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Customize the menubar icons System
Tired of the boring black and white menubar icons for AirPort, monitors, sound, etc? You can customize the colors by using a combination of Photoshop and Preview -- this thread on the MacNN forums has a general overview of the process.

Basically you need to edit the icons in Photoshop, save them in Photoshop format, then open and convert to TIFF files in Preview. Replace back into the application bundle for the particular menubar item, and you should get a colored version the next time you drag it to the menubar.

Update: In the spirit of keeping everything in one thread, here's a relocated article on the airport menubar icon...

I guess I spend too much time customizing my Mac OS X system, but turning the AirPort Menu Item to all orange was a dead give away for me :) All the images representing the various states of the AirPort network have been modified to be a light or dark orange.

If you'd like to colorize your Airport menubar icon, read the rest of the article...

This almost goes without saying, but you should always have a backup before you start changing system files! With that caution in mind, this is how to change your images for the AirPort menu.

You will need to be logged in as root to do this, it makes things easier, you don't have to fiddle with permissions.
[Editor's note: If you're comfortable in the Terminal, you can also do this with 'sudo' and other commands; those steps are left as an exercise for the more advanced readers!]

First, download the new images.

In the Finder, go to: /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/. Open up the package (right click, then "show package contents"). Navigate to the /Contents/Resources/ directory within the package. Now trash (or move to somewhere safe) these images:


Once they've been removed, insert the new images from the file you downloaded into the same folder. Logout and back in again and they should be set. Now you have a color airport menu! I like having a little color up there.
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Customize the menubar icons | 14 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: Diggory on Dec 12, '01 10:03:49AM

planning to do any other colours?

e.g. aqua blue?

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more colorized icons
Authored by: meancode on Dec 12, '01 02:25:26PM

hey all,

yes i have other colors for the airport menu, and have also colorized the other icons i have on my menu bar. i will post them some time. i think Rob posted this one for me cuz i actually went to the trubble of making them :) i will let you know when there are new colors, icons available. the next one i can make available is for the battery, because the work on the icons is done (there are a lot of those too!)

i made the plug and the zap icon green, and made the 'x" red. i also changed the gray to a brownish yellow around the battery. its a little change, but it really makes a difference. i will post it today if i get a chance.

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here is the web page
Authored by: meancode on Dec 12, '01 04:31:43PM
My OS X Mod page This has the airport menu, screens of all the images, and will have the other ones up soon.

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Authored by: Buddha on Dec 13, '01 12:07:08PM

May be a dumb question but. I wonder how well the change will survive an upgrade to Mac OS X.

I am guessing since the files have the same names as the ones you are replacing them with the change will stay through an upgrade.

Just curious so someone tell me if I am wrong. I just hate making such changes only to have them undone everytime Apple puts out some new "dot" release.

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Authored by: Hes Nikke on Dec 14, '01 04:26:09AM

i made copies and edited those copies, so if apple changes them, it isn't a big deal :)

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Rob has a good idea....
Authored by: meancode on Dec 14, '01 05:01:44PM

i agree, i always have copies of the mods i make and others i install. just in case i have to reinstall, or apple replaces them (as it has been known to do with its dot updates.

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Preserving custom .tif files across upgrades
Authored by: GymLeather on Dec 14, '01 08:19:50PM

Create a shell script that copies the distributed files to a backup folder/directory and then copies your custom files from your repository folder/directory to the appropriate locations. Execute this after an upgrade.

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an entire transparent set
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Dec 15, '01 01:58:33AM
i made an entire set of custom icons with full transperrency, that means that they play nice with custom theams! :)

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an entire transparent set
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Apr 05, '02 01:37:57PM
FYI: the page moved the link above is now dead.

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A colorized battery icon...
Authored by: rrdionne on Dec 15, '01 02:11:51AM
I have colorized my battery menu, in a different manner than shown here. I turned the battery green, the no battery to red, the charging to yellow. Tried to mirror the Battery Dockling...ah the old days. Screenshots and download are available here: Apartment 309 This is an alternative the one available at

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Authored by: Mr. X on Dec 15, '01 11:36:49PM

It inspired me. As soon as I read that I changed the icon in the menubar for the "PTHPasteboard" app. Very nice little freeware, but I hated the icon at first site! Now, with my new little custom cisors there, I feel much better! ; ) Thx!

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Gooey Menu Extras
Authored by: denisonmarrs on Feb 23, '02 09:06:08AM

I just started customizing the Menu Extras ... my first icons for Displays and Sound are pretty basic, but the Battery icon is nice and spiffy.

I submitted my .sit file to since I didn't have anywhere as of yet to post it. It will be a week or so until it is there, so if anyone else doesn't want to wait ... post an email address I can send it (165 kb) to.

denisionmarrs [••]

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Gooey Menu Extras
Authored by: denisonmarrs on Mar 09, '02 01:52:32PM

If you head over to and into their "App Makeovers" section under "GUI Goodies" ...

you'll find the link to my Gooey Menu Extras file.

It is listed as "Menubar replacement TIFFs by Oscar Javier (2-25-02)."


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Customize the menubar icons
Authored by: tinker on Aug 31, '06 11:03:27AM

Any plans to customize the battery icon in light of the recent recall? While we wait 4-6 weeks for our batteries to arrive, it might at least be amusing, in a dark sort of way, to see little flames coming out of the battery icon, or smoke, or something of the sort.... (I know, I know, we're to remove the batteries in the interim, but 4-6 weeks of laptop without a battery is more than just inconvenient -- for many it'll be impossible.)

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