Author and publish your first story

ArcGIS StoryMaps is the storytelling tool to help you use maps to explore locations, events, and trends. It brings text, photos, and videos together with custom maps to create a narrative that informs and inspires. Elevate your storytelling with modern, predesigned themes that put your content into a cohesive, polished story that you can publish and share. You can author new stories in the ArcGIS StoryMaps story builder.

Create your story

Use the following steps to author and publish a story:

  1. Create the story.
    1. Browse to the Stories page in ArcGIS StoryMaps.
    2. Click New story.
    3. Select Start from scratch or one of the quick start options: Sidecar, Guided map tour, or Explorer map tour.
      • Start from scratch—The story builder loads and opens a new blank story.
      • Sidecar—The story builder loads with an empty sidecar block in the docked panel layout.
      • Guided map tour—The story builder loads with an empty guided map tour block in the map focused layout.
      • Explorer map tour—The story builder loads with an empty explorer map tour block in the list view layout.

    The ArcGIS StoryMaps story builder is where stories are assembled from a selection of content blocks. These content blocks are selected from the block palette and can be used to add narrative text, media, maps, and immersive experiences to your story.

  2. Create the story cover.

    The story cover appears at the start of a story and provides information about your story. Give your story a title and consider adding an optional subtitle and media. The author name and publish date are added automatically. For more information about story covers, see Change a story cover.

  3. Tell your story.

    Use the block palette to add narrative text, maps, media, and immersive content blocks to your story. You can add content to your story by directly typing it (for example, narrative text), uploading it from your computer (for example, pictures), and inserting it from the web (for example, video URLs). Web maps and scenes can be added from ArcGIS Online, and you can author your own express maps. For more information about the various content blocks, see Add narrative text.


    You can drag content blocks to rearrange their order in the story. ArcGIS StoryMaps automatically saves your progress as you author your story.

  4. Configure the story theme and design.

    Explore the story cover and theme options in the Design panel. These options allow you to change the look and feel of the story. For more information about story themes, see Set a theme.

  5. Preview the story.
    1. Click Preview in the story builder header to open the story preview.
    2. Preview your story as your audience will see it.
    3. Return to the story builder to make any revisions and publish by clicking Edit story in the header.
  6. Publish the story.

    Click Publish in the story builder header to start the publishing process. In the publishing process, you select the audience for your story. The publisher then runs a check to ensure that the story's maps will be accessible to that audience. If any issues are detected, you are prompted to address them before the publisher finishes running. For more information about the publishing process, see Publish a story.

Your story is now published and ready to be shared or presented.

Configure date settings on story cover

You can select the date you want to display in the story cover from Story settings.

Use the following steps to select a date on a cover:

  1. In the story builder, click the menu button Menu.
  2. Click Story settings to open the Story settings menu.
  3. Choose one of the options from the Date on cover drop-down menu: Original publication date, Date of last update, Current date, or None (hide date), and click Save.

Make updates and revisions

If you need to update or revise your story, all of your stories are on the Stories page. From here, you can edit or delete your stories. Any edits made to a published story are saved as unpublished changes until the story is republished. For more information about making changes to a published story, see Modify a published story.

Storytelling guidance and tips

The ArcGIS StoryMaps team provides storytelling guidance, tips, and other resources on the ArcGIS StoryMaps Resources page.