How to: Instagram Story Highlights

If you spend a bit of time on Instagram you’ve probably been noticing people customising their profiles with unique Instagram Stories highlight icons. It’s a super easy way for users and brands to organise their Instagram stories and add a bit of style and cohesiveness to their feed. Just like on TV, it lets users choose which channel of your content they want to watch!

Wondering how you can make these for your own feed? Read on.

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is decide what categories of content you are going to have on your stories. You might have one for travel, one for business, one for style etc. If you wanted to let users easily recap your year you could split it up by months or seasons. There are so many different ways you can split your content, it’s all up to you!

For business accounts consider splitting stories into groups like Fan Photos, Sales, Behind the Scenes (BTS), News, Our Team, Takeovers and/or New Styles. As an example, Universities could split their story highlights into categories per faculty so future, current and past students can easily find content interesting to them.

Step 2

Once you’ve decided what categories you would like to have, you need to figure out what icons you would like to use to represent your Instagram highlights. Also think about your content and your brand and what colours you could be using to suit this.

Now, if you have Photoshop skills then you do your designs in there, but otherwise I’d recommend signing up for a Canva account! If this is your first time using Canva then you can thank me later. It’s basically a super easy-to-use drag and drop version of Photoshop.


Step 3

Now you have your Canva account you’re going to search for Instagram story templates. Once you’ve found the one you like you can use this as a base or remove all the elements and start from scratch.

Click on the “Elements” button in bar of the left hand side of the Canva dashboard. This is where you can search for your icons. You’ll be able to see a heap of icons are available for free, some cost money and others are available if you have Canva Pro. If you find some pro icons that you love then get a free trial so you can make your highlight buttons using these!

Once you’ve finished your first story, click the two rectangular boxes to the right of your design to duplicate it and then create the different icons for the rest of your categories. Make sure that the icon is a similar or same size across them all.

Save these as PNG’s and then email them to yourself and open and save them on your phone.

Hot Tip: If you wanted to, you can do all of this on your mobile using the Canva app.

Step 4

To actually use them as your story highlight buttons you need to upload them as stories first. So go and post each of these images to your stories. It’s quite common to put up a notice first telling people that you’re making your account pretty but otherwise don’t worry too much about uploading them without context – people will understand when they visit your page.

Step 5

Now to add your highlights go to your feed and click the + symbol above “New”. From here you can select the icon for your category and any other relevant stories that may be in your archive. After you click next then you’ll be able to edit the cover. Finally click add and you’re all done!

Instagram story highlights

Step 6

Now that you have added your categories you can add and remove new and old content as you need to.


Your Instagram should now be looking beautiful and the best part is, if you ever want to update them, you have the templates saved in Canva to do it again super easily.


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