Everything You Need to Know About Your Twitter Avatar

What to use, why you should use it, and how to upload or change it

Twitter Profile
Rosaura Ochoa/Flikr/CC BY 2.0

Twitter requests just two photos to set up your account: a header photo which appears on your profile and a profile photo which is also called your Twitter avatar.

Your avatar is what gives humanity to your otherwise seemingly anonymous Twitter account. Without one, your profile photo appears as a faceless, genderless person. You don't have to add a Twitter avatar but it might make it easier to gain new followers if they have someone to look at.

What's more is that because the Twitter avatar you choose is shown next to each of your tweets all throughout Twitter, no matter where you post, it's important that it not only represents you but also looks nice.

Making the Most of Your Twitter Avatar

There's a lot of talk and advice about how to make your avatar more interesting and better represent you and why you're on Twitter.

Here are some basics:

What Your Twitter Avatar Should Look Like

The photo should be clear and crisp, and best use its tiny allotted space. This means that it's not such a good idea to use a photo where you're in the middle of a crowd. Let your followers and potential followers see your face or your logo, whatever it is that your Twitter profile represents.

On that note, make your photo relevant. If this is your business Twitter account, then use a professional image of yourself, your company's logo or building, or something else that can describe what the page is for in one simple photo.

A photo with nudity will be removed if you post one as your Twitter avatar.

Twitter Avatar File Format Details

Your Twitter avatar must be a JPG, GIF (non-animated), or PNG file. If the image you want to use is in a different file format, put it through a free photo converter and make sure you choose one of the supported formats for the conversion.

Twitter profile images cannot exceed 2 MB in size and must be square (it's recommended to keep your profile image at 400x400 pixels). Avatar Generator is a great place to make your Twitter image square.

Make sure the picture you select for your profile image is large enough to still be useful in all scenarios...

When your tweets are shown on Twitter, the profile image is displayed as a 48x48 pixel photo. The one on your profile page is 73x73 when seen by non-Twitter users, or 128x128 when logged in Twitter users visit your profile.

More Tips

  • While changing your avatar is easy (instructions below), stay consistent. Let your followers see a consistent image over time - it helps build your brand.
  • Pick a unique Twitter image so that your page stands out. This is especially helpful if you are trying to gain a lot of followers; they will take a double-look at your profile if the image catches their eye and doesn't blend in with the rest of the users.
  • Some of the best looking Twitter profiles, and especially business-related ones, have a solid background to the avatar while the foreground image (usually their face) is an opposite color or one that provides great contrast.
  • Try to match the color scheme of your Twitter theme and header image, but still keep them unique enough to stand out. The last thing you want is for potential followers to turn away from your page solely because it's an eyesore.
  • If you're using Twitter for business, consider conveying a short message, with one or two words, or incorporating a telltale graphic element. For example, a baker might be holding a cake, or a web designer might showcase their favorite logo.
  • If you happen to be looking a little up and to the right in your profile photo, it will always look like you've captivated yourself with your wise words.

How to Add or Change Your Twitter Profile Photo

  1. Sign in to Twitter.
  2. Click or tap the Profile and settings icon near the large Tweet button on the upper-right side of the Twitter homepage.
  3. Select Profile from that menu.
  4. Choose Edit profile from the right.
  5. Select Add a profile photo from the image area on the left side of your profile.
    1. If you already have a Twitter avatar, this option is called Change your profile photo.
  6. Choose Upload photo.
  7. Select and upload the picture that you want to use for your avatar.
  8. Optionally adjust the position and size of the profile photo and then select Apply.
  9. The image will be saved to your profile. You can click/tap Save changes on the right to return to your profile and exit the profile editor.

Tip: You can change your Twitter avatar through the mobile app as well, using similar steps.