How to Customize Your Facebook Timeline - dummies

How to Customize Your Facebook Timeline

By Carolyn Abram

Your Facebook Profile, or Timeline, is the online representation of who you are. Most likely, you have online profiles for various websites. Facebook Timelines tend to be a little more comprehensive and dynamic.

While you’re getting started, Facebook asks for only a little bit of Profile Information. Facebook asks for this bio because this is the information that will help your friends find you.


There are five fields that Facebook asks for. You can fill out all or none of them, but it’s recommended that you fill them all out:

  • High School: Enter the high school you attended. If you attended more than one high school, pick just one to enter now; you’ll be able to add the rest of them later.

  • College/University: If you attended college, enter your school. If you attended more than one school, either because you transferred or because you also attended a graduate program, just pick one school for now. You’ll be able to add the rest later.

  • Employer: Enter the name of the company you work for. For now, enter wherever you’re currently working or where you worked most recently. You’ll be able to enter a full work history later on.

  • Current City: Enter the city where you currently reside.

  • Hometown: Enter the place you identify as your hometown. That may be the place you were born or the place you moved to when you were 10 years old. It’s up to you.

You may notice that as you type the name of your high school or college, a list of names appears below the field where you’re typing. Get used to seeing these autocomplete menus around Facebook. As you type, Facebook tries to guess the rest of the word you’re typing. When you see what you’re looking for, use the arrow keys to highlight the correct match and press Enter.

Next to each field is a globe icon with an upside-down triangle next to it, shown next to this paragraph. This is one version of the Privacy Menu that appears throughout Facebook. Also known as the Audience Selector, you can click this icon to change who can see the information you just entered.

Privacy on Facebook is important. And complex. For now, decide who can see each of these items. So, for example, if you’re choosing privacy for your High School, you would click the globe icon to open the privacy menu and select from the following options:

  • Public or Everyone: Anyone who visits your Timeline can see where you went to high school. Additionally, anyone who searches for People Who Went to <High School Name> will see you in the search results.

  • Friends: Only people you add as friends will be able to see where you went to high school.

  • Only Me: Only you will be able to see where you went to high school. A friend visiting your Timeline won’t see this information.

  • Custom: A specific set of people you choose will or will not be able to see where you went to high school. This option doesn’t usually become very useful until people have responded to your Friend Requests.

  • Lists (Close Friends and Family): Facebook tries to help you sort your friends into categories such as Close Friends or Family. You can choose to allow only people in those lists to see where you went to high school. Much like Custom, this option may not be very useful at this time.

If you don’t want to share this information publicly, simply click the globe icon and select with whom you do want to share it. Each privacy setting has its own icon to represent it, so if you choose Friends, the globe icon will be replaced by the icon of two silhouettes.

Because these are the fields that help friends find you, it’s recommended that you leave them set to Public. Especially if you have a common name, having some biographical details makes it easier for friends to find and identify you. But if you aren’t comfortable with that, you of course can change the privacy setting. Privacy settings aren’t set in stone; you can always adjust them later.

When you’re done filling out these fields, click the blue Save & Continue button to move on to the next step.

Sometimes Facebook will use the information you just entered to show you some people it thinks you may know. In that case, after you finish Step 2, but before you get to Step 3, you may see an Add People You Know screen. This screen displays the name and photos of people you may want to add as friends.

Click the Add Friend button next to the images of people you know and want to add as friends. You can also choose to skip that part of the step using the Skip link (next to the Save & Continue button).