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In Mac OS X, suppose you open your root disk, following folders/directories will have different icon (thumb) on it.

  • Application
  • Developer
  • Library
  • System

How to apply a thumb image on my specific folder/directories?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted
  • locate the image file you want to use
  • press Cmd-C (Edit:Copy)
  • locate the folder you want the thumbnail applied to
  • press Cmd-I (File:Get Info)
  • click on the top left icon until it gets a colored outline
  • press Cmd-V (Edit:Paste)

You can also copy existing icons, use the Get Info window as source.

Edit: If this doesn't work, open the image in, select part of or the whole image and press Cmd-C (Edit:Copy). Then proceed with step 3.

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Excellent one. ! never mentioned in documents. – Sagar R. Kothari Aug 11 '10 at 8:52

I'd go with drag'n'drop:

  • open info of file(s)/folder(s) to set icon on
  • locate your icon (it can be an icon file or just any file, which icon you see for that file will be the one you will set)
  • drag icon and drop it on top left icon in info window
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You need to create a special Folder-type icon (the usual app bundle .icns won't work here). Img2icns will give you an option to create this type of icon, despite its name.

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Customizing file and folder icons in Mac OS X presents a more involved process utilizing an .icns file which can contain several versions of an icon for display at different sizes. While less elegant than the + C, + I, + V method, it's useful in cases where scaling a single icon produces unacceptable results (such as when the 16x16 icon is an indistinct blur).

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So it cannot be like thumbnail for Pictures folder in Windows? I mean, if I've set the display option to Thumbnails, then if a folder contains images i.e. photos, wallpapers then it gives a preview on the folder icon. I guess it's not there in OS X or any other OS for that matter..

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Mac OS X auto generates thumbnails for PDFs, images and other file types in the Finder in any view. – Chealion Sep 10 '10 at 16:01
Only when you place the folder in the Dock (as a "Stack"), and then it's still rather unusable. – Daniel Beck Feb 17 '11 at 13:38

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