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Site Graphics and Multimedia Design Forum

Favicons and Transparency

 10:29 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm getting frustrated with IE. I've been creating favicons with transparent areas so that no matter what color they appear against, they won't look boxy. I just registered the fact that IE6 doesn't support transparency in a favicon file - at least not in mine.

My post here is sort of heads-up and a general rant, but what's with those folks at Redmond? The Explorer icon and those of other programs have had transparent backgrounds forever! But drag one of mine onto the desktop and it's got a white box around it.

I use IconForge to create the favicon transparency - but maybe there's a trick I'm missing here. The favicons are rendered with transparency in most other browsers. So, is there a way to get MSIE to display them correctly?



 1:54 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can you not just use white for your favicons where you need transparency as most URL address bars have a white background?

Perhaps I am missing something :)


 2:11 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Perhaps I am missing something<<

The "Favorites" listing is gray by default. :)


 2:16 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

whey hey :)

Thats is it, that is what I am missing LOL


 2:22 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Plus the fact that favorites can be dragged and dropped onto the desktop, etc. IE turns the transparent pixels white, so the result is the same as if I had designed in white.

It's just more elegant if there can be transparency. And since I take the trouble to create favicons with 2 separate resolutions (16x16 and 32x32) it would be nice to know that they'll diplay with transparency on the desktop, just like other icons can.

They look great in some of the spots where other browsers display them. Opera puts them on the browser tabs, for instance, which I believe take on you system default colors.

I recently set my backgrounds to off-white to help with glare, and that's made me more sensitive to the way favicons are treated. And I don't want to reosrt to squares all the time.


 3:14 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)


I have had the same problem and I couldn't find an answer.
So, I placed a 1px wide black box around the Favicon. This obviously does nothing for the boxy shape but defines it against the background and chrome.

Not much of a fix but more elegant IMHO




 4:01 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

well here's another problem with IE and favicons, aren't they stored in the IE cache? I've noticed that eventually the favicons will go away to a little red X or the default IE blue 'e' meaning the image is missing... this may take weeks but it does happen, which means to me IE is not moving them from the cache to a more permanent area... Not sure how other browsers handle this.

Another point about favicons is how some new browers will show it immediately when you are on a site, and IE will only show it once you "favorite place" it. Considering IE "invented" favicon, it's interesting how other browsers are improving it.


 5:24 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

One thing I've learned - it doesn't pay to let the browsers look for the favicon by their own wits. If I want it to show up for sure, then I use the <link> tag in the HEAD:

<link rel="SHORTCUT ICON" href="/favicon.ico">

And yes, the favicon does vanish from IE's Favorites after a while. I think their own brand gets jealous. It still shows up in the location bar whenever you visit, and Opera 7 shows it on the tab and the location bar, but, paradoxically, NOT in the bookmarks.


 6:56 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I haven't looked at IE6 yet, since it won't install on the office PCs here... but as long as it does the same thing to ALL favicons, and not just yours, I wouldn't worry about it.

Personally, I consider them a nice perk... so I design one, install it on the server, and let the end user's browser sort it out. Since I'm still using OS9 on my Mac, I don't have a browser that supports them... so I never get to admire my handiwork anyhow.


 7:09 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Favicons are so ephemeral that I don't think it's worth putting a lot of time into them. I usually do one for a new site, but I figure their duration will average between a day and a week or two. This would be a great feature if it was supported better.

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