After a major update to the Facebook timeline we were given the option for including a large cover photo to represent ourselves or our page.

There are a few things to keep in mind when working with the cover photo so that you know the end result of how it will look after being uploaded and applied.

While you can get away with trying to add any photo that is at least 399 pixels wide, you will usually get best results when uploading a file of exact dimensions. Cropping or stretching of the image may occur if it isn’t set to the exact dimensions.

Facebook Cover Photos Are 851 Pixels Wide And 315 Pixels High

The cover photo should be set to 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall for best results. Many do say to upload an image that is twice each dimension for best results and allow for resizing but my testing has varied.

Creating an image that is taller than 315 is fine (when keeping the width at 851), but the bottom will be cut off. A lot of times the bottom of the image isn’t relevant so it doesn’t make a difference.

A profile photo sits about 23 pixels in from the left side near the bottom, covering a portion of the cover photo. About 170 pixels across and 104 pixels towards the bottom will be covered. With the 23 pixel offset this leaves 658 pixels that are exposed on the right bottom side of the cover photo. There are 211 pixels exposed from the top of the cover photo to where the top of the profile photo starts.

About 170 pixels at the top of the cover photo is not actually shown on page load. An adjustment of the scrollbar by the user is needed before the cover photo is entirely visible.

All of the above information is relevant when considering the impact desired when showing the cover photo to your followers or audience. See the Cover Photo Size Facebook page to see an example.

Include Text And Event Information On Your Cover Photo

It used to be that you couldn’t include domain names or calls to action on cover photos. I know that domain names are currently allowed. Also, including text regarding special promotions or events is very popular and effective.

Naturally, constant changes will need to be made to the cover photo when including promotional material that is seasonal (or time sensitive). If you use software like GIMP or PhotoShop to create a “layered” image you will have the ability to easily and quickly change the text in the top image without having to create the background, etc.

Resizing A Photo Quickly For Use As A Facebook Cover

There is a piece of software called Light Image Resizer that I profiled recently that lets you quickly resize an image for use as a Facebook Cover.

While it doesn’t resize the height to be the preferred 315 pixels it will create the width correctly (assuming the original image is 851 pixels wide or larger).

The reason for this is so that the software maintains aspect ratio for the image, which means there is no stretching or skewing. So, while you can resize an image very fast for use as a Facebook cover photo, the height may be taller than anticipated. That’s normally OK because it will just cut off the lower portion of the image after uploading to Facebook. The top should have the most visually appealing content anyway.

To resize the facebook cover photo in a few simple steps:

1. Download and install Light Image Resizer.

2. Right-click the photo that you want to use, and right-click the image and click “Light Image Resizer.”

3. Choose “Facebook Timeline cover” from the “Profile” drop down box.

4. Click the “Process” button at the bottom right of the window.