FAQ - User Icons

» How do I upload an icon?

You must be logged into your Dreamwidth account to do this.


  1. On site-schemed pages, navigate to the Create drop-down menu and select Upload Icons. This takes you to the Manage Icons page where you can use the Upload Icons dialog box to post user new icons.


  2. Enter the location of the icon you want to post:


    • If you know the file path and name of the icon on your computer, type the file path and name in the From File field.


    • If you don't know the file path or name of the icon, click the Browse button and navigate to the file.


    • If you want to load an icon from the web, type the URL in the From URL field.


  3. In the Keyword field, you can enter a list of words to identify the icon, separated by commas, or you can enter a single word name. The keywords are display in icons lists to help you identify each icon.


  4. In the Comment field, enter any information you like about the icon. Many people use this field to identify who made the icon.


  5. In the Description field, enter text that will describe and identify the icon for someone who is using a text reader to read on the web.


  6. To set the icon as your default icon, check the Make this your default icon check box.


  7. If you'd like to post another icon, click the Add Another From File or Add Another From URL button and repeat the previous steps.


  8. If you are finished, click the Proceed button and Dreamwidth will upload your icon.

Last Activity:
April 24th, 2010 (rainbow)

» How many icons can I have?

The number of icons you may have depends on your account level:

OpenID accounts may have 15
Free accounts may have 15
Paid accounts may have 100
Premium Paid and Seed Accounts may have 250

If you have a paid, premium paid, or seed account, you may purchase additional icon slots, per icon, in the Dreamwidth Shop. The icon slots do not expire as long as your paid account is active. If you revert to a free account, the icon slots are disabled until your account becomes paid again.

Last Activity:
January 10th, 2013 (misskat)

» What happens when I change the keyword for an icon?

You can change the keywords for your user icons at the Manage Icons page. When you edit the keyword, you can decide whether or not you want to use the "Rename Keywords" option.

If you check this box then any entries or comments that used the old keyword will be changed to use the new keyword instead. That way, they'll carry on displaying with the same icon.

If you don't check the box, then the keyword on existing entries and comments won't be changed. This lets you upload another icon using the original keyword, which would then be displayed there instead. If you don't assign the keyword to another icon, then posts and comments where you use it will show your default icon instead.

Last Activity:
February 17th, 2010 (rho)

» What are the "Description" and "Short Description" fields for?

The "Description" field on the Edit Icons page, and the "Short Description" when you select Insert Image on the update page, both allow you to provide a text alternative for your images. This text alternative will be used for the ALT attribute ("alt text") of the image when it is displayed on the page. Most screenreaders and text-based browsers will print or read the ALT attribute, since they can't display the image. By entering a meaningful description of your image, you'll help people who use those assistive technologies to benefit from your image as much as people who can see it.

The best descriptions are short but meaningful. Describe the most important information the image conveys. You might describe the same image in different ways depending on context, or based on what you think is the most important part of the image. For example, you could describe one image as "Self-Portrait of me, Curiosity the Mars Rover", or "Mars Science Laboratory in Gale Crater", or "adorable robot!" You do not need to preface your description with "Image:" or enclose your text in square brackets ([ ]), because screenreaders will describe the text as an image appropriately.

For an icon description, the description will be printed or read every time your userpic is displayed, so keep them brief. Choose the one or two elements of the icon that summarize the emotion or effect you're trying to convey. For instance, if the image is of you and your expression is the most important part of the image, the description might be "Me, smiling", or if the gesture is the most important part, the description might be "Me, making the peace sign". Also, remember that most screenreaders will read out punctuation, so avoid the use of repeated non-essential punctuation. For instance, if the text of your icon is "{{{hugs}}}", instead of using the exact text in the description field, consider using "Hugs", "The word 'hugs'", or "The word 'hugs', enclosed in triple braces".

You don't have to describe every part of your image. Just pick the things you'd most want someone to know about it if their browser didn't display images or if they were using a screenreader.

To test how your descriptions will appear, you can view a page that contains your icon in a text-only web browser, or (in some browsers) by disabling images in your browser. You can also put the URL of the page into WAVE, the web accessibility evaluator, which will show you the alternative text on the page.

All images should have alternative text. If an image has no ALT attribute, screenreaders will read the entire URL or filename of the image, which can be very noisy for screenreader users, as well as uninformative. If the image is something that is absolutely uninteresting for people who can't see it (such as an image link that replicates a text link right next to it), you can explicitly tell the screenreader to ignore the image by creating blank alternative text: alt="". Only do this if you are sure the image is not interesting or useful to people who can't see it. (For user icons, the alternative text is never blank, even if you leave the description field empty: it contains your username and the keyword used to select the icon.)

Writing good alternative text can take a lot of practice, but it helps many people when you do it. You can learn more about how to pick the best alternative text.

Last Activity:
March 7th, 2013 (denise)

» What are the restrictions on icons?

Icons can't be more than 100x100 pixels, or have a file size greater than 40kb. (In both cases, they can be smaller than the maximum.)

Supported file types are GIF, JPG, and PNG. If you have a different type of image, you'll need to convert it before using it as an icon.

Dreamwidth doesn't have any content restrictions on user icons.

Last Activity:
May 2nd, 2009 (ysobel)

» What is the icon browser? How does it work?

The Icon Browser is a feature available to paid and premium paid accounts only. It allows you to see all your icons in one place and choose the one you want.

When you're making an entry or a comment, there's a button labeled "Browse Icons". When you press it, it brings up an in-page window with your icons, with images, keywords, and text descriptions, if you've added any. Click on the icon you want to use, then press the button labeled "Select".

Last Activity:
February 25th, 2012 (denise)

» Can I set my icon page to display in my journal style?

Yes, you can set your icon page to display in your journal style or in the site skin. You can also choose how the site will show other users' icon pages when you're logged in to your account.

To choose how your icon page will show, visit the Display tab of Account Settings.

If you want other people who visit your icon page to see it in your journal style, check the box labelled "Icon Page Default: Your Journal". This will set the default for logged-out users and people who haven't changed their viewing settings.

To choose how you will see icon pages (including your own) when you're logged in, select the appropriate option in the drop-down labelled "Icon Pages: Shown to You". You can choose from "original style", which will show you whatever the journal owner has set; "my own style", which will show you all icon pages in your own journal style; "site skin", which will show you all icon pages in the site skin, and "light format", which will show you all icon pages in a stripped-down, simplified layout.

The 'Shown to You' setting will always override the 'Default' setting. For instance, if you check "Icon Page Default: Your Journal" to show your journal's icon page in your journal style, but pick "site skin" for "Icon Pages: Shown to You", logged out visitors to your journal will see your icon page in your journal style, but you will see your icon page in the site skin.

You can pick the number of icons that show on journal-styled icon pages on the Customize Journal Style page.

Last Activity:
March 7th, 2013 (denise)


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