Twitter Header Photo, Profile Picture, and Post Image Sizes

There are various places you can use images on Twitter, including the header photo, your profile picture, and on your timeline or feed. Here’s a rundown of the various sizes of each.

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Twitter is primarily about text and links. But in recent years they’ve also been adding more visual elements directly into the core Twitter service, and there are now several ways you can use photos and images directly in Twitter without resorting to third-party extensions, as you used to have to do. There are several places where you can use images on Twitter, including the header photo banner, your profile picture, thumbnail previews for links, and sharing images directly in the feed.

Twitter’s current layout gives some different options for displaying images. I’m focusing here on display in web browsers. The Twitter mobile app is more of a controlled universe with less room to move in terms of image layout. But any of the size recommendations here hold true for the mobile app as well.

Twitter’s web interface is designed to be responsive, which means it fluidly adjusts for different displays, and it’s flexible enough to deal with desktops as well as mobiles. But while there are some specific guidelines in terms of dimensions to use, it’s also a bit trickier than it might seem at first. So here are some recommendations for making the most of your Twitter header photo and profile picture. Starting with the header photo . . .

Twitter Banner Size

If you just want the quick version, upload a header image that is 1500 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall for the cover photo or Twitter banner. These are the dimensions that Twitter officially recommends.

Twitter Header Photo Size: The More Accurate Version

That seems easier enough, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. Those 1500px by 500px images will generally work well, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to work perfectly in every case. That’s because of the way Twitter displays the header photo. The overall dimensions work well, but the placement of elements within the frame can be a bit trickier because of the way that the banner fluidly adjusts to different browser window sizes.

There are two issues. The first is that with browser windows at certain sizes, it can shave some off from the top and bottom edges.

Here’s a practical example of what I mean. This is the original image. Each of the bands of color is 50px wide.

Displayed on a narrower desktop browser, it looks like this, with narrow strips of around 25px shaved from the top and bottom:

On a wider browser, it shaves off the entire width of the band:

They’re only thin strips that are shaved off, but it does mean that you won’t want to be including any important visual information within about 55px from the top or bottom of the image. Whether that’s text like a phone number, part of a company logo, or faces in a group portrait, you’ll want to make sure that there’s some space from the edge of the frame.

The upshot is that there’s a safe area focused on the middle of the image, and there are some thin strips at the top and bottom that will always be invisible to at least some users. So don’t include any vital information in those edges.

The second issue is that the round profile picture obscures some of the cover photo. But unlike the straightforward way that Facebook used to do it, where the profile picture was locked in position relative to the banner image, on Twitter’s new layout the precise positioning of the profile picture moves, adjusting for the responsive display. It slides a little left or right depending on the width of the browser window.

Here’s a practical example of what I mean. This first screenshot is with the browser window at the minimum width:

But if you stretch out the browser window, in this case full-screen on a 27-inch display, you can see that the profile picture has moved relative to the cover photo. So you can now see a red kayak that was always there but that is hidden behind the profile picture in a narrower display.

So you don’t want to include anything important in that bottom left portion either.

Retina and High-Density Displays

Twitter’s images don’t factor in retina or high-density displays on the desktop view. So uploading an image that’s twice the size doesn’t end up with a crisper result.

Image File Formats

You can upload JPG or PNG files. They’ll be compressed and converted to JPG automatically.

Twitter Profile Picture Size, Shape, & Dimensions

The profile picture is the smaller image at the bottom left. It’s usually a photo of the person or a logo. It’s now displayed as a circle with a white rim.

For displaying on a desktop browser, it uses what’s called intrinsic CSS sizing, which basically means that the image fits within a container. In this case, the container is 400 pixels by 400 pixels. It’s cropped to a circle automatically.

The recommended sizes to upload are:

Profile picture: 400px by 400px. It’s displayed as a round image with a thin white border. If you upload an image that’s not a perfect square, you’ll be given the option to reposition the image when you go to change it.

When the browser window resizes, the profile picture size stays constant.

Twitter Feed Images

There are a couple of different ways you can include images on your timeline.

Timeline Photos

If you manually add an image to a post, the image is displayed to fit within a square box that’s 506 pixels wide and 506 pixels high.

If you add an image that’s in horizontal orientation (ie. landscape orientation, or wider than it is tall), it will display the whole image and scale it down to 506 pixels wide. Here’s an illustration using a wide panorama:

Twitter Timeline Image Wide

If you add an image that’s vertical (ie. portrait orientation, or taller than it is wide), it will fill the width but crop equally from the top and bottom of the image to fill a square. Here’s an example using this image:

It displays on the Twitter timeline like this:

In both cases, all of the corners are rounded automatically with a border radius of 12px.

Link Thumbnails via Twitter Cards

You can include an image as part of a link to a post. If you (or, more precisely, the site you’re linking from) is set up with Twitter Cards, it’ll pull in an image automatically and display it constrained within a Twitter Card container. Those images display at 506 pixels by 254 pixels, like this:

The top corners are rounded automatically with a border radius of 12px.

Twitter Image Quality Issues

When you upload, Twitter applies some very heavy JPG compression to your images. They do this to make the website as fast as possible for users and to conserve bandwidth.

The effects are particularly noticeable with the Profile Header image. The upshot is that the image that gets displayed might not look as good as the one you uploaded.

There are some things you can do to minimize the effect of that and reduce the chances of unsightly JPEG artifacts.

Firstly, upload an image with little or no compression. Every time you save a JPG image, you lose quality. That gets compounded the more times you do it.

If you’re saving an image from something like Photoshop or GIMP or any other imaging software, use the highest setting you can (e.g., a quality setting of 10 or 100%). Twitter is going to crunch whatever you send anyway. Starting with the highest quality version will help. You can even upload a PNG-24 if you want (although JPG is usually a better bet).

Secondly, because of the way JPG compression works, images with lots of different tones and smooth gradients are going to get hit especially hard. A rule of thumb is that images with fewer colors and fewer gradients suffer less from aggressive JPG compression.

Text, Logos, and Watermarks on Twitter Profile Images

The heavy JPG compression applied to the images you upload does some pretty ugly things to text, logos, and watermarks. Here’s an example, a 100% crop from one image with a logo that I experimented with. You can see the very noticeable JPG compression artifacts surround the letters as well as some clear banding in the natural tonal gradient of the blue sky.

twitter03

Again, to minimize the problem, aim for simple. Clean, high contrast lines and fonts are going to be less of a problem than subtle, complicated lines and fonts with things like partial transparency and drop shadows, etc. Sans-serif fonts will often work better than serif.

The []Facebook workaround of using a PNG-24 image](https://havecamerawilltravel.com/sharp-text-facebook-image/) doesn’t work on Twitter because Twitter converts everything to JPG.

And if you’re putting your logo or other text on the image, don’t put it at the very edges of the image where they’re likely to get cropped off in some browser displays. The safest zone of Twitter’s new profile header image is the center. The closer you can keep it to there, the less chance there is of it being cropped out with different web browser display sizes and aspect ratios.

There’s also a good reason not to include text or logos in the cover photo. The same cover photo is used for mobile apps like the official Twitter app. When it’s displayed in that, your Twitter profile picture and handle are automatically overlaid over the center of the cover photo, so it would obscure any logo that’s there. If you want to include a logo, putting it as the profile picture might give you better results across different displays.

Making Your Images Accessible

Twitter added a feature that lets you make your images more accessible to the visually impaired by way of adding text descriptions. It’s along the lines of ALT tags on web pages.

It’s a feature you need to enable to access–go to the your account settings and enable the “Compose Image Descriptions” feature.

I have a more detailed post on making your Twitter images more accessible here.

48 thoughts on “Twitter Header Photo, Profile Picture, and Post Image Sizes”

  1. I am struggling to get my twitter banner without having the top cut off & tried several size reduction & compressing. Why does twitter make it so difficult.

    Reply
  2. I only tweet photographs. I just need information in terms of what are pixel dimensions that I have to crop my images to for tweets. I do not have a problem with my header/profile area. I just want optimum sizes for portrait orientation and for landscape orientation. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. I think it’s BS, I have cropped ans saved my image to 1.5′ height x 1.68 width and it still looks like my image has not changed when I upload it to twitter….I have used inkscape and publisher same outcome F$%^ twitter!!!

    Reply
  4. This should work for those still having problems: Make your document 1903px (width) by 605px (height) and then place your 1500px x 500px within that dimension. This will create a border around your image with 201.5px left over on each of the sides and 52.5px remaining on the top and bottom. This will insure your image is not cropped when uploaded to Twitter.

    Reply
    • Hi Rachel

      your advice has been the only one so far that has resulted in a decent less pixelated image! it’s strange because you read all of these posts and it clearly works for the author but when i try it makes little difference. So much rage for Twitter just give in and get Facebook’s header!

      Reply
      • Worked for me as well. I used a cropped version of our FB header, just had to change the background colour to one matching our corporate colour.

        Reply
    • Hi Rachel,

      Thanks a lot, as per your advise 1903px (width) by 605px (height) works however it perfectly works when you place your image at 1820px x 480px within that dimension. And there you go!

      Reply
  5. What is the breakdown of dimensions? Meaning I want to design a header but need to know exact layout positions, something like wht facebook has specified here https://www.facebook.com/PagesSizesDimensions/

    I created the overall design but I need to lay all the elements withhin the design. My design followed the max dimensions 1500×500 you mentioned but then I came across another template here http://www.twelveskip.com/tutorials/twitter/1267/twitter-header-size-dimension-201

    Now I don’t know which to follow which is why I needed the breakdown for exact placement. Any help appreciated.

    Reply
  6. No matter what I do , and I’ve tried everything, I cannot resize our logo so that it fits the Twitter profile box. When I press upload, nothing happens at all. I’ve tried every size and every social media resizer website available. When I check the logo’s properties, it says 400 x 400 which I gather is the write size but it’s not working and I can’t think of anything else to do!! any ideas?

    Reply
    • Have you tried Microsoft Publisher? I laid our logo in a 4-inch square, then saved as a jpg at 150 dpi. Upload was seamless!

      If you don’t have Publisher, PowerPoint might also work.

      Reply
  7. I tried to upload twitter cover page many times with dimensions (1500px – 500px). But twitter didn’t showed my full cover page.
    Please help me with this.

    Thanks :)

    Reply
  8. Any tips on avoiding jpg artifacts in the profile picture? I save my file in high quality in a resolution like 1500 x 1500, but it looks terrible. Should I upload my picture in 400 x 400?

    Reply
  9. We were having a problem with a header image..and I followed some of your advice and it looks much better. However, you should tell people to Upload a JPEG file instead of PNG. I first used a PNG and it looked terrible. The JPG is much better even if not as good as the original file uploaded. Thanks for the article.

    You can have a look at it here: https://twitter.com/SciLifeLabPrize

    Reply
    • This is correct. It appears as though twitter doesn’t apply compression to images already in jpeg. My high quality png’s kept getting nixed so i switched to jpeg after your suggestion and it worked great.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  10. I have tried the mentioned size, 1500500 and 1263421 for my Twitter header but everytime the image is getting cut by twitter and I am not able to see the complete image. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • You can try making the image slightly bigger and/or adding a frame to the picture using some sort of editor in order to get the parts that you want shown to appear. In other words, Twitter will cut no matter what, so by adding content to the said header picture (while keeping the desired content within the image at the same size), you may find a way around it.

      Reply
      • Absolutely Worked!

        Putting a white hairline ruled box around the logo was the answer. Had to exaggerate the box size until it worked.
        Thank YOU!

        Reply
  11. Had the same issue but figured it out. If you make the image exactly 1500 x 500 Twitter will not resize it. I had to add a background to my image to do this, but it works

    Reply
  12. why do these companies not implement normal web standards for images? On a website, I can use PNG and animated GIF no problem. On Twitter (and eBay), transparencies go black or worse. On Facebook, PNG is fine, but GIFs don’t work.

    GIF has been around since the 1980’s!!!
    PNG has been around since 1996!!!

    I know that in theory it about browser compatibility, but seriously, I think the last browser that had a problem with PNG was IE6, which dropped out of popularity at least 7 years ago. My last phone before smartphones could render a PNG or GIF. Every smartphone ever made can handle both of these. My 10 year old PDA can handle them running Windows Mobile 2003 SE.

    Seriously!!!

    Reply
  13. I’m not having an issue with compression, I’m actually having the opposite effect. When I upload my profile image, which is a bit smaller than the recommended size, not by much though. It blows the picture up and only gives me the option to skew it bigger, not smaller, making it impossible for me to upload exactly what I want. Please Help.

    Reply
    • Have you tried resizing the image before you upload so that it’s the recommended size? The more control you can exercise before you upload, the less you’ll have to rely on the automatic quirkiness of Twitter.

      If you’re deliberately trying to keep the image smaller than the recommended size, you could also try increasing the canvas (ie. adding blank borders) so that the actual image size fits what Twitter is looking for.

      Reply
    • I was in this bind too. Finally, I tried laying out our profile image (a logo) onto a 4″ square in Microsoft Publisher, then saving it as a jpg at 150 dpi. Worked great!

      Reply
  14. I uploaded my twitter cover photo as a PNG and it looks perfect. No compression whatsoever. My only problem is the amount of cropping. I seem to have the opposite problem because I can’t upload that same photo as my FB cover without heavy compression, even as a PNG it looks very blurry and pixelated.

    Reply
  15. Thanks for the tips. I’ve worked out my cover photo to look great on a desktop, and to fit perfectly on a mobile device, but the text overlay on mobile devices is driving me crazy! My profile image, name, handle, tagline, city, and website all appear as text on top of my cover photo, making it nearly impossible to read the actual text in my photo. I’m wondering if I should delete that info and let the photo do the talking, but then I fear that info won’t be available on other pages or in SEO for searches. It seems like any graphic you use should have a blank or muted center so as not to compete with the text overlay. What do you think?

    Reply
    • Yes, unfortunately the resizing is a bit tricky. I’ve not found a real solution I’m happy with yet. It’s easy enough to confine the text to the safe zone, but then it looks too small and a bit odd at full crop. But if you make the text any larger, it gets cropped out. For the moment, I’m skipping text and logos on it, but I’ll keep experimenting.

      Reply

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