How to Size Your Facebook Profile Picture & Thumbnail

How to Size Your Facebook Profile PictureUpdated August 30, 2014 with the latest instructions!

If you’ve ever tried to change your Facebook profile picture, whether for your personal profile or fan page, you know how frustrating it can be. On top of Facebook’s technical glitches, which leave you wonder if you’re permanently stuck with that question mark of doom, the thumbnail never seems to look right.

On your personal profile thumbnail, you’re either a tiny speck in the distance or you’re showing off your left eyebrow. On your fan page, your brand’s logo is cut off. Here are some fan pages that still haven’t gotten it quite right:

Facebook Thumbnails Gone Wrong

Facebook recommends that profile pictures should be 200px wide. They height can vary up to three times the width. However, they don’t make it clear how the thumbnail that Facebook uses is generated from this picture.

You’ll find that Facebook crops images when generating a thumbnail, losing information around the edge. You can edit the thumbnail to drag it to a different part of your picture, but you cannot expand the thumbnail selection. So when you create your profile image that’s 200 pixels wide, allow a 12 pixel border around crucial information such as a brand name or logo to allow for automatic cropping.

Facebook Profile Photo Size

Facebook thumbnails are always square, regardless of the shape of your profile image. So when using rectangular pictures, make sure to keep your desired thumbnail imagery within a square boundary. Then you can edit the thumbnail selection accordingly.

Step 1: Create a profile image using the correct dimensions

Your profile image will appear as a 160 x 160 pixel box. However, if you attempt uploading a picture that small, you will see an error message. Intuitive, right?

Create an image that is 200 x 200. The minimum upload size is 180 x 180, and the profile image will appear as 160 x 160, but I always create the image as a 200 x 200 file so it’s easy to know what border size I have to work with. Next, create a 12 x 12 border around the edge of your image. This will be the area that is cut off by Facebook in your thumbnail image. To make this easy for you, I have created a photoshop template that has a layer for this border.

Facebook Profile Picture Template

Click here to download the Photoshop file: Facebook Profile Picture Template.

Step 2: Upload your profile image

Go to your Facebook page and hover over the flag icon. Click the Add Profile Picture button that appears. If you already have a profile picture, hover over the image to reveal an Edit Profile Picture button instead.

Facebook Add Profile Image

Step 3 (optional): Edit your page thumbnail

Note that your thumbnail image may appear correctly right away. If so, you can skip this step. If you need to tweak the thumbnail after the photo uploads, or if your thumbnail appears off-center or cut off refresh the page, mouse over your profile picture and click Edit Profile Picture. Then click Edit Thumbnail.

Next, drag the little image until the main part of the profile image is within the thumbnail box. When you’re happy with the way it looks, click Save.

Facebook Edit Thumbnail

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Comments

  1. says

    Many marketing companies state only 30% or less of tweets get read and many individuals are ignoring web pages
    they become fans of on Facebook. This is a good hassle free way of forwarding
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  2. Ahnika says

    Hey I need help. I use LR…and not very smart with photoshop. My image is all stretched out when I place it and stretch it to fit in that box. Is there a certain file I should use to? Thanks.

  3. says

    Hi Diana. (My sister’s name is Diane)
    I’m not very Hi-techwhen it comes to androids, itabs, iphones etc..I know now what an “app” means and download for free. But that’s about as far as I got. If I may trouble you for a request, I’d like, (just for fun), know how, when I open “Facebook” thing, I notice that some people have a large picture and a smaller “inset” picture, (is that the picture you called thumbnail ?). Is it difficult to achieve this. I’ve been cracking my head trying to figure this out. Please, if I’m not asking too much, help me find the right glue to mend these cracks.
    Thanks a bunch.
    p.s.(Oops, by the way, sorry but you’re cute). No offense

  4. Brian Forbes Colgate says

    This seems like a lot of work … it’s a lot simpler.
    1. Create the 200×200 image, allowing the border per your instructions.
    2. Go to your Timeline and hover over the Profile, click on Edit Profile Picture when it appears, then click on Upload Photo.
    3. Select the image created above.
    Done :-)

    • Flower says

      I followed your advice and I finally got our business page’s logo to look good. I was cutting the picture to 185×185 and kept wondering why FB was cropping the edges. I just used our free picture software, Irfan, to crop. Easy peasy. Thanks!

  5. says

    Big thanks! Your helpful webpage was a savior. A frustrating experience until I happened upon your site. Your profile picture template was sooooo helpful.

  6. Trace Chiodo says

    How do you get the profile pic to be crisp and clear without the modeling or blotchiness?
    Also, I uploaded a pic with the 12×12 border and Facebook did not crop it when I uploaded it.

    • Makiavelis says

      I made mine 180p wide and 160p high in .png format and it didn’t resize it. So no fuzzy or grainy image. To put it simply, if you’re using Gimp or Photoshop make a picture that’s 160×160 and make your canvas size 180×160. Don’t put anything 10pixels left or right of the canvas borders because it will get cropped.

      It worked for me, hope it works for you too.

  7. Makiavelis says

    I’ve already figured that out by trial and error. I worked on a 180×180 image leaving 5 pixels of unused space on every side side. This solves the cropping issue but not the resize issue. I create a nice and sharp logo but FB resizes to 160×160 and make it look crappy. Since it doesn’t let you upload a 160×160 picture this cannot be solved. Is 160×160 uploading impossible even for other formats too? (.png, .gif, .ico)

    • Makiavelis says

      EDIT: Nevermind, trial and error paid off again! It lets you upload 180 wide x 160 high .png which preserves the original image quality! Yeeehaw!

  8. Mary says

    Thank you, this was a life saver! Could NOT get the rectangle to fit the square no matter how many times I tried it!

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