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Adding new icons

This guide assumes you've already read through and designed your new icon according to the style guide's icon principles, the visual style guidelines and perhaps even followed the template for creating the new one before arriving on this page.

The basics

When adding a new icon, you should:

  • Add the SVG file(s) for the icon to the packages/codex-icons/src/images/ directory
  • Optimize the SVG file(s)
  • Add the icon definition to packages/codex-icons/src/icons.ts

Internationalization and localization

In general, we aim to provide universal icons rather than culturally-specific ones. Nonetheless, in order for the system to put the user into the center, Codex allows specific overrides in its icon system to support directionality- or language-specific overrides to achieve great usability in many languages. A few examples of such icons:

  • Some icons are horizontally flipped between left-to-right (LTR) and right-to-left (RTL) contexts
  • Some icons use different SVGs for LTR and RTL
  • Some icons use different SVGs for different languages

This page contains instructions for adding all of these icon variants and more.



The icon's name should describe the icon, not its application, e.g. bell instead of notification.

Icon files should be named with the icon name in lowerCamelCase, e.g. fooBar.svg or fullScreen.svg. If there are multiple SVG files for the same icon, those are named iconName-suffix.svg, e.g. imageAdd-rtl.svg or italic-i.svg (more on this below).

The variable name of the icon definition in packages/codex-icons/src/icons.ts should be in lowerCamelCase and consist of the prefix cdxIcon followed by the icon name, e.g. cdxIconFullScreen for the fullScreen icon. Icon definitions in this file are in alphabetical order.

SVG conventions

Follow these conventions when crafting SVG files for icons:

  • Icons must be 20x20 pixels. Set width="20" height="20" viewbox="0 0 20 20" on the <svg> tag.
  • Icons should include a <title> tag with the name of the icon.
  • Icons must be monochrome (only default black color), and should not hard-code this color. This means the fill attribute should not be used.

SVG optimization

Icons are also optimized using SVGO during the build process. Codex follows MediaWiki's SVG coding conventions, which are captured in the .svgo.config.js configuration file in the @wikimedia/codex-icons package root folder. Note that this optimization step overwrites the icon files in the src/images directory, and removes any <!-- comments --> in the SVG files.

To optimize the new icon file(s), run npm run minify:svg -w @wikimedia/codex-icons in the root of the codex repository. Be sure to commit the optimized file(s).

How to add each type of icon

Simple unidirectional icons

For a simple icon that doesn't vary by directionality (LTR/RTL) or language, add a single SVG file named in lowerCamelCase, e.g. fullScreen.svg, to the images/ directory. Add an icon definition to icons.ts that looks like this:

import svgFullScreen from './images/fullScreen.svg';
export const cdxIconFullScreen = svgFullScreen;

Automatically flipped icons

Automatically flipped icons are icons whose RTL version is a perfect mirror image of the LTR version. For these icons, we only put the LTR version in the repository, and then tell the browser to flip the icon horizontally in RTL contexts.

For example, listBullet.svg contains the LTR version of the listBullet icon: . In RTL contexts, the LTR version is displayed, but is mirrored horizontally: .

For these icons, add a single SVG file named in lowerCamelCase, e.g. listBullet.svg, to the images/ directory. This file contains the LTR version of the icon (but despite that, it doesn't have a -ltr suffix). Add an icon definition to icons.ts that looks like this:

import svgListBullet from './images/listBullet.svg';
export const cdxIconListBullet: IconFlipForRtl = {
	ltr: svgListBullet,
	shouldFlip: true

Per-language exceptions to automatic flipping

For some icons, certain RTL languages need to use the LTR version of an icon. For example, question marks are flipped in most RTL languages, but not in Hebrew and Yiddish, so icons like help () that depict a question mark should not be flipped in those languages. To indicate this, list the RTL languages in which the icon shouldn't be flipped in the shouldFlipExceptions property, like this:

import svgHelp from './images/help.svg';
export const cdxIconHelp: IconFlipForRtl = {
	ltr: svgHelp,
	shouldFlip: true,
	shouldFlipExceptions: [ 'he', 'yi' ]

Icons with different LTR and RTL versions

For some icons, the RTL version isn't a simple mirror image of the LTR version. For example, the listNumbered icon looks like in LTR. Flipping it automatically would look wrong, because the numbers would be mirrored too: . Instead, we need a separate SVG file for the RTL version of the icon: .

For these icons, add two SVG files to the images/ directory named with -ltr and -rtl suffixes, e.g. listNumbered-ltr.svg and listNumbered-rtl.svg. Add an icon definition to icons.ts that looks like this:

import svgListNumberedLtr from './images/listNumbered-ltr.svg';
import svgListNumberedRtl from './images/listNumbered-rtl.svg';
export const cdxIconListNumbered: IconVariedByDir = {
	ltr: svgListNumberedLtr,
	rtl: svgListNumberedRtl

Icons with different versions per language

Some icons look different in different languages, especially those based on letters. In many cases, several languages share the same version of the icon. For example, the bold icon looks like in Czech, English, Hebrew, Malayalam, Polish and Scottish, but like in Kirghiz, Russian and Ukrainian, etc.

For these icons, add a separate SVG file for each version of the icon to images/, each with a suffix that describes the variant of the icon. For example, bold-b.svg, bold-f.svg, bold-cyrl-zhe.svg, etc. There may be many variants; the bold icon has 16.

In the icon definition in icons.ts, first import all the variant files in alphabetical order, then define which variant to use for which language, and the default variant to use for all other languages.

import svgBoldA from './images/bold-a.svg';
import svgBoldB from './images/bold-b.svg';
import svgBoldCyrlZhe from './images/bold-cyrl-zhe.svg';
// … many more …

export const cdxIconBold: IconVariedByLang = {
	langCodeMap: {
		cs: svgBoldB,
		en: svgBoldB,
		he: svgBoldB,
		ml: svgBoldB,
		pl: svgBoldB,
		sco: svgBoldB,
		ky: svgBoldCyrlZhe,
		ru: svgBoldCyrlZhe,
		uk: svgBoldCyrlZhe,
		// … many more …
	// 'bold-a.svg' will be used for all other languages not listed above.
	default: svgBoldA

Testing the new icon


After optimizing the SVG file(s), run npm run lint -w @wikimedia/codex-icons in the root of the codex repository. This will run svglint and will check your additions to icons.ts.

Testing locally

To view the new icon on the Codex docs site, run these commands from the root of the codex repository:

# Build the icons package.
npm run build -w @wikimedia/codex-icons

# Serve the docs site.
npm run doc:dev

Then you can visit http://localhost:5173/icons/all-icons.html to view the list of all icons, including your new one.