image on the Internet, or photograph it myself with a digital camera, then loaded it up and resize it in an image editor that has a good smoothing function. I find Microsoft Office's Photo Editor to be quite good at this task. Once resized to 32x32, it's simply a case of copying+pasting into Lotus and removing the coloured background as mentioned by your good self Jake. The 'Paste' function in the Lotus icon editor is very much a life-saver!

    • avatar
    • Gaston
    • Thu 2 Sep 2004 07:00 AM

    As for screenshot, I consider as a must have snag-it {Link} very powerful.

    I use it a lot also when I have to make the documentation of my application, and when I have to make a lot of screen shot for a demo.


    • avatar
    • Brad H
    • Thu 2 Sep 2004 08:16 AM

    I have been with Notes since R3 and been using R6 for about a year now. I too was a hold-out for the trusty, dusty Workspace until recently. Now I won't go near the thing. Bookmarks make so much more sense now .... now that I can see them all the time anyway.

    I have a 20 inch screen now, and began "pinning" the bookmarks open. You have the ability to quickly navigate to anything you want using the same paradigm - a folder hierarchy - that many other programs use.

    Dragon, I would beg to differ that once you start getting 100+ icons on the workspace that you are at a real disadvantage. You have to begin adding too many workspace tabs to get things organized! With the bookmarks, you can create folders and sub-folders to keep things well organized, and pinning it open allows you to see and jump to things without having to go to another tab. You can even leave the app you are working on open and right-click a bookmark to got to things like ACL, Db Props, and design refresh!

    Come on guys, don't resist change, you might just find it better ;-)

    • avatar
    • Dragon Cotterill
    • Fri 3 Sep 2004 05:07


    I have 12 workspace tabs. Three are for my "stuff" the rest are dedicated to clients. Since I work on a laptop on client sites most of the time, pinning the bookmarks open is not an option. It eats too much screen real estate. But as Patrick said earlier, there is no option to stack replicas. Yes I realise I could throw them all into a folder and just expand the folder as needed, but when you have systems which are replicated irregularly throughout 13 countries or designs in 3 realms (Dev, Test, Live) it's a real pain to figure out what design has got where.

    I'm always looking for new options and ways to use Notes, but what may work for you may not work for me. I've tried bookmarks, and they just aren't workin' for me.

    • avatar
    • Adam
    • Fri 3 Sep 2004 08:17

    Having been using Notes since R3, i just can't bring myself to move away from the workspace. I did try once, but didnt like the bookmarks.

  5. Hi everyone,

    ... that prog is nice :)

    I thought the following to blog entries might be of interest for -especially but not limited to - the desktop community ;-)

    Trying to unleash desktop.dsk:


    and the LNDSC (Lotus Notes Desktop Skinning Contest):


    Looking forward to see you there,

    with best regards,

    - Florian

    btw: ever saw a bookmark rule without the desktop ? *g* -there is also some interesting stuff for the bookmark community as you can see here:


  6. The simplest tips can be so handy. I never realized you could select both the eraser and the spraygun. Doh!

    I always tediously erased with the pencil eraser alone, having to go back and replace pixels whenever I invariably overshot.

    Thank you!

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