How to use Instagram Stories

Telling your stories using photos and videos can be much more effective than writing them down.

Sometimes you want to do a little more on Instagram than just post the odd photo. Instagram Stories lets you tell a story through images, giving truth to the time-honoured saying 'a picture tells a thousand words'.

Using it is simple – you just upload a series of photos in an order that tells a story. Maybe it’s a trip to a sporting event or something as momentous as your wedding day.

[Read more: How to share photographs using Instagram]

These play in a slideshow. Then, 24 hours after you've posted the story, they disappear.

Want to know how to post an Instagram Story? Here’s everything you need to know.

Step 1 – Launch Instagram Stories

Launch Instagram Stories

There are three ways to launch Instagram Stories. You can press the plus button at the top-left of your home screen, swipe left in your Feed, or swipe right from the main screen.

Step 2 – Pick your photos

Pick your photos

You now have to either take photos to upload to your story, or choose to upload some from your gallery. If you’re snapping as you go, press the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take a photo, or hold it to record a video. Uploading from your gallery? Select your snaps from the bottom half of the screen. You can only use snaps you’ve added to your camera roll in the last 24 hours, so don’t hang about deliberating - get posting your story sharpish!

Step 3 – Edit


Here’s your chance to edit your photos as you would if you were posting them normally. As ever, you can add text, doodle on them, and of course use Instagram’s famous filters to give them a retro, sun-kissed look. Tap Done when you’re finished, and your story will be saved.

Step 4 – Post it

Tap the Add Your Story button, and your story will be shared with the Instagram world. Want to keep it for posterity? Tap Save, and your story will be stored on your phone, so you can look back at it and relive it long after it’s disappeared from Instagram. Want to share a certain image with a friend? Hit the Arrow button, and it’ll let you send it to a pal. The picture will disappear as soon as your friend sees it.

Step 5 – Add to it

Add to it

Want to add more pictures and/or videos to your story? No problem. Simply repeat the steps above, and as long as you post within 24 hours, your new snaps/videos will be added to your story. That way, the story can keep developing. Who knows what twists it will take…

Step 6 – Add Boomerangs

There are a couple of neat features you can add to your stories to make them stand out from the herd. A Boomerang is a video that plays forwards and backwards. Any Boomerang can be added to your story. To make one, swipe right from your Feed, then at the bottom of the screen, swipe right to Boomerang mode. Then just snap a burst of photos.

Step 7 – Go hands-free

Set your phone up, and you can record videos hands-free to add to your stories, which is handy if you’re demonstrating something like a recipe. Go to the format picker, select the hands-free mode, and a timer counts you down until the video starts, so you can get prepared.

Step 8 - See your close friends list

Not every story is meant for everyone. Maybe you’ve gone to the beach with some friends but sadly not everyone can make it. The close friends list lets you create stories and then share them exclusively with those who couldn’t be there. 

Simply tap on the Profile button in the bottom right-hand corner and then tap on the Menu icon in the top right-hand corner. Tap on Close friends and you’ll be able to create your own custom list of people that you can then share your stories with.

Step 9 – Visit your story archive

While your stories might disappear for everyone else, they’re all saved for you in an archive. The archive lets you go back through your old stories, re-share them and even save them to your phone’s image library.

To access the story archive simply tap on the Profile button on the bottom right-hand side and then tap on the Story archive icon in the top left-hand side of the screen.

[Instagram: What every parent should know about the photo-sharing app]

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