Stream Deck Icon Generator

I am an avid creator of Shortcuts on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, and also of Elgato’s Stream Deck hardware that provides me with additional dynamic trigger buttons to use on both my personal Mac and my work PC. I personally make use of a lot of text-based identifiers for content on my Stream Deck, but in other areas I revert to meaningful pictograms. I posted earlier this year about a number of repositories that would give you over 3,800 icons for use with your Stream Deck. But I’ve moved on a little from that.

I would like to explain how I am now generating icons using Apple’s Shortcuts app, that I can then use with my Stream Deck, Shortcuts (on device home pages), or in fact, any other place I would like to use a set of icons. From the variety of icon glyphs available, and the colour combinations, it works out as a possible 478,507 Billion icons, though admittedly not every colour combination would work. Still I think there must be several billion options that would, which is likely to cover many user’s day-to-day needs.

Why Generate Icons?

I’ve switched to these generated icons for one key reason. Unlike the pre-made icons available from many sources, by generating the icons, this can provide a commonality of style. The icons are styled the same way (predominantly), and the colour of the background and the icon can be styled to anything you wish. Anything you can specify with a 6-digit hexadecimal RGB triple at least.

Generating icons like this just gives my Stream Deck, and my MacBook Pro Touch Bar (utilising Better Touch Tool of course) and anything else that uses icons a look of consistency that I’ve not found through using any of the other sets I have been able to find previously.

Generating Icons

The key to this icon generation is not just Apple’s Shortcuts app, but more specifically, the Toolbox Pro app by Alex Hay. Toolbox Pro includes an action to create images based on SF Symbols and Font Awesome icons. Shortcuts simply provides the automation around the control of this action, and through it you can generate thousands of icons in any colour combination you wish.

About The Icon Generation Shortcut

The shortcut is a recursive shortcut, which means it actually calls itself when it is run. This allows everything to be self contained and to loop around when you want to change settings. The main menu offers four options:

1. Set Icon Colour

This allows you to specify a colour for drawing the icon. I recommend specifying this as an HTML colour code, htmlcolourcodes.com providing a great colour picker if you need one. The colour is entered without any leading hash (“#”) symbol. So for example to chose a vibrant bright green colour, you might enter a value of 52FA04.

The icon colour is held in a persistent variable by Toolbox Pro, and so does not need to be set each time the shortcut is run if you are using the same colour. Once set, the shortcut will recurse and the selection menu is shown once again.

2. Set Icon Background Colour

This allows you to specify a colour for filling in the background behind the icon. The colour is specified in exactly the same way as the icon colour. On my Stream Deck I certainly have a preference for a black background (000000), but for other uses I do tend to vary the background colour more frequently.

3. Generate Icon Set

This generation option is the one that does the heavy lifting. Here you can choose from a set of icons to generate using the colours that you have now specified. The available options are:

  • All - This will generate all of the SF Symbol and Font Awesome icons
  • All SFSymbols - This will generate all of the SF Symbol icons
  • Arrows
  • Commerce
  • Communication
  • Connectivity
  • Devices
  • Editing
  • Font Awesome (All) - This will generate all of the Font Awesome icons
  • Font Awesome (Brands)
  • Font Awesome (Light)
  • Font Awesome (Regular)
  • Font Awesome (Solid)
  • Health
  • Human
  • Indices
  • Keyboard
  • Math
  • Media
  • Nature
  • Objects & Tools
  • Shapes
  • Text Formatting
  • Time
  • Transportation
  • Weather

Now, on my hardware it can take a very long time to generate larger sets of icons, so I tend to batch things up into smaller batches, but your performance may well be better than mine due to my current hardware’s age. However, I do recommend that if you want to generate larger sets that you disable the screen auto-lock.

When generated the icons will, by default, appear in a folder called Icons in the Shortcuts folder in iCloud. Each icon is named as follows:

{icon name}.{icon colour}.{background colour}.png

The icon name can also be made up of several dotted elements. Here are some example filenames to illustrate how this can vary:

clock.15130D.F3BC15.png
tv.circle.FFFF00.000000.png
fa-shoe-prints.solid.9DF7E6.024D87.png
lessthan.square.fill.00FF00.FFFFFF.png
keyboard.chevron.compact.down.FF33A2.461932.png

Once you have icon image files generated, you can utilise them for your particular needs.

4. Generate Icon(s) by Name

There is also an option to choose a specific icon to generate. However, it is choosing from all of the available icon names and so on my hardware is very slow to scroll such a large list. If you find this is slow on your hardware, I would recommend generating one of the subsets instead that contains your desired icon; it will likely be a faster approach.

The generated icon will once again be saved to the Icons subfolder.

Getting the Shortcut

You can add the shortcut to your device by selecting the download link below.

Do remember that you must have the ToolBox Pro app installed on your device for the shortcut to function.

Author: Stephen Millard
Tags: | stream deck | shortcuts |

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