An ArcGIS organization or public account is required to author and publish stories in ArcGIS StoryMaps. An account is not required to view stories that have been created in ArcGIS StoryMaps and shared with everyone.

Requirements for authoring and sharing stories

There are three user types that provide access to the storytelling capabilities of ArcGIS StoryMaps. Access to certain authoring and publishing options is determined by the user type assigned to the author's ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise account.

Creator and GIS Professional (subscription)

The Creator and GIS Professional user types are ArcGIS subscription accounts. They are available for a fee and provide full capabilities in ArcGIS to create 2D and 3D maps, build apps, and publish layers of geographic data on the web. These user types also both include access to the full storytelling capabilities of ArcGIS StoryMaps. The GIS Professional user type also includes access to ArcGIS Pro. For more information about user types in ArcGIS Online organization accounts, see User types, roles, and privileges, and for ArcGIS Enterprise accounts, see User types, roles, and privileges.

Storyteller (subscription)

The Storyteller user type is an ArcGIS subscription account that is available for a fee. It provides access to the storytelling capabilities of ArcGIS StoryMaps. Authors with the Storyteller user type can create express maps in the ArcGIS StoryMaps builder. However, the Storyteller user type does not include the ability to create maps or other geographic content in ArcGIS. These authors can use maps and other content created by members of their organization, from ArcGIS Living Atlas, or that are publicly available on ArcGIS Online. For more information about the Storyteller user type, see Things to know about Esri's new Storyteller user type.

Public account (free)

This free account can be created by anyone and is intended for noncommercial, nongovernmental use. When using ArcGIS StoryMaps with a public account, some advanced storytelling and customization features are not available, such as the ability to embed web pages or create map actions, customize the story theme, and add a Google Analytics tracking ID. For more information about ArcGIS public accounts, see Create account in the ArcGIS Online help; this account is not applicable for ArcGIS Enterprise organizations.

Functionality comparison chart

The following table compares functionality access for organization and public accounts.

FunctionalityPublic accountStorytellerCreator and GIS Professional

Story builder

Access to story builder


Access to standard text blocks



Create express maps


Create ArcGIS web maps and web scenes


Use public ArcGIS Online content


Use shared organizational content


Create custom themes and add custom logos



Share stories with everyone


Share stories to an organization


Social sharing and embed in websites


Commercial use



Configure story analytics


Technical support


Requirements for viewing published stories

Access to view stories depends on the audience that was selected when the story was published and whether the reader belongs to the story author's ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise organization.

Organization accounts

Any member of an organization can view stories published to that organization as well as stories that have been shared with everyone. Viewers and other user types with access to the Essential Apps bundle can view stories shared with them that were created using the new ArcGIS StoryMaps or classic Esri Story Maps templates.

Public accounts

An ArcGIS Online account is not required to view stories that have been created in ArcGIS StoryMaps and shared with everyone.