There’s something really cool about the Mac OSX look-and-feel: big neat icons. And not only is it perfect for the dock, it’s also great to embellish Keynote presentations, articles, or even the posts on this blog.
As a software developer, I often need cool icons for toolbar buttons and consequently have a really large collection of 128×128 icons. The downside is that it is really a pain to manage all of these files in an orderly fashion. And what about converting them from one format to another, or having a global view of all of them? It used to be a pain until I discovered Pixadex, by The Icon Factory. Pixadex is one of those cheap little apps that can make your life so much easier.
As the developers say it, “Pixadex is to icons, what Apple’s iPhoto is to images”. As a matter of fact, if you already use iPhoto to manage your family pictures, you won’t feel disorientated. Pixadex lets you manage your icon library exactly like you do in iPhoto. Well, in iPhoto ’06 actually, because of course, events don’t make any sense for icons. Basically, you can organize your icons into libraries, view them as a grid or a list and you can even add keywords to them, making searching quick and easy.
By double-clicking on an icon, you can add keywords and comments. And thanks to the integration with CandyBar, you can easily assign any icon to an application or to any system icon. Obviously, you will need CandyBar is installed on your system. What you can do natively though, is to assign any icon as your iChat avatar, or export in Mac Icon, ICNS, Windows ICO, TIFF or PNG format.
As for the possible inputs for your library, you can easily import Mac Icons, IconFactory iContainer files, folders of icons, images and iconDropper packs. So obviously, since it was created by the guys from IconFactory, it’s particularly well integrated with this service and the different formats it has to offer, yet providing enough flexibility to import icons from all the services you know.
One thing that I really loved about it is that it was able to clean up all the duplicates that I had created by importing several variants of the same icon library.
Things I Miss
At this point, I really love this application but there are two things I really miss. The first one is a small integrated utility, ala Picturesque, that would make it possible to create variants of icons just by adding a couple of effects on the fly. The second feature I would like to see in a future version is a better integration with the rest of the system – it would be awesome if we could just access the Pixadex library directly from Keynote for example.
So if you’re desperately looking for a better way to manage your collections of icons instead of just dealing with them as if they were mere images, I would say Pixadex is definitely worth its $18.95 licence. And if you’re not convinced, you can always download a free trial here and see for yourself.