How to Create Instagram Stories—and When You May Want to Use This Feature

Updated: Jan. 19, 2024

Looking to take your Instagram game to the next level? Here's the scoop on Instagram Stories, one of the most popular and fun features the platform has to offer.

First introduced in August 2016, Instagram Stories are among the most popular features on the social media site. But what is an Instagram Story, exactly? Essentially, Instagram Stories are photos and videos that disappear 24 hours after they’re posted, similar to Snapchat posts. Stories appear at the top of a person’s Instagram feed and are a fun way to share moments throughout the day without cluttering up your profile with too many posts.

The great thing about Instagram Stories is that they are a more casual and authentic way of sharing content with followers. You can share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your daily life, show off new purchases, post funny memes or even ask questions and create polls to engage your audience. Plus, with so many features like filters, stickers, music and text overlays, there are endless possibilities for creativity when creating Instagram Stories. If you’d like to spruce up your social game, we’ll cover everything you should know about creating Instagram Stories, along with some other tech tips and techniques to let you get the most out of this feature.

What are Instagram Stories?

You likely know already that Instagram is a wildly popular social media app where millions of users post pictures online. Instagram Stories are a newer feature added to the social media app in 2016. As mentioned earlier, Stories allow people to share pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours. These Stories are located at the top of a user’s Instagram page and can be accessed by tapping the user’s profile picture. Instagram Stories allow users to share their day-to-day life on the fly without the need for perfectly curated posts.

One of the key benefits of Instagram Stories is that they allow you to share content temporarily, so they’re useful for quick one-off posts you don’t want to stay on your profile page. This means you can share moments and events as they happen without worrying about clogging up your profile with too many pictures. Stories also offer features like filters, stickers and text overlays, letting you get creative and maybe have more fun than you might be inclined to with a normal post. For example, users can add fun animations, ask questions, run polls or even link to products or websites. Instagram Stories simply offer a fun and engaging way to share content with your followers.

It is important to note that while Instagram Stories disappear from your feed after 24 hours, there’s nothing preventing your followers from snapping a screenshot. So follow smart social media etiquette and never post anything you don’t want out in the world for eternity.

How to create Instagram Stories

How To Create Instagram, Getty Images

If you’re ready to start making your own Instagram Stories, here’s how:

  1. Open the Instagram app, then tap the “plus” icon at the upper left corner of the screen, then tap “Story” at the bottom of the screen (this may already be selected).
  2. Shoot a photo or video by pressing the white circle icon near the bottom of the display. You can also swipe up to open your camera roll and choose an existing photo or video to share.
  3. After you’ve taken or uploaded a photo or video, you can add filters, text, stickers and more with the control options at the top of the screen.
  4. When you’re ready to share, tap “Your Story” at the bottom of the display. This adds your photo or video to your Story, which all your followers can see.

Additionally, you can send your Story to select followers or share it as a post on your profile by tapping “Send To” or “Share” at the bottom of the screen.

Creating Instagram Stories is simple and intuitive, and you can get creative with some extra customization features. More on that next.

How to add stickers and GIFs

How To Create Instagram Stories with, Getty Images

Here’s how to add stickers and GIFs to your Instagram Stories:

  1. After creating a photo or video, press the square smiley face icon at the top right corner of the screen.
  2. This will open up the sticker menu, where you can browse a huge selection of stickers and GIFs.
  3. To add a sticker, tap on it and drag it to your photo or video.
  4. Once you’ve added a sticker, you can resize it, move it around or rotate it with your fingers.
  5. Additionally, you can customize the sticker by tapping it and adjusting the settings, such as changing the color or adding a border.
  6. To add a GIF, tap the GIF button at the bottom of the sticker menu and poke around for the image you want to use. You can also browse popular GIFs or create your own GIFs by tapping the camera icon.
  7. Once you’ve found a GIF you want to add, tap it to put it in your photo or video.

How to add music

How To Create Instagram Stories with, Getty Images

You can even add tunes to your Instagram Stories:

  1. Once you’ve added a photo or video to your Story, open the sticker menu.
  2. Tap on the “Music” sticker. From there, you can browse songs or search for tunes by name, artist or genre. You can also see songs that are trending.
  3. Once you’ve found a song you’d like to add, tap on it to see a preview and adjust the part of the song you want to play.
  4. You can customize the look of the music sticker by tapping on it and selecting different styles.
  5. When you’re ready to share, tap the “Your Story” button to add your music to your Instagram Story.

How to create Boomerangs

How To Create Boomerang Instagram, Getty Images

Boomerangs are short, looping videos that repeatedly play forward and backward, almost like an animated GIF. Here’s how to create Boomerangs on Instagram:

  1. Open Instagram and select the “plus” icon in the top left corner of your screen, then tap “Story” at the bottom.
  2. Select the Boomerang icon toward the side of the screen. It looks like an infinity symbol.
  3. Hold down the circle button to shoot a short video clip.
  4. After recording your clip, tap the Boomerang icon again (now at the top of the screen) to edit it by adding filters, stickers, text or other effects.
  5. When you’re ready to share, tap “Your Story” to add the Boomerang to your Instagram Story.

Boomerangs can also be created with existing photos shot on your iPhone in “live” mode. After uploading your photo to Stories, tap on the infinity symbol to turn it into a Boomerang.

What are Instagram Story Highlights?

Instagram Story Highlights are a way to showcase and organize your favorite past Stories in a separate section on your profile that doesn’t disappear after 24 hours. They appear as circular icons just below your Instagram profile bio. Think of them as a way to curate and highlight specific themes or moments from your Stories that you’d like to keep on your profile even after they expire.

How to create Instagram Story Highlights

Got a special Story or series of Stories you want to save? Here’s how to turn them into an Instagram Story Highlight:

  1. Open your Instagram profile and tap the “+ New” button.
  2. Select the Story or Stories you want to include in your Highlight. Once you’ve selected the Stories, tap “Next.”
  3. Tap “Edit cover” and give your Highlight a name. You can also pick a cover image for your Highlight.
  4. Tap “Add” to create your new Highlight.
  5. To add more Stories to your Highlight, tap and hold the Highlight on your profile and then tap “Edit Highlight.”
  6. You can also add existing Stories to a highlight by tapping on the Story and then selecting the “Highlight” option at the bottom right.

Although Instagram Stories are temporary by default, Highlights let you keep your favorites and make them a more permanent fixture. Highlights also offer a great way to organize your Stories and give your profile a more curated look. You can create multiple Highlights and group Stories by theme, event or whatever else you’d like to showcase on your profile.

FAQs about Instagram Stories

How do I repost Stories?

You can repost someone else’s Story on your profile, as long as the person has tagged you in the Story. In the message you received when they tagged you, simply tap “Add to your Story.”

How To Repost to Instagram, Getty Images

Instagram also allows you to add someone’s post to a Story. To add a post to your Story, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the paper airplane icon under the post you want to add to your Story.
  2. Tap “Add post/video/reel to your Story.”
  3. Customize your post by adding text, stickers or other creative elements, as if you were making your own Story.
  4. Tap “Your Story” to share the reposted Story with your followers.

Not all users allow their posts to be shared, so you may not always see “Add post to your Story” in the Share menu. Additionally, be sure to follow good “netiquette” and credit the original poster by tagging them in your repost.

How do I share multiple photos on a Story?

How To add multiple photos to Instagram, Getty Images

Just as you can add multiple photos to a regular Instagram post, you can also share multiple photos on a single Story. The process isn’t much different than creating a regular Story. Here’s how to add multiple pictures to your Story:

  1. Open the Instagram app and touch the camera icon.
  2. Swipe upward on the display to bring up your phone’s camera roll.
  3. Tap the pictures you wish to add to your Story. You can add up to 10 photos.
  4. Once you’ve selected your photos, tap “Next” to edit each photo individually with filters, stickers or text.

After editing, tap “Your Story” to share your multi-photo Story with your followers. Your followers can swipe through the photos in your Story, and each photo will display for a few seconds before automatically transitioning to the next one.

Can I see who viewed my Story?

Although you can’t see who views your Instagram profile, you can see who has watched your Instagram Stories. Simply open your Story by tapping your profile picture or the “Your Story” icon on the Instagram home screen. Then, swipe upward on the display to bring up a list of users who have watched your Story. This will also show how many times each person has viewed your Story. You can only see the viewers of your most recent Story, and you can only see the viewers for up to 48 hours after you’ve posted your Story. Additionally, if someone has a private profile, you’ll only be able to see their name on your viewer list if they follow you. There’s also no way to see if someone screenshots your Instagram Story.

Instagram Stories are one of the most fun and popular features on the social media app. With the above tips, you can create engaging and exciting Instagram Stories that captivate your audience and bring your social media craft to the next level. Next, find out if you can see who has viewed your TikTok.

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