Set a theme

The theme of a story includes everything from its background and recommended colors to the size and style of its fonts to the symbols in the express maps. Themes blend all of these elements together. ArcGIS StoryMaps offers one-click themes so you can use a predefined visual style for all elements in a story. Authors can also create themes in the theme builder and customize certain elements of a theme to change the specific look and feel of the story.

Change the theme

To change the visual style of your story, you can change the theme, which switches the colors, fonts, and other themed elements of the story. You can change the story's theme in the story builder Design panel.

Use the following steps to change the theme:

  1. Click Design in the header to display the design panel.

    The current theme card is highlighted in the panel under the Theme section.

  2. Select the theme you want to apply to your story by choosing one of the six standard themes, or click Browse themes to apply a custom theme. Click Manage my themes to edit a theme or create one.

    Click Featured themes gallery to pick from a set of professionally created themes.

    An administrator can select an Approved themes group, and authors can share themes to this group and recommend that members of the organization apply a theme from the My Organization tab. For more information on selecting an Approved themes group, see Administer ArcGIS StoryMaps on ArcGIS Online. You can create custom roles with some administrative privileges to give authors access to Organization settings without giving them the full set of privileges an administrator has. For more information, see Custom roles.

  3. Click outside the panel or click the close button to close the Design panel.

The selected theme is active, and all of the visual elements associated with the new theme are applied.


Collections can also be themed using standard or custom themes. The font pairing of Avenir and Noto Serif is best for stories written in a language other than English. If you are authoring a story in a non-English language, and using a theme other than Summit, you may get better results if you select the Avenir and Noto Serif font pairing in your custom theme.

Use themes with express maps

Express maps are designed to match the look and feel of a story by adopting elements from the available standard themes. For example, each of the six standard themes includes a curated set of basemaps for express maps that complement the story's colors and fonts. Additionally, you can assign the theme's recommended and custom accent colors as layer colors for the drawn features on express maps. For more information, see Add maps.