Monday, September 19, 2011

Using Custom Icons to Differentate GP Versions

I develop Dynamics GP customizations and integrations for alot of different customers, and currently they are running GP 9, GP 10, GP 2010, and GP 2010 R2 (thankfully nothing older than GP 9!).  Most use only the core GP modules, while some use Project Accounting, and a few use Analytical Accounting.  Because of this, I have to maintain several different versions of GP on multiple virtual servers.

This is a pretty standard situation, but one small annoyance I have had is that the GP 10 icon is the same as the GP 2010 icon.  So if I have both versions installed on a server, I have to try and differentiate the icons on my start menu, task bar, and desktop so that I can tell which is GP 10 versus 2010.  And then I have one machine with GP 2010 and a separate install of GP 2010 R2, so that is also fun.

I don't know why it didn't occur to me earlier, but tonight I thought I would try and create custom icons for each version of GP.  If you are using Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2010, it's a pretty simple process.

I already have a standard Dynamics GP icon file that I created several years ago, or if you want to create your own, you can use an icon editor or extractor.

I just made a copy of the icon file, opened it in Visual Studio, and then added a basic "2010 R2" to the 32x32 icon, and just an "R2" to the 24x24 and 16x16 icons.  I've made a similar one for GP 10.  And now I can use the same technique to create one for my separate Analytical Accounting, Project Accounting, and Manufacturing installs.

Obviously desktop icons have a text label, but the custom icons are very helpful for the icons in the system tray.

Unfortunately, while writing this, I just discovered one very big limitation.  The Visual Studio 2010 icon editor does not support editing of 32-bit (color depth) icons.  Since I am using my custom icons on a virtual server that I access via RDP, the 16-bit icons are fine for me.  But if you want to make 32-bit versions, you'll need a real icon editor, such as the very good Axialis Icon Workshop, or perhaps there is a free product available.

It appears that Axialis Icon Workshop includes a Visual Studio 2010 Add In, so that's a nice feature if you do much icon editing.

Steve Endow is a Dynamics GP Certified Trainer and Dynamics GP Certified IT Professional in Los Angeles.  He is also the owner of Precipio Services, which provides Dynamics GP integrations, customizations, and automation solutions.

No comments: