FileIcon Tag

By Deane Barker on May 4, 2004

We need an HTML tag that displays the correct application icon GIF based on the user’s system settings.

Say I have a file library online. I have links to files with little icon pictures next to them based on the file type. I need a tag like this:


When a browser encountered this tag, it would query the system to find out what application is associated with .doc files, and display that icon in the Web page, pulled from the user’s system. So if my user uses WordPerfect on a Mac, or OpenOffice on Linux, they don’t see the Microsoft Word icon next to the file name.

Just a thought. I suppose there are much bigger dragons to slay in the world…



  1. That sounds eerily like what the resource fork on Macintosh files does (or did, through OS 9.) The resource fork would carry all kinds of info about the file, and two tags in the resource fork help the computer to figure out what icon to display and what application to use to open it — type and creator codes. This is how Apple got away with not needing a file name extension when a file was saved.

    See for more info.

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