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 ?


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.


  • That looks to me like "use this to get a measurement of something," not "convert your existing measurement into some other unit." – Lauren-Clear-Monica-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:




  • @Antoine Il n'y a pas de quoi. :) – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Jul 24 '14 at 14:47
  • 1
    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

  • 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. – antoinestv Jul 24 '14 at 10:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.