Are there any modern guidelines for how icons should look in desktop Windows?
I'm particularly interested in toolbar icons right now, but I'm hoping for some general icon guidance.

The Windows Desktop design guide looks up-to-date in its broadest sweeps, but when it gets to specifics it starts making comparisons between Vista and XP styles, which dates it to 2007 or thereabout.

  • From a an Enterprise point of view. I belive there should not be any shortcuts on the desktop in the image. User should have whole desktop themselves to place their icons. – SCCM Guy Oct 9 '17 at 1:04

It took a few more moments than I had thought, but Microsoft does have an up-to-date icon style guide for Modern UI. You can find it not in MSDN, but in a dedicated Windows Dev Center and its Design section.

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  • Thank you, I hadn't found that, and it's interesting reading. That said, it's a guide for Windows Store / Windows RT apps, a different beast from Windows desktop apps. It stays far away from crowded little mouseable things like toolbars (not just in the Icons article). – hemflit Feb 19 '15 at 1:16
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    @hemflit: Windows is moving toward unified UX across all devices and platforms, so "crowded little mousable things" will be considered to be out of style. Take a look at Office Preview for Windows 10: it combined Modern UI with Ribbon tabs and multi-level menus easily. My guess is that they will release a new style guide at Build 2015. – dnbrv Feb 19 '15 at 1:31
  • Thanks. Interesting how, even on the Surface, the ribbons are actually laid out more like toolbars than like the original Office 2007 ribbons. I'll take Microsoft's commitment to the new hotness completely to heart as soon as they make Visual Studio finger-friendly. – hemflit Feb 19 '15 at 10:03

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