Getting Started with Story Map Templates

Every map tells a story, and you can deliver an enhanced and richer experience by telling your ArcGIS Online web map story using one of the many story map templates. These templates continue to evolve, with new templates coming online regularly. Here’s how to find those templates for your own story maps.

Map Viewer: Storytelling App Templates

The ArcGIS Online map viewer includes a selection of configurable story map templates that you can use with any web map you author, or that has been publicly shared. These templates can be configured and published as hosted applications directly via your ArcGIS Online account, or can be downloaded for further customization and published from your own servers.

Start with a map you’ve authored, or an existing map, and click share

Then choose Make a Web Application to view the template gallery.

The template gallery includes many useful templates, including several story map template choices. For example, here on the second gallery page there’s several story map templates to choose from:

You can preview, download, or publish your map in the template. When you choose publish, a new item is created which couples your map to the template. The templates are easy to configure – just look for the Configure button in the details page of your new item:

The configuration page enables you to customize your story map template without programming by changing the available options. The options will vary depending on the template you’ve chosen.

Below we see the configuration panel on the right, and the preview of our application on the left. This particular story map template includes a splash screen. The title and splash screen text have automatically been added from our map item title and description, but we can change those in the configuration panel. We can also add an image to further enhance the splash screen.

Here’s an example of a completed application that uses the story map template shown above. It’s a story about champion trees in the Montgomery Botanical Center.

These simple, but effective, story templates can provide a quick and easy way for you to to tell your map’s story.

Storytelling With Maps Website

The storytelling with maps website offers a gallery of featured story maps by Esri and also by the Esri community. You’ll find many interesting stories that will provide inspiration for your own.

Some of the Esri stories you find here have been created using more customized apps that require the use of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. As a result, some of the examples don’t have a corresponding downloadable template, but as these become available you’ll find them via the Download story templates link under Resources & links on the right side of the page.

The template download includes all source code for the applications, but you don’t need to be a JavaScript programmer to use these. Simple edits to the index.html file will get you on your way (we’ll cover this in more detail in future posts). Once your edits have been completed, you can deploy the story application from your own servers.

Search for more on ArcGIS Online

You can find a variety of other templates by searching ArcGIS Online items or groups. Many of the shared story map items includes links to download the application template:

Use these storytelling templates to unlock the hidden story in your maps! For more information visit:

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Leave a Reply


  1. rbrong says:

    Thanks…great topic. Been interested in this ever since I saw the San Diego quicklist storymap while at the UC.

  2. says:

    This is exactly what i am looking for. I am brand new to ArcGIS and don’t really know how to use it yet, but have a project about riding a train that I think fits this category. Hoping to find out more.

  3. burkerf says:

    Story maps application and arcgisonline seem to crash a lot. Is this common? I’m having issues with not being able to save and spending more time with customer service then map creation.

    • Bern Szukalski says:

      Robert –
      Storymaps and ArcGIS Online should not be crashing for you. But without more information there is little that I can offer. I’m assuming your bandwidth is good, and that there isn’t anything going on with your corporate firewall that might be causing issues. If both are ok, then I’d start by looking at your browser – try clearing cache, try another browser, etc.

      A better place to go for help is the ArcGIS Online forum:

      And also the Story Maps forum:

      You cans also go to the support page to chat with an analyst:

      - Bern

      Both are monitored by Esri staff, and also the user community. Should you post there, more specifics would be useful, such as:
      - what browser and version are you using?
      - what are you doing when you experience a crash?
      - by crash, what exactly do you mean? Is it browser failure, or a non-functioning application?
      - what are you doing when you experience issues?
      - what story maps are you having problems with?

  4. fsolkowski says:

    This is a great overview for storymaps. Any chance there’s more in-depth training to make super snazzy story maps?

    • Bern Szukalski says:

      Story maps continue to rapidly evolve, and each one is just a bit different. With that in mind the best place to find help or tips on “super snazzy” one is the blog here, and also at

      A collection of tutorials and videos is planned, so stay tuned. If there is a specific topic you would like to see covered, please comment here.
      - bern

  5. Rob Shankman says:

    Once I have a storymap that I like and want to use it as a template withing our own agency for other projects how can I do this? I don not see a copy function or a way to publish a storymap as a template for others to use. Thanks