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We are working on a software with a design close to Office 2013 (2D icons, main colors black and white).

We have a button which allows the user to change the units in the software. We are looking for an icon explicit for users. Units in this case are temperatures : °C, K, °F, but also distances : meters or foot.

What would be a good icon to represent this button? Our problem is that the icon must be 16x16 pixels. We just have no idea what to represent.

Currently it is not explicit:

enter image description here

Do you have any idea ?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The commonality between the units in this case is that they are normally both defined over a scale.

  • Short distances are measured with a ruler, that has a scale from one end to the other
  • Large distances with a scale on a map
  • Thermometers have a scale on them too.

I would therefore show some kind of graduated scale.


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That looks to me like "use this to get a measurement of something," not "convert your existing measurement into some other unit." – Lauren Ipsum Jul 24 '14 at 14:46
good idea put two different scales side by side or the arrow thing on top – joojaa Jul 24 '14 at 22:11

Double-headed arrow.

16px version:


100px version for clarity:


Different style, 16px:




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Good idea, thanks – Antoine Esteve Jul 24 '14 at 13:25
@Antoine Il n'y a pas de quoi. :) – Lauren Ipsum Jul 24 '14 at 14:47
I like your second proposal better than the first: that one reminds me of margins or document width a bit too much. – Vincent Jul 24 '14 at 15:13
so translate scale becomes swap. nice. – joojaa Jul 24 '14 at 22:13

For t you can combine all three symbols in one icon, or alternatively create 3 icons - each one is activated when proper scale is chosen:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

Probably it is better to separate t and l to two different icon/options

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It could be a good idea but it's not possible here. I'm looking for a general "units" icon (l & t). We can't change the icon. – Antoine Esteve Jul 24 '14 at 10:40

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