iPhone capture sunset

An up to date round of up Instagram stories tips and tricks for anyone wanting to jazz up their daily feed without the use of any external apps. This blog post is edited as frequently as Instagram decides to make changes. Simple hacks to create more visually appealing stories and answers to those niggly little editing problems. I’ll keep updating this post as Instagram comes out with new versions or when I come across other tips, tricks and hacks. Let me know if there are any new Instagram stories features I’ve left out or something you’d love to know how to create in Instagram stories.

New Instagram stories features, as and when we get them. It is also important to say, not all features are available to all users. For example, I have both personal and business accounts, one allows access to my entire camera roll and one only to the last 24 hours. There seems to be no rhyme or reason, so just be patient!

Where to find Instagram Reels

If you’re wondering how to use Instagram Reels (essentially Instagram’s version of TikTok), click the camera icon in the top left corner as you would to create a story and swipe across to Reels. Screenshot of how to use Instagram reels

Add screenshots and images to your Instagram stories

Ever seen a screenshot of a text overlaid on a video, or photos from camera roll on top on an Instagram story? And I don’t mean using an app like Unfold or any third party app to create collages. This one is really simple, you just copy the photo and paste it into your story (*EDIT below – there’s an even easier way now!). Sometimes the copied image will even appear as a sticker for you to insert, like this…How to overlay images on Instagram stories tips, tricks and hacks

How to overlay images on Instagram stories tips, tricks and hacksHow to overlay images on Instagram stories tips, tricks and hacksHow to overlay images on Instagram stories tips, tricks and hacksHow to overlay images on Instagram stories tips, tricks and hacks

Now you can add a ‘sticker’ of an image direct in Instagram stories, a ‘picture-in-picture’ feature (or video) just like this… Screenshot of Instagram stories picture in picture feature

Create continuous Instagram stories

This is a simple one that I think Snapchat picked up on way ahead of Instagram. All you have to do is keep your finger on the record button past the usual 15 seconds to create continuous stories.

If you want to delete one of the 15 second clips, which you’ll see in the bottom left corner, long hold and then press the bin iconThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 67FE1035-4C2E-444D-A6B3-716EB77FABC3.jpg

Close friends list for Instagram stories

You can now create a list of close friends to share a private Instagram story with and it couldn’t be easier. Simply click the green circle with white star symbol labelled ‘close friends’ and choose who you want to share with. This list can be edited later at the top right of your profile.

Editing text in Instagram stories

*EDIT new fonts available now

Screenshot of Instagram stories new fonts Screenshot of Instagram stories new fonts

Click the A to add a background or shadow and the colour wheel to choose a tone for your text.

If you still have the old style, here are some editing hacks. While editing text you can tap to change fonts, choosing from Classic, Modern, Neon, Typewriter and Strong at the top of the screen. Also, add quick highlights to your text in the new update!Screenshot of Instagram stories edit font

Re-share Instagram posts to stories

Share a post to your Instagram story by clicking the arrow/share button and then add to your story.

If you’re tagged in someone else’s story, you’ll get a DM with the same option to repost that story for the next 24 hours. (The their*/they’re typo is killing me in this screenshot)

new Instagram stories feature

Add mention to your own Insta story

Essentially re-gram someone else’s story if they’re tagged you in theirs or mentioned you with a sticker. It will slide into your DMs like this, below. Then you can edit as normal, resize it, move, add GIFs Instagram stories feature, regram story, add mention to story DM

Ask question in Instagram story

You can now allow your followers to ask you questions via Instagram stories. Choose the sticker and change the text to whatever you like before posting. The questions will appear when you scroll through your own story and swipe up, but also in your mentions, rather than your DMs. Click a question to add an answer, the follower’s name won’t appear in the reply. You now also have the option to reply via direct message instead of to your story Instagram stories feature, ask me a questionnew Instagram stories feature, ask me a questionUse below method (create a story over one individual image) to use multiple answers to one question.

Add music to your Instagram stories

Instagram music isn’t available in every region, but if you do have it here’s how to use it. There are two ways of using this feature, you can scroll across at the bottom of your screen, select ‘Music’ and your chosen song then record video. Or you can add it to existing video or a still image from the top of your screen…Add Instagram Music to storiesAdd Instagram Music to stories

You can make the music sticker tiny or even slide it off the screen if you want to hide it.

Add GIFs to your Instagram story

Click GIFs and search for whatever you link. You can even create your own!Screenshot instructions add GIF to Instagram storiesScreenshot instructions add GIF to Instagram stories

Changing font size in Instagram stories

@tropicalpopical posted a story this week frustrated that they couldn’t fit their email address onto one line. I see stories every day of usernames also split over two lines. Here’s how to fix the problem, slide down at the left to change font size while typing/editing. Stretching after just zooms in.Screenshot of Instagram stories change font size

Screenshot of Instagram stories change font sizeEdit text colours in Instagram stories

The three photos below show how to select individual words to change if you don’t want everything the same colour, or how to create more consistent stories by matching the colour of your text to the photo.Screenshot of Instagram stories change text colourScreenshot of Instagram stories edit text colourScreenshot of Instagram stories change text colour

Play with different text styles in Instagram stories

  • To create a shadow, type the same word(s) out twice, separately. Change the colour of one and layer them one on top of the other, with the second slightly off centre. They need to be pretty much the exact same size for this to work wellScreenshot of Instagram stories shadow text hack
  • Spacing is simple, instead of try to stretch a word out (this will just make it bigger) tap the space bar in between each letter. Leave a double space between wordsScreenshot of Instagram stories spacing text hack
  • To create a box effect with your text, write the first word, hit done and then start again, typing each one individually. Now line them up by stretching some words and making others smaller until they’re all the same size and lined up neatlyScreenshot of Instagram stories text hack

Creating background colours

If you want a solid background colour or transparent overlay on a photo in your Instagram story, it’s easy peasy…Screenshot of Instagram stories background colour hackScreenshot of Instagram stories background colour hack

Adding old photos and video to your Instagram story

UPDATE: You now need to swipe up to access your camera roll. Some people can access their entire camera roll. For others, only photo and video from the past 24 hours are currently available. Use third party apps to amend meta data or send images to yourself to change the time and date. I currently use Metapho. Check back for more Instagram stories updates.

Images older than 24 hours will have a date stamp. Drag date stamp down to the bin if you want to delete it completely.

Create a text story over one individual image

If you have a few things to say about one single photo, maybe you want to add a few side notes, or have instructions, whatever the reason, you can easily add a text story to unfold over a few separate snaps. Edit the first as usual, save before posting, then re-upload and add your next edit. Continue these steps until you’re finished. You’ll see lots of fashion bloggers use this when asking followers to ‘swipe up’ to buy they’re shoes/hat/bagScreenshot of Instagram stories text hackScreenshot of Instagram stories text hack

Create videos from other sources

Use iPhone’s (sorry, I don’t know anything about Android!) screen record feature to add Instagram stories. The following example shows a music clip from Spotify, but it could be anything you want to record on your phone, such as step by step instructions, a YouTube video or even someone else’s story!

Play around with stickers

Lots of the in-app stickers can be editing simply by tapping to view other options. Add selfie stickers by clicking the camera icon nestled in among location, temp etc. Screenshot of Instagram stickers hack

Any duh moments there? What did I miss? Let me know @nadia_dailyself



  1. 13 January 2018 / 17:27

    This was so handy. That shadow text option is clever and I never knew about holding a screen block colour tomato it transparent. LOVE the joined writing font but its not on all android yet. Boo!

    • Nadia El Ferdaoussi
      15 January 2018 / 09:11

      My font update has disappeared haha! I spoke too soon, hopefully it’s rolled out again

  2. Nafis
    26 January 2018 / 19:22

    Why i still cant change my font like other phone does , btw i am iphone 7+ user and I already updated with new version and yet still can’t 🙁

    • nadia
      30 January 2018 / 17:12

      Not everyone gets the updates at the same time unfortunately. Instagram seem to be rolling this one out slowy!

  3. Nina
    29 January 2018 / 03:38

    Great tips! As for adding old photos & time stamps, I realize I can just drag the time stamp downwards and there’s the option to delete it instead of hiding it. One thing I haven’t quite figured out or am doing it wrong are borders. How do most people get top and bottom borders on their images? Thanks!

    • nadia
      30 January 2018 / 17:12

      Thanks so much for the tip, I’ll update the post now! If I’m posting a screenshot I use the draw tool to erase out the top and bottom of an image creating a border effect, is that what you mean? Otherwise, you can use external editing apps and then upload the image to Instagram.

    • Robert
      23 April 2018 / 16:52

      You could use the underscore and increase the size of the font. Thank me later 😉

      • nadia
        24 April 2018 / 17:25

        I don’t follow Robert – can you explain?

  4. 8 February 2018 / 16:24

    Any idea why story highlights might not be available in my app? I’m running the latest version of the app (31).

    • nadia
      5 March 2018 / 03:26

      Are you using iPhone or Android? Has it updated yet?

  5. Niki
    21 February 2018 / 13:52

    I still don’t seem to have the camera roll option for photos older than 24 hours. Anyone else experiencing the same? I seem to have all the other features and I’m running version 33.0 thanks!

    • nadia
      5 March 2018 / 03:25

      Are you using Android or iPhone?

    • U
      11 April 2018 / 04:46

      I’m having this issue too. Is yours fixed yet?

  6. Sele
    28 February 2018 / 11:32

    There’s this new thing I saw someone do, and I can’t figure out how it’s done. They shared a feed post into a story, but it was not a screenshot, because if you tapped on the picture, it would take you to the actual feed post. Can you help me with that?
    Thank you!

    • nadia
      5 March 2018 / 03:25

      Hmmm, I’m not aware of this one. Was it still or video? Instagram rolls out different features to different users at different times. Some big verified accounts will often test new features, so maybe it’s something that’s coming for everyone in the future.

  7. Keryn
    1 March 2018 / 08:21

    Ack! Since new fonts came out, for the life of me I cannot figure out how to highlight in different color. When was just classic font I just clicked on the A to highlight text and then choose color of highlight. The new fonts don’t have this function. There’s an A++ and if I hit that it DOES highlight, but only a default color which is typically yellow or purple. How do I change the color? I know it can be done as I’ve seen it on other posts and stories. PLEASE HELP!!!!

    • nadia
      5 March 2018 / 03:23

      The only way I know is by using Strong or Typewriter then choosing your text in a different colour which will in turn change the background colour, so it’s not yellow. Let me know if this works!

  8. colleen
    7 March 2018 / 16:35

    Hi Nadia
    I was happily using your top tips for creating stories on my iPhone but now the camera roll option disappeared from the ‘toolbar’ section for stories. I can only access the last 24 hours. I am running a couple of other accounts and the camera roll option is still here but has disappeared as an option from one of my accounts .. any ideas ?

    • nadia
      7 March 2018 / 18:25

      Hi Colleen,

      There was an update on the app yesterday where the option to add photo and video from your camera roll was accessed by swiping up instead of down and everything past 24 hours is currently no longer available. You can use third party apps to change the meta data or send the photo/video to yourself to update the time stamp. Let me know if this works!

    • Audrey
      27 March 2018 / 14:17

      Hi Coleen the exact same has happened to me!and now last night my whole 24 hour gallery disappeared so I literally have 4 3 photos to upload to stories! And ideas why this is happening..All my other Instagram accounts have full historical gallery access, with only my personal account being problematic…so annoying…

    • Almudena
      5 May 2018 / 00:12

      The same happened to me. I could use all photos before and now only the last 24h i cannot understand why…

      • nadia
        17 May 2018 / 09:14

        I can see 24 hours on one account and my entire camera roll from another. It’s a mystery

  9. Ellie
    12 March 2018 / 09:13

    Love this thank you. I cant access my camera roll any more which is a pain. That was one of my favourite functions. And Instagram has removed the gifs now because of a racist incident ( I don’t know the details ) Does anyone recommend third-party apps to access the camera roll? I’m on Android. Thanks

    • nadia
      12 March 2018 / 14:52

      Have you tried swiping UP to access the camera roll?

  10. 29 March 2018 / 12:16

    Thanks so much for sharing such a superclass tips. I really appreciate your wonderful explanation. This tips is really useful, particularly since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday. I will certainly dig it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

  11. Erica
    3 April 2018 / 14:28

    I still do not have the type mode or the option to change my font or the GIF feature. My phone is updated and so is my app. Does anyone know how to fix this or why?

    • nadia
      3 April 2018 / 14:50

      Unfortunately I think it’s just the wall Instagram rolls out the features!

    • Lindsey
      6 April 2018 / 01:44

      I still don’t have it either! My app and iOS are up-to-date. So frustrating.

  12. Enrique
    5 April 2018 / 22:44

    This was great! Thank you. However, for some reason I can’t upload videos or boomerangs to my story. I have a Samsung Note8. Any idea on how I can fix this?

  13. Acik
    7 April 2018 / 04:07

    Hi how do we add music on still photo?

    • nadia
      12 April 2018 / 10:47

      You can play a song on your phone, open the photo and screen record it to create a video with sound. I’m sure there are many other options, but this is quick and easy!

  14. Shabaz
    8 April 2018 / 10:30

    I am facing a problem while share story on Instagram. When I share any photo it’s size changed and become blur. Why this happened?

  15. Shabaz
    8 April 2018 / 10:31

    I am facing a problem while sharing story on Instagram. When I share any photo it’s size changed and become blur. Why this happened?

    • nadia
      12 April 2018 / 10:46

      Try taking your photos while in Instagram stories rather than using the camera and uploading later. This should fix the issue.

      • Phoebee
        3 August 2019 / 12:42

        I don’t have the option to post multiple pictures on my story and I can’t trim a video that’s too long…any idea what’s up? It works on my other account on the same app and everything is up to date.

  16. 16 April 2018 / 13:27

    I have multiple Instagram accounts and some options (like changing the font) are only available for one account. I’m using the same app for each account, so it’s odd that my editing options are inconsistent.

    • nadia
      24 April 2018 / 17:24

      I hear you! I’m doing a takeover on another account currently, using the same app and the features are different. Frustrating!

  17. Melanie Ryding
    6 May 2018 / 19:24

    I can’t see where the screen recorder is on an iphone

    • nadia
      17 May 2018 / 09:14

      In control centre settings

  18. 9 May 2018 / 19:31

    Thanks for this! Do you know why or how to fix when you import a photo from camera roll the background in the photo changes to black?! I can not figure out how to fix this.

    • nadia
      17 May 2018 / 09:14

      Sorry, I’ve never come across this issue!

  19. 15 May 2018 / 06:44

    I really like your post because it will be useful for readers so thanks for writing a such useful information.

  20. Tania
    7 April 2020 / 17:11

    Silly question but when I’m doing an Instagram post and I making a comment on my photo how do I make a return and spacing and changing font?

  21. Carolinemck
    25 April 2020 / 08:43

    Great tips. I’m a newbie to stories but just as you think you’re getting somewhere you see someone else’s story and a new feature. I’m trying to get text appear as though you’re typing it one character at a time. Assume it’s a third party app. I’ve looked at a few but it just animates the text. Thanks

  22. Maria
    12 May 2020 / 23:12

    Hi do you know how to out a frame around the writing in the story?o did it once but I can’t remember how????

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