Using the WP7 system color in live tiles and application icon

I’m currently building my first WP7 application for a contest that is held by Avanade Netherlands for all its employees. Who can create the best app in a small amount of time.

My app is almost finished and I was trying to set up the live tile and application icon. Of course I wanted to use the system color which the user has selected to display on the background of my live tile. How to do this? here is how, it is actually quite simple.

when you open your solution you’ll automatically get your background.png and applicationicon.png. both icons have a black/greyish background. like shown in the example below.


to switch the background to use the system color follow the following steps:

  • Open up your background.png in any decent image editing tool like
  • Use the magic marker to select the background

live tile selected

  • press delete so you get a transparent background


live tile deleted

  • save the icon back to your visual studio solution.
  • compile
  • enjoy!




Ofcourse the next step would be to do the same for your application icon (the icon in the application list).

I tried it and it didn’t work… after some research I found out that this is for Microsoft and official partners only.. Bummer!!


Guess we are going to be stuck by using greyish application icons after all.. hopefully Microsoft will fix this in the future.


Hopefully this post was helpful to you. In my opinion there are to few good resources to be found on WP7 development so every small thing helps.

Geert van der Cruijsen

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