120

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?

Return to FAQ index

1
  • I would add to this: What's the recommended size for images that are uploaded using direct imgur integration? The site doesn't have the ability to modify uploaded images in any way, however it will stretch images that don't fit the expected aspect ratio, whatever that may be. May 15, 2020 at 15:20

1 Answer 1

88

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 or Google account to log in, the image is pulled from your Facebook or Google profile picture. (In this case, your profile picture is served from the respective site, so users who are in environments where the site is blocked or who have it blocked through browser extensions or tracking protection features won't be able to see your avatar.)
  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. Go to the "Edit Profile & Settings" tab, and there will be "Change picture" link in the bottom of your existing avatar.
  3. Click on "Change picture" and a box will pop up giving you the option to choose between Gravatar, Identicon, your last uploaded picture, or uploading a new picture.
  4. Click Save changes just for this community to save the new avatar only for that specific site, or Save and copy changes to all Stack Exchange communities to save the new avatar to all sites you have account on. (Note: this will also override your whole information on all sites, e.g. About Me, etc.).
  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 or Google, changes to your profile picture are reflected on these sites automatically (as they are served from those sites), but if you've changed your avatar using one of the above options in the past, you won't be able to use your avatar from those sites again.

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

If your avatar is set using Gravatar, Facebook, or Google, it will be updated on all sites when you make the change on the site it's coming from.

If you are changing using Stack Exchange, see above. (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.)

Can I use different avatars on different SE sites?

Yes. Just upload different avatars on different sites using the direct upload feature.

In the past, it was necessary to use different emails on different sites to have different Gravatars on them, back when Gravatar was the sole method of having avatars. As part of a move to have a single verified email for one's entire network account, this method is no longer supported. While it may still continue to work for users who previously set it back when it was allowed, it may cease to work in the future.

Special note for Area 51

As Area 51 is based on a 2011 fork of the Stack Exchange engine, the ability to directly upload your profile picture or get it from Facebook is not implemented there. Therefore, if you wish to change your avatar there, you must use Gravatar. Your avatar there comes from the Gravatar associated with your email address there, which may be different from the one in your network account.

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

The SE sites directly serve 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.

I changed my picture but am still seeing the old one

See Why isn't my Gravatar image updating?

My profile picture changed on the main site(s), but not in chat

Chat profiles sync automatically with your profile on the main site, but this process only happens once an hour. Therefore, you may need to wait up to an hour after changing your profile picture before it begins to appear in chat.

0

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .