Use Photoshop to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

Want to impress your friends with a killer facebook Timeline? Not sure how you’re supposed to make one? Look no further – you’ve come to the right place.

You’ve probably already seen plenty of creative Facebook covers. And, believe it or not, most of them are made in Photoshop. While it may look quite difficult, a few measurements and some alignment is all it takes to make your very own cover.

Measurements + Free Template

The Facebook profile picture comes in at 160 x 160 pixels, while the cover photo size is 851 x 315. You can click on the image below to here’s the direct download our free template, which I will be using for this tutorial.

psd template timeline facebook fb photoshop dimensions download free

Get Started with Your Facebook Timeline

Out on the web, there are many inspirations which you can find to help you get a cover photo idea. Most covers play with the perspective and background utilizing a “picture-in-picture” effect. Find your inner designer, form your idea and take all the photos you need before going into Photoshop.

facebook timeline ideas google images search timeline fb photoshop

Photoshop Time

After you download our template, the first thing you want to do — after placing it in the folder with all your favorite files is to open it in Photoshop. This is what it should look like:

facebook template timeline psd photoshop

I’ll immediately direct your attention to the Layers Panel, where most of the action will be going on. The template consists of five layers. Two of these you shouldn’t touch (that’s why they’re locked) and three others you’ll be using.

template layers facebook timeline psd photoshop

While working on your timeline, you want to place the layers between the Profile Photo Frame layer and the Profile Photo layer. You can see the reason behind this in the screencast at the bottom of the article.

layer placement photoshop facebook timeline psd

You can make your timeline in any way you want. You can can and should with everything you’ve got. If you’re feeling creative, but don’t know how to accomplish a certain task in Photoshop, feel free to ask us over at GroovyAnswers! or to look at our other Photoshop tutorials. Here’s mine:

final look facebook timeline PSD photoshop document finish

And here’s what my Layers panel looks like:

layers panel photoshop final psd facebook timeline project


Exporting your Facebook timeline is where things get a bit tricky. Follow the steps here closely to avoid having your timeline incorrectly aligned. Start by moving the Profile Photo and Timeline layers that came with the template to the top.

layer move moving layers panel photoshop facebook timeline psd

And then disabling them.

disable layer visibility photoshop facebook timeline psd document final

Now select all layers below Profile Photo Frame with Ctrl + Click.

select layers photoshop psd template facebook timeline

Then do a Right Click > Merge Layers.

merge layers layers panel photoshop template psd timeline facebook

Rename your merged layer if you want to. I’ll call mine “Final”.

final rename layer photoshop facebook timeline project psd

For more check out page 2

We can now proceed to exporting the two separate images. To export the profile photo, press and hold Ctrl and Click on the Layer Thumbnail of Profile Photo.

layer thumbnail ctrl click selection create photoshop psd template facebook timeline

Then Click on the Final layer to select it.

select layer photoshop psd template facebook timeline

Press Ctrl + C to copy followed by Ctrl + N to open a new document.

new document photoshop window psd template facebook timeline

While the displayed profile picture size is 160 x 160 in size, Facebook is really pretentious and wants profile photos at a minimum size of 180 x 180. Let’s play along and give this new document the changes in needs.

dimensions new document fix photoshop template psd document facebook timeline

Much better. Now I’ll press OK, and immediately slam my fingers on Ctrl + V afterwards to paste my profile photo.

pasted image fit problem photoshop facebook timeline psd template

At first, it won’t fit the 180 x 180 frame perfectly, but hey – that’s what scaling is for. Press Ctrl + T to transform the newly pasted picture and use the anchor points to make it fit the image dimensions perfectly.

Free Transform to Fit

Press Ctrl + Shift + S to save your profile picture. I saved mine as a JPEG with maximum quality (Facebook will compress it, but there’s not much you can do about it).

JPEG quality 12 photoshop quality setting compression set facebook timeline psd

After saving, you can close the document and return to the template PSD. From here we’ll repeat the same process for the timeline. Ctrl + Click on the Timeline layer thumbnail.

layer thumbnail selection photoshop facebook timeline template psdNow select Final.

select layer photoshop psd template facebook timeline

Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + N to open the New Document window.

Pro Tip: You can turn off (hide) the Profile Photo Frame layer to have a look at what your clean timeline will look like before copying and taking it to a new document.

profile photo picture frame layer disable facebook timeline psd photoshop

ctrl n new document photoshop window facebook timeline template psd

The resolution you need is 851 x 315, so add those two pixels back to the height and move on by clicking OK.

dimensions new document fix photoshop template psd document facebook timeline

Paste with Ctrl + V and use Free Transform again to fill the single row gaps at the top and the bottom.

Free Transform to Fit

Finally, tap out the familiar keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + S and save your timeline as a high-quality JPEG.

JPEG quality 12 photoshop quality setting compression set facebook timeline psd

Now you can upload the two files as, respectively, your profile pic and your timeline. If you did everything correctly, your profile will get a look that’s completely identical to the one on the PSD template.

For specific details on how to create a Facebook timeline cover, check out my screencast below:

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