Add narrative text

Narrative text is the foundation of a story. There are several types of text blocks that can be added to a story:

  • Paragraphs and large paragraphs
  • Headings
  • Quote blocks
  • Numbered and bulleted lists
There are also other basic content blocks that can be used to help organize and enhance a story:
  • Buttons—Links to external web pages
  • Separators—Adds vertical spacing and a horizontal rule between content blocks
  • Table—Adds rows and columns of text
  • Code—Styled code from various programming and scripting languages

Add text to a story

Add narrative text and other content blocks to a story from the block palette. Use the block palette to insert new content blocks at the top of the story, at the bottom of the story, and in between existing blocks in the body of the story.

Use the following steps to add text:

  1. Click the open button Open to open the block palette.
  2. Select a content block: Paragraph, Large Paragraph, Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, Bulleted List, Numbered List, or Quote.

The new block appears, and you can type text into the story.

Format and convert text

Formatting text in bold or italics can add emphasis or provide depth to the story's narrative. In ArcGIS StoryMaps, you can format the text in paragraphs, large paragraphs, quotes, and lists. Hyperlinking text can provide context and quick access to information sources or other reference materials. You can also align text blocks and convert any text block from one style to another, for example, changing a heading to a subheading or a paragraph to a quote block. You can also indent the list items.

Use the following steps to format text:

  1. Highlight the text you want to format.

    The text formatting toolbar appears.

  2. From the toolbar, select the formatting or conversion option you want.

    You can format the text with Subscript, Superscript, or Strikethrough from More options on the toolbar. Some block types do not support all formatting options.

  3. To add a hyperlink, enter the URL for the link or use the Heading option to link to another part of the story.

The selected text changes to the selected format.

Add a table

Including a table in a story can help provide context by organizing information into columns and rows. Themes applied to stories will also apply to the table.

Hover over the table and click the Options button to insert or delete columns and rows. A table can have up to 8 columns and 10 rows.

Add code

Adding a code block to a story can help highlight code with its respective languages' syntax. The block of code can also be copied using the Copy code snippet button on the side of the code block.

Change the language of the code by selecting the Settings button on the code. The code can be formatted using one of several common languages in the code block options. Display line numbers by checking the Show line numbers box in the Code options.


Several text formatting shortcuts are available:

  • Basic formatting—Bold selected text by pressing Ctrl+B (Windows) or Command+B (Mac), italicize by pressing Ctrl+I or Command+I, or add a hyperlink by pressing Ctrl+K or Command+K.
  • Block conversion—At the beginning of a text block, type one of the characters below followed by a space to convert the block to a different type. You can use these shortcuts for empty text blocks and text blocks that already have text.
    • Heading 1—Type # followed by a space.
    • Heading 2—Type ## followed by a space.
    • Heading 3—Type ### followed by a space.
    • Quote—Type > followed by a space.
    • Paragraph—Type : followed by a space.
    • Large paragraph—Type % followed by a space.
    • Bulleted list—Type * or - followed by a space.
    • Numbered list—Type 1. followed by a space.
  • Multilevel lists—Place the pointer at the beginning of a list item and press Tab to indent and Shift+Tab or Delete or Backspace to outdent.
  • Single-spaced text—Press Shift+Enter to create lines of single-space text. This may be useful for displaying content that requires a compact arrangement, such as a multiline address or an excerpt from a poem.

Adjacent lines of single-spaced text are part of the same text block, so inserting blank lines between paragraphs using Shift+Enter is not recommended.

Format text color

You can change text color to one of the recommended colors or a custom color. The recommended colors come from the story theme. The color palette always shows the body text color and three theme accent colors for the currently selected theme. These colors change if you apply a different theme in the Design panel. If you have formatted text in a story using these colors, that text's color updates to reflect the accent colors in the new theme. If you have set a custom accent color in the Design panel, that color is shown as a fifth recommended color. This color option and any text formatted with it do not change if you apply a different theme, but they do change if you change the custom accent color in the Design panel.

Additionally, you can specify any color for a text selection by entering a hex code under Custom color. Text formatted using a custom color does not change if you apply a different theme. For convenience, the last used hex code may be available the next time you open the color picker. To reuse this color, click the color dot to apply the color to the selected text.


Color contrast is important for accessibility. When formatting text color, consider that some theme colors may provide better contrast than others. Test the story for accessibility before sharing it widely.