Create a Skin for PowerArchiver

Building a PSF skin file for PowerArchiver is not a complicated task, but there are a number of things to keep in mind. Review the instructions below for details on what is needed for each component of PSF.

PowerArchiver will use all items available in a skin. If parts of the skin are missing, PowerArchiver will use default settings. This means that a PSF skin does not need every component included. In fact, we don't expect every skin to be complete - just include the parts that you wish to modify.

A PSF file may contain several items:

  1. DirectSkin skin file (.uis)
  2. toolbar.bmp <- mandatory name
  3. .ICO icon files
  4. settings.ini <- mandatory name

General PSF Information

PSF files must be in the BH (BlackHole) archive format. Simply create an archive with the following items in BH format and rename it to PSF.

Note: All parts of the skin must be in the same folder. In addition, the DirectSkin filename (name.uis) must be the same as the PSF skin name, if a UIS skin is included.

Here is an example PowerArchiver PSF skin you can download to help guide the way: Example.PSF

1. DirectSkin skin file (.uis)

PowerArchiver uses Stardock's DirectSkin engine to modify the look and feel of PowerArchiver's Windows controls, such as buttons, borders, tabs, scrollbars and more. PowerArchiver can be completely skinned using a UIS skin.

These skins are same as those in Stradock's popular WindowBlinds application, and WindowBlinds skins can be used in PowerArchiver as well. You can use Stardock's excellent SkinStudio to create skins.

You can download SkinStudio by visiting Stardock's Web site.
Click here for a more detailed tutorial about using SkinStudio.


This is PowerArchiver's main toolbar. It is a bitmap file that contains all of the buttons available on the toolbar. The button images you will need to include in your BMP are:

  1. New
  2. Open
  3. Favorites
  4. Properties
  5. Print
  6. Add
  7. Extract
  8. Delete
  9. View
  10. Scan
  11. Test
  12. CheckOut
  13. Help
  14. Exit
  15. FTP
  16. Encrypt
  17. Make .EXE

Make sure your BMP background is transparent or it will not look good. Please note that currently the PowerArchiver toolbar does not support alpha blending.

Default size for images on the PowerArchiver toolbar is 32x32 pixels. You can use any size you wish, but the same size must be used for all of the buttons. For example, 48x48 or 16x16 would be common sizes.

3. .ICO Files

As part of your PSF skin file, you can include replacement PowerArchiver icons as well. Icons must be named the same as the default PowerArchiver icons, which are listed as follows:

PA.ICO - Main PowerArchiver icon
PA7Z.ICO - 7zip Icon, etc.

Your PSF file must contain all of the icons, or none will be used.


Your PSF skin file can contain an INI file that will customize some of PowerArchiver's default settings. The SETTINGS.INI file can contain one or more of these settings.

  • Toolbar=0 or 1 (0 for 32x32 default, 1 for 48x48 default) - this is for PowerArchiver's default toolbar
  • ShowButtonText=0 or 1
  • ToolbarAlign=0 (top), 1 (bottom), 2 (left), 3 (right)
  • ToolbarShow=0 or 1
  • StatusBarShow=0 or 1
  • ViewStyle=0 (large icons), 1 (small icons), 2 (list), 3 (details)
  • GridLines=0 or 1
  • Highlightcolor= (convert HTML color into Decimal number in the Calculator i.e.: FF00FF is 16711935)
  • Showleftbar= 0 or 1 (archive folders bar)
  • FontName=name
  • DisplayMode=0 or 1 (Explorer View)
  • ViewFolderTree=0 or 1
  • Author=SkinName by Author

Submitting Your Completed PSF Skin

Once you have completed your skin, you can submit it to the PowerArchiver Skin Library by e-mailing it to: skinsubmit @

Be sure to include: your name, e-mail address, skin name and skin description.

If you have any problems or questions, contact us via the support page.