How to: Make your own PSP themes

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Hey, gang!
For those who don’t know me, my name’s Noel and I’m part of the PSN Store Design Team. I’m back today to talk about making your own custom Themes for the PSP.


Here’s what you’ll be needing:

  • a computer that runs Windows
  • a digital image editing program
  • the “PSP Theme Toolbox
  • a little bit of time

First thing you need to do is download the “PSP Theme Toolbox” zipped file. You can unzip it anywhere, but if you’ll be doing a lot of Themes or want to use the pre-made default while going through this walkthrough, you’ll have to extract it directly to your C:\ drive (C:\PSP Theme Toolbox\).

PSP Theme Toolbox


In the “Toolbox”, you’ll find:

  • Icons and Wallpaper templates
  • “PSP Custom Theme Converter” program
  • Default Project saved as a “.txt” file
  • “How To” Basics and Advanced Walkthroughs
  • Layered PhotoShop template of icons
  • Unlike for PS3 Themes, there is an actual program so you won’t have to be worrying about XML code or funky compiler programs.
  • Open the program (PSPCustomThemeConverter.exe) and we’ll go though it, tab-by-tab.

NOTE: If you’d like to see a working example of each item, go to “File\Open” and select “PSPTheme_default.txt”. This will only work if you’ve extracted the Toolbox to your C:\ drive because of the way the project file links to the associated images.

The first tab is the “Information” Tab.

  • Put the name of your Theme or its description in the “Title” space.
  • The “Product ID” is where you assign what the Theme is associated to, e.g. Game, Anime, Movie, etc.
  • The “Version” is helpful if you want to do keep track of multiple versions of a Theme, but isn’t necessary either.

The second tab is the “Wallpaper” Tab.

  • Wallpapers have to be:
    • * 480 x 272 pixels
      * 24-bit Color Image
      * BMP files
  • Click on the “Folder” button to browse and select any image that matches the required size and format.
  • If the image you select is not useable, an “Error” window will pop-up letting you know what needs to change.
  • You can click the “Preview” button to preview your wallpaper once you’ve selected one that is workable.

Next tab is called “Category Icons”, and is for the main XMB Icons.

  • These icons need to be:
    • * either 64 x 48 pixels or 48 x 48 pixels
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files

The “First Level Icons” Tab is for the icons that appear within a category on the XMB.

  • These are the sub-icons that appear below the category XMB icons.
  • Double click on the icon line or click the “Edit” button.
  • You’ll see a request for two files: the “Icon Body” and the “Icon Focus”. The “Body” is the actual icon.
  • The “Focus” is the glow that pulses around the icon when you highlight that icon. If you’d like to keep things simple, or not worry about having a pulsing glow around your selection, you can either use the default focus image or leave that space blank.
  • The icons need to be:
    • * 32 x 32 pixels (Body)
      * 48 x 48 pixels (Focus)
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files

The “Second Level Icons” tab is for the “Settings” Icon. That’s right; the “Settings” wrench gets its very own tab!

  • Just like the First Level Icons, these need to be:
    • * 32 x 32 pixels
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files
  • Its focus needs to be:
    • * 48 x 48 pixels
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files

The last tab is “Others”.

  • The “Preview Icon” is the tiny thumbnail that appears when you choose your Theme, and needs to be:
    • * 16 x 16 pixels
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files
  • The “Preview Image” is the preview for the Theme, and needs to be:
    • * 300 x 170
      * 24-bit Color Image
      * BMP
  • The final option is “Theme Color”. Here, you can assign a particular highlight colour to your Theme, or have it change monthly automatically.


Once you’ve assigned all of the Icons to your images, go to “FILE” and select “EXPORT”.

  • Name your file, click “SAVE”, and the program will create your PSP Theme File (.PTF).
  • With your PSP connected to your computer in USB Mode or with a compatible Memory Stick connected, place the file into the proper “Theme” folder ( \PSP\THEME ).
  • Disconnect your PSP or insert the Memory Stick in to your PSP.
  • Under “Settings”, select “Theme Settings”, and then “Theme”.

Your new Theme should appear in the selectable list.

Good luck and have fun making your own PSP Themes!

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau:

Comments are closed.


21 Author Replies

  • Thanks! My first PSP theme is in progress…

  • Great!!! This is awesome that you guys do this. I never knew how to do it before. Now I can give it a shot and see what I come up with.

  • I like these tutorials; helps the average person to make custom themes and such

  • Great! Looking forword to the day we can have transparent images letting the wave in the background be visible.

  • @ Noel
    How Can we add sound to our PSP and PS3 themes?

    And thanks for the tourtorial!!

    • Currently, doing custom sounds for your PSP Theme isn\’t possible.
      Changing the sounds for the PS3 Theme, however is. I\’ll be back in a couple of weeks to do a follow-up to the PS3 Themes post, and adding sound effects is something I\’ll be talking about.
      Thanks for the feedback!

  • You should let us change the background wavy lines to the PS3 wave.

  • Nice tutorial, I wish I could find the icons I want. It’s already a PSP theme but with new updates brings new icons and well the theme looks half finished now. If I ever find the icons individually I will give this tut a go!

    • I agree.
      Unfortunately, some of the icons aren\’t editable (without some backdoor coding) due to them being trademarked/copywritten logos.
      If this changes in the future, I\’ll make sure to let everyone know!

  • So um question, while I’m a Windows User as well as Linux user I have to to wonder; Why aren’t you guys writing these programs in Java so you’re entire user base can use these tools? I mean seriously the PS3 can have Linux installed and there are graphics tools that do run on PS3 Linux, so why not java?

    Anyway thanks for the tutorial it is much appreciated.

  • I will have to try this one day. But I usually suck at this stuff.

    • Give it a try. Start out with pre-made images or pictures of things you like, and go from there.
      After doing the first one, it gets less scary.

  • Another rocking How-To from Noel! Very nice job, just like with the PS3 theme how-to. I’m sure this will help a lot of people break in to PSP theme creation.

  • is motion picture themes in the works for the sony playstation 3? ya know, where the background is a short film or trailer or anything?

    • Currently, animated / video backgrounds aren\’t possible, however this is definitely something that I\’d personally like to see allowed for future updates, so fingers-crossed!

  • Sweet thanks for the info.

  • Another great tutorial Noel…


  • I like these “how-to’s” a lot. I remember a PS3 one not long ago. Anticipating these types of articles to grow, maybe we can have a “how-to” category on this blog? You can even file the Firmware “how-to’s” videos under that.

    • There are so many things possible with the PS3 and PSP that it can be a bit daunting to new, and even existing, PlayStation owners.
      We\’ll definitely try to bring you more, so keep your eyes on the blog as we\’d like to make these \”How-To\”\’s a regular, on-going series.
      Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Sweet, thanks!

  • Noel uber pwns yet again.

  • Hello, i really enjoy this but i have a quick question. Will it be possible, whether on the current PSP of on a future portable system, to sign into our PLAYSTATION NETWORK account, and therefore use few features such as writing/checking messages? Thanks

  • Excellent! I will do a PS3 and PSP theme that match together.

    By the way Noel, do you have an online portfolio?

    • You\’ll notice that a lot of the images used in the PS3 Theme are also used in the PSP Theme.
      TIP: You know all those GIM files that were created during the PS3 Theme compiling process? With a little tweaking, you can use them again in your PSP Theme.
      And no, no online portfolio yet. Guess I now have a project for this weekend!

  • Since PlayStation LifeStyle had a contest the with the PS3 tutorial, we decided to do it again with the PSP.

    For a chance to win Patapon on UMD, and to show the world your talented theme creations…

    come over to the PSP theme contest…

  • Are there any plans to bring this and other things like the Playstation store to the mac?

  • Visit for a new PSP theme creation contest.

    First Prize is Patapon.

  • Mind making a PSP/PS3 theme maker for Mac? ;)

  • Is the Internet Search icon editable? It’s getting kind of annoying that there’s these icons all over the XMB on PS3 and PSP that we can’t edit for whatever reason.

    • With all of the new features being added to the PS3 and PSP, I\’m looking in to getting updates so that there aren\’t these random icons that seem out of place.
      Once I have them, I\’ll make sure to do an updated How-To for both!

  • And hey… why does the TV icon say EU? Is that where Go!View is going to go here in Europe?

    • The program and icon set both come from Japan. I labeled it as JPN and EU as I didn\’t want people to think that this feature was coming to the US and start any false rumours.
      I don\’t know when this feature is planned to come to other territories, but you might be able to get an answer by visiting .

  • Of course you can enter Noel!!!

    We would be honored!

    Might be a bit unfair though considering you are the theme master…

  • Thank you very much Noel, the tutorial is really helpful..keep up the awesome work with this how to’s

  • @8

    I second that request to start coding these tools in Java so that they’d be available on any OS/platform that supports Java (which is just about everything these days)

    I realize the Windows API is a “de facto” standard, but c’mon – you’re supporting your #1 competitor’s OS platform here :-) while leaving MacOS and Linux/Solaris users out in the cold.

    Please consider cross-platform Java in the future when developing tools like this!

    • I honestly don\’t know much about the programing to getting this to run on Java, but with all the requests that have come for this and for the PS3 compiler, I think I\’ve got enough \”public support\” to talk to our development team and see how doable this would be.
      Again, I can\’t promise that this is something that will happen, but considering the demand for it, I\’ll see what I can do.
      *fingers crossed*

  • I used the your last blog and info from fellow PS bloggers to create a PS3 theme. Than tackled the PSP. Not hard, just a lot of repeat.
    Thanks for all who helped. ;)

    • IMO, one of the great things about the PlayStation community (commenters on this blog, members of the PlayStation boards, fan blogs, etc.) is that there\’s a great group of talented artists and helpful people who have some great info, help, and advice for making user genereated content. Heck, I know I\’ve learned a lot from you guys and am always inspired by what you come up with.
      Keep up the great work, everyone!

  • @ 11, i like that idea too. what i tend to do when i’m gonna be doing alot of chatting is run a video from a hard drive (internal or external, got 2 eternals) then press the ps button to drop it into the back ground. :)

  • I love seeing Sony give us the ability to further personalize our Playstation experiences

  • Great how-to Noel, I myself suck at anything that has to do with image editing and photo shopping. But I will give it a try when I have time, for sure.

    A question though, do you know why exactly our custom themes are not displayed when a part of the XMB comes up in-game? For example in a game that allows you to bring up the friends section of the XMB, why is it that the icons are all displayed in the default OS theme?

    Is it because its just simulating the XMB or what.. Just wondering if it would be possible to have custom themes for out in-game XMB in the future.

    Thanks again for the guide! Or guides, I should say.

    • Again, I say, \”What is this In-Game XMB that you speak of?\” ;-)
      Hypothetically speaking, of course…
      I don\’t have an exact answer, but I believe that the icons, notifiers, and other such pop-ups default to the standard basics, to ensure that they will always be legible.
      It\’s possible that this may change in the future, but for now, I believe that it\’s a legibility reason, rather than a technical one.
      Hope this helps to answer your question!

  • What about us people who own Macs and refuse to use Windows? If you guys don’t provide Mac support then I have no reason to buy PlayStation products.

    • The lack of Mac support isn\’t one of deliberate exclusion. With more Windows-based PCs out there, I believe that that\’s why these applications are developer primarily for the PC.
      If you are a Linux user, I\’ve heard that \”Wine\” work for these.
      If you are a Mac user, these should run if you dual-boot.
      I\’ll check with our more technical folks and see how easily a Java-based version of these can be developed so that everyone\’s allowed to demonstrate their creativity.
      If anyone has any alternatives for Mac or Linux folks that I haven\’t mentioned, please feel free to post here and share!

  • psp themes!!! i’am going to geting the red psp i have learn how to play MGS4

  • Many of you need to remember that this was originally released for a Japanese audience, my bet is they weren’t even thinking of releasing it elsewhere and it just became popular.

    Good blog, really makes me think I should look into spending the time and making a theme for my much enjoyed PSP as I’ve read a few and never really understood how before.

  • PLEASE DON’T EVEN CONSIDER JAVA- that language is about to die out, just don’t waste your time on it.

    Also, people shouldn’t be scared about XML- it’s almost like creating an XHTML page. It’s not difficult if you know what you’re doing; technically, you aren’t even doing the programming, you’re just telling the XMB to show the files & folders on either PS3 and PSP.

    btw- there is a program out there that makes it easy to import icons and pictures for the PS3 XMB without going into the XML code, but I think it’s better to do something slightly challenging than to do things the easy way.

  • @Justingraziano

    Before you trash other OSes, don’t be ignorant and not use them; I hate (cr)Apples. End of story. Except I use them nearly every day. They have terrible coding structure and file management, yet they do have SOME purpose, so I still use ’em.

    Let’s not get into a Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux/Etc. fight here (I also have Ubuntu 7.10 btw,) but don’t be afraid to use other operating platforms. I mean, c’mon, if you can afford an Apple, you should be able to afford to actually do something on a Windows PC. :P

  • had to dig my blog account out for this post but i thought it would be good to point out that the info Noel posted is a little incorrect when it comes to the First Level Icons.

    Noel posted;
    “# The icons need to be:

    * 32 x 32 pixels (Body)
    * 48 x 48 pixels (Focus)
    * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
    * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files ”

    but actually the Body should be 48 x 48 and the Focus should be 64 x 64

    aside from that it is a really good write up and it would be better if instead of providing the old version of the Theme Converter that he posted which was just released along with Firmware 4.00 and adds the ability to change the new Internet Search icon.

    one of my latest themes that i made with the new Theme Converter can be found here.

    hope you all enjoy it. the Olympics are going to be sweet this year!

  • time for me to make my themes but i have a ? whats a site i can go to .to download other peoples themes

  • If anyone wants some themes, you can grab them here (for psp)

  • @ #36 has 186 psp themes

  • sorry Noel,

    but you have a misprint.

    Quoted from the First Level Icons section:
    “# The icons need to be:
    * 32 x 32 pixels (Body)
    * 48 x 48 pixels (Focus)”

    The actual size for the Body is 48×48 and the Focus should be 64×64.

    Also you may want to look into getting the updated Theme Converter. Version is available from the Japanese Playstation(dot)com site and includes the ability to change the new Internet Search icon that firmware 4.00 introduced.

    • Could I pretend like I was just making sure people were paying attention? ;-)
      Thanks for the correction and the link. I\’ll look in to this on Monday and see if we can\’t get an update early next week.

  • This sort of thing is really extremely cool; the fact that you are taking user suggestions back and it is having a pretty direct impact on what comes out is a model of customer interaction that builds loyalty. I’ll shut up before I disappear into a maelstrom of marketing buzzwords and just say kudos!

  • thanx ill give it a try and see what comes up ..umm probably naruto or bleach

  • Noel, my friend, do you know when we will be updated on the v2.40 update Eric Lempel mentioned in the v2.36 post? I hope we don’t have to wait until next week.


    • Eric\’s working hard to get everything set for the launch of Firmware 2.40, including a video walkthrough.
      I can\’t comment on when (as I don\’t know the exactly date!), but I\’m just as excited as all of you for it.
      Trophy Support + In-Game Messaging FTW!

  • Thank you so much for this. I love the increased activity we’ve seen from everyone on the Blog lately- it feels like a gigantic party! :D

    And with the latest sales figures in, there just might be call for a gigantic party! :D

    Keep up the great work, and know that it is appreciated.

    • The blog is a great place to find all of your official PlayStation information, and big props to Jeff for really taking it places.
      Keep your eyes peeled here as we\’ve got some great stuff planned!

  • Is there an easy way to convert a PS3 theme for PSP? I put a ton of work into making a PS3 one. I’d love to be able to just downsize it and use it for my PSP…

    • There are a few ways of doing it.
      I\’ll make sure to include this \”conversion\” in a follow-up, but for now, here\’s my simplest advice for doing it:
      – start by making your PS3 Theme, as it\’s better to go from a larger image to a smaller, lo-res image.
      – copy all of the icons that are used on both to a new folder.
      – create an \”Action\” in PhotoShop where you
      = resize the image to the proper size (48×48)
      = \”Save For Web\” as 8-bit Index Colour PNG
      = \”Overwrite\” image
      = \”Close\” but don\’t over write
      – once you have created that Action, just run it for all of your images.

      Hope that helps!

  • @ Justingraziano [31] “If you guys don’t provide Mac support then I have no reason to buy PlayStation products.”

    LOL!! Alright, so if Sony doesn’t allow you to customize the look of your XMB on your PSP or PS3 with themes, using your computer, you might as well not buy their products all together ey!

    Dude, there are thousands and thousands of theme for PS3 and PSP on the web. If you, yourself, cant make one due to you ONLY having a Mac computer, and no access to a Windows machine around you, then yes your PS3 and PSP are 100% worthless paperweight.

    But I hear you man, it sucks that they dont have OS X support (I myself prefer it to Windows), but its not that big of a deal to begin with.

  • @ Stunt [41]

    Although I don’t think Noel would know an exact date, and even if he did wouldn’t tell, I wouldn’t expect it even next week.

    They promised 2.4 in Summer time, so I would guess they would release it sometime in July.. and if something bad happens that changes their plans, August, perhaps.

    But you can wait one more month or so if the feature itself works perfectly, can’t ya? :P

  • No Mac support?

  • I am all over this as soon as I get some spare time. MGS4 is eating it all right now. Thanks for the info.

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