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Make your first story

Start by planning

The first step to storytelling isn't building, it's prepping. Take time to think through key decisions, like who's your ideal reader? What do you want them to learn? Think about how you'll use photos and maps to underscore main points.

Outlining your story can be a huge help here. Choose whatever outline format makes it easiest to experiment with different ideas.

Get storyboarding tips
A user creating an outline for a "World Heritage Sites in Danger" story

Craft your narrative

It's time to jump into the story builder. Follow your outline and use the block palette to add content. Don't be afraid to try different options.

Remember, story crafting is an iterative process. While an outline helps focus your thoughts, it's OK to deviate from the plan if it's not accomplishing what you wanted. Give yourself time to explore new ideas.

Follow a builder tutorial
A user clicking "Image" on the menu in ArcGIS StoryMaps to select an image and insert it into the story, then selecting "Float" for the image location

Add your map

Using maps in a story helps readers connect with your message; with StoryMaps there are a few ways to quickly add them to your narrative.

Express maps let you easily draw points, lines, and areas for a simple, custom map in minutes. You can even add helpful details like text or arrows. If you need your map to go further, you can always bring in a web map (or 3D web scene).

Learn about express maps
 A user searching for a "giraffe" map layer and turning the layer on within a map in ArcGIS StoryMaps story

Refine the design

A story's look and feel are what first alert a reader to your narrative's tone. Luckily, the themes in ArcGIS StoryMaps make it easy to try out different aesthetics to see which one fits your story best. Choose a new theme to see different font pairings, color schemes, and basemaps.

You'll also find layout options for your story's cover in the design panel.

Find your style
A user opening the design panel in ArcGIS StoryMaps and experimenting with themes for the "In a Volcano's Shadow" story, then applying the "Slate" theme

Share your story

When you're ready, publish your story to share your work with just your organization or with everyone. The shared URL will use the story's title, subtitle, and first image in a card that's perfect for social media.

Want to revise a story you've already shared? No problem. Make your edits and see them saved as unpublished changes. Just re-publish your story when you're ready.

Learn more about sharing
A user clicking "Publish" on the toolbar in ArcGIS StoryMaps to access sharing and group settings, then clicking "Publish story"

Build your skills


Make the switch

Wondering about the nuts and bolts of moving over to our next-generation product, ArcGIS StoryMaps? We've got you covered.


Training classes


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