Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Putting Invisible App Icons on Your Android Homescreen

So. Here's a little tutorial on how to put invisible shortcuts on your Android home screen. There are many uses for this little trick, but the one I like it for is the ability to keep your home screen looking nice and clean but still retaining the function of having a screen full of apps.

My home screen looks like this:
Even though the screen looks nice and clean, I have dedicated invisible icons for my email, calendar, video camera, and voice recorder, all on this screen, and all invisible. My 4 invisible app shortcuts are hidden, two on the left and two on the right, at the center and toward the bottom of the screen.

So, without further ado, here is the tutorial:

1 - Download "Desktop VisualizeR," by Bii, Inc. from the Market. It is free and should show up at the top of your results page if you search for it by name.

2 - You will need a transparent image file. Use your Android web browser to navigate to www.koenigphotography.net/transparent_icon.html Long-press the "Transparent_Icon.png" link (the only link on the page) and select "save link." Your browser will download the linked image file into your "download" folder. Now you have your transparent icon which you will use later.

2b - Alternatively, you can use your desktop web browser to navigate to the page, right click, the link and select "save link as" and then manually move the linked image file to your Android device via USB.

3 - Navigate to the home screen where you intend to put your invisible shortcut. Long-press an empty space on the home screen and select "Widgets" from the "Add to Home screen" menu. Scroll until you reach the list of Desktop VisualizeR widgets. I chose 1x1 sized widgets, but you may find it easier to use larger widgets (remember, you won't be able to see it once it's created).

4 - Your widget will show up on the home screen. Long-press and drag it to the spot where you want your invisible shortcut to be.

5 - Once it is in place, select the widget with a single tap

6 - In the Desktop VisualizeR menu select "Select Icon." Then, choose "Image File." Navigate to the image file you saved in step 2 and select it. Remember, it will be called "Transparent_Icon.png" and will be in the "download" folder if you used your Android browser to save it, or it will be wherever you put it if you used the method in step 2b.

7 - Select "Select Action." Then, you can choose "Launch Application" to have the invisible shortcut launch an app, or "Other" to have it do something else, such as direct dial or direct message a specific contact. Choose whatever you want the icon to do.

8 - Delete the text in the "Label" box, or else your invisible icon will have a very visible label. Alternatively, you can keep the text, and have your invisible icon be accompanied by text.

9 - You can change the color under "Touch Effect" or not, but once you are finished, click "OK."

Your icon is now ready to use. Consider using 4 invisible icons, one at each corner of the screen, so that finding them is easy.

Good luck.


Anonymous said...

What launcher is that? Looks sweet!

Daniel and Laura said...

It is Launcher Pro.
The wallpaper is here:


The text icons are here:


The time/date widget is "Minimalistic Text" by Devmil available in the Market.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, mate! I appreciate this guide! I, too, like clean homescreens :P

JamesPeach said...

I think I am going to try to take a picture of my desk with different things on it referencing apps, then place invisible icons over those things. for instance, I could have the gallery app invisible icon over a picture of my family.