The paradigm of visual search was used to investigate how participants looked for a target file among distracter files in an icon-based computer interface. The purpose of these experiments was to study the effect of icons and spatial grouping on scanning speed. Does spatial grouping of identical icons increase the scanning speed? Do icons themselves speed up the search for a target file when compared with a condition in which the files are indicated with mere textual labels? Our results showed that both the presence of icons and their grouping had a significant positive effect on the scanning speed. Potential applications of this research include the design of graphics-based interfaces, such as the effective arrangement of icons in an interface.