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Where does the image come from?
How do I change my profile picture, or avatar?
How do I change my profile picture on all SE sites at once?
How can I use different avatars on different SE sites?
How do avatars work?
How do the SE sites know when I changed my Gravatar?
Why do SE sites show a different Gravatar identicon than other sites where I use the same email address?
How can I use a Gravatar image after logging in to facebook.stackoverflow.com?
I changed my picture but am still seeing the old one

See also:

How is the default user avatar generated?
Why isn't my Gravatar image updating?

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Related post: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/11817 –  o.k.w Mar 5 '10 at 11:37
    
Wish I had seen this question and answer earlier, I just spent 30 minutes figuring it out on my own :-) –  Roald van Doorn Mar 5 '10 at 13:44
1  
And welcome to Stack Overflow, and Meta. = ) –  rlb.usa Mar 5 '10 at 17:15
    
You enter a capsule and remotely drive the big blue na'vi –  jmfsg Mar 5 '10 at 18:54
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1 Answer

up vote 30 down vote accepted

Where does the image come from?

There a three possible ways your picture/avatar is created:

  1. It might be tied to Gravatar — for "globally recognized avatar" — linked to your email address if known (and possibly salted if you do not have a Gravatar account) or to your last known IP address otherwise.
  2. When using your Facebook account to log into facebook.stackoverflow.com, the image is pulled from your Facebook profile picture, and also used on the regular stackoverflow.com website and on flairs.
  3. In January 2013, the Stack Exchange team introduced "direct" avatar uploads where the image is uploaded to the Stack Exchange imgur server.

How do I change my profile picture, or avatar?

For Stack Exchange:

  1. Navigate to your profile (click on your username at the top of the page)
  2. Hover over your current avatar and a box will roll-up with a link to "change picture"
  3. Click on "change picture" and a box will pop up giving you the option to either choose your Gravatar image or upload a new image.
  4. Once you've uploaded a picture you can choose either the picture you've uploaded or your Gravatar.
  5. Images get updated quite quickly - you may need to clear your cache.

For Gravatar:

  1. Go to Gravatar.com
  2. Create a profile and upload a picture.
  3. If you're not yet using the same email address on Stack Exchange, then navigate to your profile (click on your username at the top of the page), and add it.
  4. If you're not yet using the picture from Gravatar, then you might need to click "Change picture" on your profile and select the Gravatar image to start using it. (This option is only available if you have a Gravatar account.)
  5. Wait a few hours for it to propagate.
  6. You might need to clear your cache to have the new image requested.

For Facebook, changes to your profile picture are reflected on these sites automatically.

How do I change my profile picture on all SE sites at once?

If you are changing using Gravatar, it will be updated in all sites where your e-mail address is same as Gravatar.

If you are changing using Stack Exchange you need to:

  1. Navigate to your profile
  2. Don't click on your image to edit, as that won't let you apply it to multiple sites. Click on "Edit" above the "About me" section instead.
  3. That will take you to the page where you can edit any field in your profile. Then, click on the "change Picture link.
  4. Select the picture you want to upload.
  5. Click Save And Copy Profile To All Stack Exchange Accounts
  6. It will update your profile picture in all SE sites. But it will also update your whole information on all sites. (e.g. About Me, email etc.)

There is no way to make a network-wide image change using a direct upload without also making your other details the same network wide.

How can I use different avatars on different SE sites?

  1. Associate your stackoverflow profiles.
  2. Change your e-mail address on the sites for which you want a different avatar.
  3. Follow the steps in How do I change my profile picture, or avatar? (above) for the new address.

How do the SE sites know when I changed my Gravatar?

The SE sites directly link to these Gravatar images from gravatar.com, so that when it is updated on Gravatar, it will be updated immediately on the SE sites as well. You may need to clear your cache to see the changes, though.

According to Gravatar, your email address is hashed and used in your avatar's URL. For example, in the URL http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/6b40908a8b13c9c7eecfcb95960cc0f6?s=128&d=identicon&r=PG, the portion 6b40908a8b13c9c7eecfcb95960cc0f6 is your email's md5 hash, provided you have an email address associated with your account.

Why do SE sites show a different Gravatar identicon than other sites where I use the same email address?

If you do not have a Gravatar account, then a salt might be added when the Gravatar MD5 hash is calculated. This makes it harder to guess your email address.

How can I use a Gravatar image after logging in to facebook.stackoverflow.com?

  1. Go to you Stack Overflow profile.
  2. Click "edit".
  3. Click "use gravatar" below your picture.

When you turn the Facebook image off, it stays off. The trigger is the first login, basically.

I changed my picture but am still seeing the old one

See Why isn't my Gravatar image updating?

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So I need the same email on stack as I used to sign up to gravatar? I suspect I am using my google one on stack –  SLC Mar 5 '10 at 11:51
2  
@user144236: Yes. –  Charles Stewart Mar 5 '10 at 11:54
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