The Basics of Using Facebook’s Timeline

If you were on the Internet today, you saw that Facebook released their Timeline profile to everyone. While you may have some sort of opinion about the Timeline, it’s here. There are a lot of really cool features and customizing you may want to get the hang of before it’s forced on you and you are playing catch-up.

There are actually a few cool things about this update. It is not only on desktop, it is also on mobile too. But before we get a head of ourselves, we need to activate your Timeline.

Activating Facebook Timeline

You can activate your Timeline in Facebook.

You will need to click on the link in the bottom left of the page.

facebook timeline - activate

Once you activate the Timeline, your page will refresh. You will need to click on your profile to see the major changes.

facebook timeline - active

Where to start

You may want to take the tour. It will give you a good run-through on the newest features. You will get an idea of how to add new pictures like a Cover.

What is a Cover?

Think of a Cover like a background on Twitter or Myspace. The difference is, the Cover is the header for your page. Your profile picture will appear in the bottom left corner. There are some people who are already crafting some really creative Covers. Here are a couple sites you may want to look at to get you started.

Here is what a cover looks like pre-download.

facebook timeline - cat in the hat cover

Adding a Cover

Depending on if you are using a Cover from a site or your own picture, there may be different steps. In the end, you will just need to click on the Add a Cover link in the top right of your profile header.

facebook timeline - add a cover

You will just need to select a picture, either by uploading one from your computer or your already uploaded photo library.

facebook timeline - pick your picture

Once you have the picture ready and selected, you will need to drag it into the correct location. If you are doing something a little more creative, this will make it a bit easier to make a fun Cover.

facebook timeline - drag

Using the Timeline

You have probably peeked at your profile page to see what the timeline looks like. It looks different, huh? Well you or your friends can skip through your past updates. Off to the right, you will see a little timeline. You can use this to skip through your Facebook past.

facebook timeline - right sidebar timeline

When you click on a month or year, you can see the highlights for that time.

facebook timeline - highlights

You can also see all of the posts from your past by clicking the Highlights drop-down.

facebook timeline - highlights drop down

Promoting or hiding old posts

There are always pictures or things in your updates that you don’t want to relive or show off. If you want to hide these posts from the timeline, there is a pencil icon next to each post in your timeline. If you click it, you are given the option to hide it or even change the date.

facebook timeline - hide from timeline

If you would like to promote an update you are proud of, you can click the star. This will stretch the post across the full length of the timeline. If you click the star again, you will minimize again.

facebook timeline - feature or minimize

Privacy settings

There is an option in the privacy setting tab to limit what the public and friends of friends can see. You can change this if you are not comfortable with people Facebook stalking you.

facebook timeline - past post privacy


Even though the cosmetics greatly changed with the addition of the timeline, the change also brings more usability and room for future improvements. I have to say I like looking back and see what kind of nonsense I posted in the past. Some of the past updates bring back some funny memories. I also thing I am going to have some fun with the Covers.

What do you think of the changes?

Trevor Dobrygoski
Trevor Dobrygoski

Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, He is coaching and playing the world's greatest game... Soccer.

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