ICOFormat is a nifty plugin for Photoshop that implements support for importing and exporting ICO and CUR (cursor) files seamlessly.
Although originally designed for Photoshop 5.0 and later, the plugin also works with PaintShop Pro 9 and Photoshop Elements. By forcing these editors to accept ICO files, it extends their functionality, benefitting users who require such a feature in their line of work.
ICOFormat is brought inside an architecture common to many similar plugins (8bi format), being easy to deploy. It all comes down to placing it inside the Photoshop installation folder under \Plug-Ins\File Formats.
It’s recommended that you close Photoshop while you’re performing these modifications, although it won’t do any harm except the fact that you’ll have to restart the application once you’ve finished moving the 8bi files to its folders.
You’ll have to check if indeed the functionality has been implemented by a quick attempt to import an icon or a CUR file. Alternatively, you can export graphics to ICO format just as well.
The main highlights of the product are the support for 1, 4 and 8 bit icons in indexed mode and 16, 24 and 32 in RGB mode, as well as the possibility to save an icon in PNG compressed format.
Moreover, if a file containing multiple icons is imported, the application prompts you to select the one you want to process, specifying basic info (color depth, pixel size) for each of the items.
In a nutshell, ICOFormat is the best chance that you have if you want to work with icons inside Photoshop. It’s easy to deploy, sports a good array of options and achieves the job it was built for.