How To Use Facebook’s New Timeline Feature

How To Use Facebook’s New Timeline Feature

Facebook finally rolled out its much-anticipated Timeline feature today, which brings a snazzy new interface to your profile, not to mention the ability to see every post anyone’s ever made back to their first day on Facebook. Here are the things you need to know about using it.

You can get the Timeline feature right now, but Facebook gives you seven days to adjust the look of your timeline before it goes public. Chances are, you’ll want to tweak a few things before you publish it, so here are the things you’ll want to look at during the next week before it goes live.

How To Browse The Timeline

When you first visit the new interface, you’ll see that it is, in fact, a timeline of all your posts on Facebook, going from newest at the top to oldest at the bottom. By default, it shows all your posts from this month. If you scroll down to the bottom, it will automatically load all of your posts from last month. If you scroll to the bottom of that, it’ll show the “highlights” from the rest of that year.

You’ll also see on the right that you have a sidebar, from which you can jump to specific time periods. Click on a year and it will jump to the Highlights view for that year, and expand the sidebar to show every month from that year. Click on a month, and it will show you all the posts from that month. You can go to any time period you want, from now all the way back to your first day on Facebook.


Also note that you can jump to a specific time period using the dropdown menus at the top of the page, if you don’t like the sidebar tree. If at any point, you want to see all posts instead of just Facebook’s Highlights, you can choose “All Posts” from the dropdown menu as well.

You might also want to check out the top of your profile, from which you can access a list of your friends, a new view of all your photos (which is actually pretty great), your Likes, and so on. You can also click the tiny “About” link under your profile picture to view your basic info, About Me, work and education, and so on.

How To Add New Events To Your Timeline


While you can add a status or photo to the top of your timeline as normal, the new view also allows you to add blocks on earlier sections of the timeline as well. Say you have a baby picture you want to upload to Facebook. You could go back to the year you were born and add it there, so it appears in chronological order, rather than putting it at the top. To do this, just find the desired spot on the timeline, and hover over the blue line in the middle. Your cursor will turn into a plus sign. You can then click there to add any kind of post you want, be it a new status, photo, place, or other life event (such as a change in relationship status, change in city, or others).

If you want to move a post that already exists — whether you posted it at the top or whether someone else posted an old picture of you — you can move it to a different spot on the timeline as well. Just hover over the post and click the pencil icon that shows up. Hit “Change Date” to move it anywhere you want on your timeline, and it will show up there from now on.

How To Change The Look Of Your Timeline

You’ll notice that while the interface is very different, Facebook doesn’t work all that differently from the way it used to. At the top of your timeline, you can add a new status update, photo, or place, and you can read all your wall posts just by scrolling down the timeline. The only new features you really need to learn about are those that directly relate to how your timeline looks.


The first thing you’ll want to check out is the cover. Essentially, you have two main photos on the front of your profile — one is your profile picture, which you should already see. The other is a “cover”, a large, high-res photo that will appear behind your profile picture, and you can make this whatever you want. To add one, click the “Add a Cover” button on the right side or your profile. You can choose one of your existing photos or upload one from your hard drive. You can change your cover photo at any time just by hovering over it and clicking the “Change Cover” button that appears.


The other new feature you’ll want to try is starring a post. If there’s a post you or someone else has made that you want to draw more attention to on your timeline, just hover over it and click the star button. This will make it wider, stretching across both columns of your timeline, to make it more noticeable. It will also help break up the two-column view and keep the whole thing more interesting, which is nice. To delete a post or hide it from your timeline, click the pencil icon next to the star.

How To Make Old Posts More Private

The one big downside to the Timeline layout is that you can easily see every post you’ve ever made or received on Facebook. All anyone needs to do is go to a certain year on your profile and click the “All Posts” button. For a lot of us, that means posts you made when you were in high school — and I don’t need to tell you how embarrassing it can be to look at some of the things you used to say in high school.


You have a few choices here, and unfortunately neither is ideal. You can go through your timeline and hide or delete individual posts by clicking the pencil icon, but depending on how long you’ve been on Facebook and how active you are, this could take forever.

Alternatively, if you have any old posts that are public or shared with friends of friends, you can change the privacy of all those posts to “Friends Only” with one click. It won’t hide those posts from your friends, but it will at least keep everyone else on Facebook from being able to browse every post you’ve ever made public. Click the arrow next to the “Home” button in the upper right hand corner of Facebook. Head to Privacy Settings, then scroll down to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts”. Click “Manage Past Post Visibility” and click the “Limit Old Posts” button. This will make all your past posts visible to Friends Only.


Going forward, all posts you make will be subject to the same privacy settings you had before — so if it was set to Public, every post you make after hitting “Limit Old Posts” will still be public. Check out our guide to managing your Facebook privacy for more info.

Again, this feature isn’t perfect, since those posts will still be visible to all your friends, but it’s up to you how deeply you want to cultivate those old posts that everyone now has easy access to. Remember, though, you have 7 days before the Timeline goes public, so if you did want to dig in and go through every year, you could at least spread the work over a few days.

The new timeline feature is much more of a cosmetic update than a functional one, though it can be cool to go back and see all your old posts (as long as they aren’t embarrassing), and being able to add posts anywhere on the timeline is a neat twist. If you haven’t enabled it yet, head to Facebook’s Timeline page to check it out, and let us know what you think of the new design in the comments.


  • The privacy aspect of this change is complete BS!!!! Theyve essentially changed the default “wall posting” privacy settings back to ‘Friends Only..meaning unless you put in hours upon hours to change each wall post back to ‘private’, everything on your wall that was once ‘Private Only’, becomes public to your ‘friends’. Many of my friends currently have disabled their Wall, and only use the site to contact old friends.

    There’s no way to change your default settings for all wall postings to ‘Private Only’??

    “You have a few choices here, and unfortunately neither is ideal. You can go through your timeline and hide or delete individual posts by clicking the pencil icon, but depending on how long you’ve been on Facebook and how active you are, this could take forever.”

    WHO has the time to go through all of the posts theyve ever put up on facebook?! Do people really want what they posted on people’s wall in highschool, drunk out of their mind, etc, to be public??

    Looks like Facebook is once again trying to reset the privacy settings to a very public nature (and make it nearly impossible for people to keep their privacy). Theyve done it before, and theyre doing it again. Once the media picks up on this, there will be another huge backlash against facebook…Personally, i’m going to be removing my profile….

    another sneaky and deceiving move by facebook.

  • Get a life, people. Faceless Facebook is NOT the real world. Go and make some real flesh and blood friends, meet the face to face, turn your computer off, if you can remember how to do it.

    Get real [now you know what this statement means]!

  • Something that needs to be mentioned with all Facebook Timeline articles is the app Exfoliate for Android which can delete all posts (or photos, tags etc. as chosen by you) before a certain date (e.g. before you broke up with your ex). Although you have to hand over your facebook login (I recommend changing your password after using it), it works as advertised, and can save a lot of work or embarrassment for a dollar. Takes a while (best run on Wifi and on charger), but does the job.

    I so wish I had the Android and FB coding chops to have thought of this myself – I think the author is going to make a fortune, and good luck to him for giving a function that Zuck and co should have baked in from the start. Wonder how long it will be before Zuck and co ban the app for deleting their precious data mine (and interfering with Marky No Mates’ mission to muck up as many relationships as possible) .

  • From Thursday, to view my older statuses and wall posts from the past, I no longer do not need to keep on clicking “older posts” which is so annoying! Will not go to MySpace or Google+

  • It’ll take some getting used to, but I think the personalization aspect will look really cool. We put together some of our favorite photos for people to download and use (for free) as their cover photos: It was really fun to choose the different destinations & the cover photos actually look really cool once you get them set up.

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