Beginners Education 5 - Adding Icons and Sounds (Garmin)


Beginners Education 5 - Adding Icons and Sounds

Once you are comfortable with POI Loader, you will probably want to add Icons for your POI files and perhaps get an audio alert when one is nearby.

Many longtime users will tell you that this is not as good as it first seems to be. To see the Icons, you have to be zoomed in pretty close. And, are you sure that you want to be notified every time a McDonalds is nearby? Many don’t, but knowing that a Rest Area is coming up in a couple of miles does give you enough time to decide if a pit stop is advisable, so many seem to employ that particular alert.

POI-Factory has lots of interesting and useful POI files - that you already know. The site also has various Icons and/or Sound files to go with them. And, you can make your own - more on that later.

Since the technique for downloading Icon and Sound files varies by the browser you use, we will use the example of downloading the Icon and Sound files for AAA. You might choose another POI than AAA or just follow along with this exercise.

An Icon file for AAA can be found at
If you will hold the shift key when you click the link above, a new window will open so you can continue to read from this exercise as you work.

The download is different in the various browsers.

In Internet Explorer, if you click on AAA.bmp, you will be shown the Icon. It will appear very small - and it is. Likely the icon is 24 x 24, but it could be 48 x 48 depending on when it was submitted. Early devices could handle only 24 x 24 size; newer devices could use 48 x 48 out of the box. There is discussion as whether the firmware has changed so the the earlier devices can handle larger sizes.

In Internet Explorer, to download the icon, you should right click on AAA.bmp to get options; then left click on ‘Save Target As..” to get the download dialog. From there, you can save the file wherever you want. NOTE you should save both the Icon and Sound files to the same folder in which you have saved the POI file.

In Google, a left click will open the "Save as" dialog directly.

To download the file in Firefox, right click on AAA.bmp and then left click on ‘Save Link As..” to get the download dialog.

To download the file in Opera, a left click will open the "Save as" dialog directly.

If you are using another browser, you may need to experiment to find the correct selection after the right click. You will recognize the correct selection because the download dialog will appear.

Note about sound files: Early on, poi-factory's sound files are mostly .mp3. The following unit are able to play .mp3s
Nuvi 295, 3xx series, 6xx series, 7xx series, 8xx series, and the 900. Streetpilot c550, c580, 2820, 7200 and 7500. Zumo 400, 450, 500, 550, 600, 660, 665.

New Garmin units do not have the ability to play mp3 files like the older units. If your units can not play mp3 files, and there in not a .wav file available, you will have to use wav files instead. Usually, this will involve several additional steps. You will need to download a particular version of SOX.exe ( and place this in the folder which contains POI Loader (which is x:\Program Files\Garmin\POI Loader on 32 bit systems and
x:\Program Files (x86)\Garmin\POI Loader on 64 bit systems. You don't need to execute sox.exe or do anything with it. POI Loader will check to see if sox.exe is in the folder and then pass the command string needed to use any .wav files.

With newer devices which do not have an .mp3 reader, you will need to be able to convert .mp3 files to .wav files. While many of us use Audacity at, the easiest way for a beginner to do a conversion is to go to the online site You point the site to the folder containing the .mp3 file and then click the upload button. Then you make the choice to convert it to a .wav file and click the Convert button. After conversion you will click the Download button, then click save in the "File Download" dialog that will appear and then choose the folder where you want the .wav file to be placed. It is my experience that you can have both a .mp3 file and a .wav file (with the same name except for the extension) in the same folder and POI Loader will use what it needs for your particular device.

One of the easiest ways to create a personalized .wav file is to use
The use of this site is free.

A sound file for AAA.MP3 can be found at

If you right click on the file, it will be played for you. To download it, follow the same download procedure as for the Icon file.

Some GPS units do not have a MP3 player and the .mp3 file will need to be converted to a .wav file to get audio alerts. If you do not have the capability to play MP3s, then you will want to go to How do I get voice alerts using wav files for units without mp3 capability? by charlesd45. Find this tutorial at

Now that you have downloaded some Icon and Sound files, you will need to know how to use them in conjunction with the associated POI file. To find out how, look at How Do I Load BMP Icons into my Garmin GPSr?
by Motorcycle Mama

and then at How do I load custom alert sounds for POIs on my Garmin GPSr?by Motorcycle Mama

Just in case you want to make some alerts for a really “custom” POI file, you are directed to How do I make an MP3 Sound file? by RhythmTip

Updated 03/16/2012 Minor corrections for readability and reflect fact that aaa.wav was removed.

Updated 5/15/2012 to make note that new Garmin units do not support mp3

Updated 7/16/2012 to suggest as the preferred beginner audio conversion tool

Updated 7/31/2012 to specify units which can play .mp3s.

Related links

Change History

  • jgermann - Mar 3, 2016
    3/3/2016 updated for icon sizes and other improvements

  • jgermann - Sep 17, 2012
    9/17/2012 title change

  • jgermann - Jul 31, 2012
    7/31/12 specified units that can play mp3s