Highlights on Instagram: how to make, add covers/icons, background stories


Instagram Hot Stories is a section where you can save your most important stories. They will be available to subscribers all the time until you remove them from your profile. It’s like a menu on a website – commercial profiles save in Highlights information about delivery, prices, F.A.Q., bloggers post themed collections of storis, experts post instructions, webinar recordings.

We’ve prepared for you a comprehensive guide to current storis – how to add a story to a section, how to make a cover, how to change it and what to put in highlights.

What are the pros of Highlights

Why bother with topical at all, making any covers? Let’s explain:

  • Highlights on Instagram don’t disappear after 24 hours like regular storis-they hang in your profile until you delete them yourself;
  • Highlights can be viewed over and over again;
  • Highlights are in a prominent place – between the profile description and the feed of posts;
  • Highlights can replace your website;
    picks help you avoid the same questions in Directa – just post the answers in the topical.

Sections from highlights storis

What to post in Highlights – selections of photos and videos (e.g., holiday and party storis, family storis), product photos, customer information (delivery, availability, prices), instructions and tips, portfolios, Q&As, excerpts from lectures.

Let’s look at examples of specific accounts – what highlighters should be depending on the type of profile (bloggers, experts, company accounts, personal, portfolio).

Important: Everything in a profile should be organic and highlighters are not an exception. Ideally, the icons should be in the same style and not out of place.


What kind of picks to create for bloggers – picks according to the direction of the blogger. (A food blogger can post recipes, a beauty blogger can post cosmetics selections, a viner can post themed selections with vines, folders with their interests (sports, hobbies, favorite movies), folders with parties, travels, meet the fans.

Bloggers can get creative with names so that you won’t know it’s in the highlites, for example blogger Xenia has such folders – “Dove”, “Humor”, “Back and forth”, “Chatter”. Experts and company accounts can not afford such a thing, unless their work is related to creativity.


What kind of stuff for experts – a collection of events, testimonials, a folder with info on trainings/books, a folder of personal achievements, travel, a collection of their quotes, a folder with info about who you are.

Company accounts


What selections to create for company accounts – product catalogs, answers to customer questions (F.A.Q.), folders with information on prices and delivery, customer reviews, opening hours, events and company news.

Personal profile

There are no specific standards for a personal profile; you can look up bloggers’ highlighters for inspiration.

What collections to create for personal accounts – themed collections of photos and videos: storis from travel, meetings, events, clothing images, food preferences, a folder with pets, family storis.

Portfolio Account

These are accounts of photographers, designers, artists, illustrators. It makes sense to create a selection of work broken down into categories. For example, if you’re a photographer, you can make highlighters “Wedding Photos,” “Family Photo Session,” “Master Classes. It’s also worth posting at least one selection about yourself, so that subscribers not only get to know your work, but also get to know you more as a person.

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How to add a story to the actual Instagram

Stories can be posted to the actual using the “Add” button below your profile. But initially this button is not there, so the first time storis is added through the menu in the story itself.

So, first you need to publish a storis. Then you open the published story and click on “Highlight” in the lower right corner between “Share” and “More” buttons. The tooltip “Highlight to keep content on your profile for more than 24 hours” will pop up.

We will be prompted to add the storis to the actual one. By default, the icon will be a fragment of the storis, and below it will be a field “Actual”, where you have to write your name, for example, “Important”, “F.A.Q”, “Delivery”. When you have named a selection, press “Add. You can immediately see it in the profile, or just click “Done.

Now we have an “Add” button. Even if we delete the current one, the button remains.

Now with this button you can create a set of actual stories. Click “Add” and select one or more stories from the archive, then click “Next”. We will see the familiar menu, where you need to write the name of the selection and add the cover art.

P.S. Save stories to the archive automatically to make it easier to move them to the current one. You can set it up once – open any story, click “More – History Settings” and in the “Save” section move the slider to the “On” position next to the “Save to archive” item.

There’s also a third easiest way to add a story to highlighters – when your storis is ready, click “Recipients”, then click the blue “Send” button next to “Your Story”. The “Where else to share” – “Add to topical” item will appear. Select it.

Important to know:

  • The size of the covers for the actual Instagram story: 1080 x 1920 pixels or 1242 x 2208;
  • title can hold 16 characters, but it’s better to make a shorter title;
  • Instagram does not yet allow you to change the order of the actual stories.


Cover design of actual stories in Instagram: icons and backgrounds

Here are 4 ways to create the covers of actual posts in the same style.

Using the standard editor

This is the easiest and fastest way to make a cover – create static storis (select “Create”). Make a monochrome background of the storis. Then go to stickers and click on the “GIF” sticker.

Write the name of the icon, for example, “Shop”. Choose an appropriate gif and put it in the center of storis. You can slightly enlarge it.

Создание иконок для актуального в Инстаграм

The content of the cover (title or icon) should be placed in the center of the vertical picture, so that it will eventually fit in the center of the circle. When the picture is completely ready, save the story to the gallery or publish it as a normal Instagram storis.

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How to put the obtained picture into the cover of Highlights (2 variants):

  • If you saved the cover as a picture in the gallery, then add through editing the covers (below we will write how).
  • If you saved it as a still image, then create a new set in actual and add there just created stills from the archive. The cover art will automatically be substituted from the added story.

Creating icons for actual stories in Canva

To register, go to canva.com homepage and activate a 30 day free period. Later you can cancel it and use the service for free! It’s much more convenient to create covers here. We show 2 options:

1. From scratch. We create a blank white canvas of 1080 x 1920 pixels. Fill the background with color.

Or choose a background picture in the “Background” section.

The background is ready, you can add an icon or an inscription. The inscription is added through the Text tool.

If you need an icon, then go to “Elements” and write the name of the icon, for example “Delivery”.

Adding. If necessary, enlarge and change color. Save the image in jpg or png format.

Important: select icons for covers in the same style.

2. from the template. Open the “Instagram Story” section.

Find a template with a suitable background, or go straight to the subsection “Cover of the actual story” – this option is preferable, as in it all the elements are already arranged correctly, nothing will not be cropped and will not go out of bounds.

The good thing about this subsection is that each template has 5 cover versions in one style – you just have to replace the text and icons. You can take one template from the set or all 5.

Replace the text with your own and save the picture.

Как оформить раздел с актуальными сторис

If you choose a different template (not from the sub-section with highlightes), then you need to remove all unnecessary elements and replace the text / add an icon.

Красивые иконки для закреплённых историй

In general, any handy editor will do, not just Canva.


Make the design of actual storis in an app

There are special apps for creating covers. Go to the marketplace (App Store or Google Play) and write “Instagram covers” or “Highlights Instagram”. For example, let’s take the StoryLight app.

It has ready-made icon sets in different styles – neon, minimalist, boho, chalkboard. True, the ready-made sets are paid, but you can make covers from scratch in the app. To create a cover, click “Create”.

приложения для создания обложек

First, you adjust the background – the “Background” button. You can choose a ready-made color from the offered ones – the palette is quite wide.

Фон обложки

You can also pick up the hue manually with the sliders or choose a background from the ready-made selection of pictures.

When you have decided on a background, add a frame or a shape – the “Frame” button.  This step is optional, but it will decorate your cover. Frames in three different styles.

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Создаём иконку

You can change the color of the frame by clicking on the lectern icon. The icon can be moved, enlarged/reduced and deleted (the cross in the upper left corner). Next, you need to add an icon or text – “Sticker” or “Text”. In stickers ready icon sets, as we said, some are paid, but there are many free ones.

Иконка для закреплённой истории

When everything is ready, we press “Save” and voila – the picture can be sent to Facebook/Watsapp, or you can send it directly to the post and then use it for the highlighter. And all the pictures are saved in a special folder created by the app.

Как правильно оформить актуальное в Инстаграм

Created icons can be found in the “Saved” section.

Download or buy ready-made picture/template/set with icons for the highlights

1 option is to download. If you do not claim to be original and you are not too worried about the uniqueness of the covers, you can just download ready-made pictures from the Internet – go to Google images and write “Highlights Instagram” or “Covers for storis” (try different variants of the keyword). Choose the right one and shamelessly download.

Скачать иконки для актуального

You can also look for covers on Pinterest.

Обложки для актуального на пинтерест

The second option is to download/buy a Photoshop PSD template. Find it by requesting “Instagram Highlight Covers Template PSD”.

Instagram Highlight Covers Template PSD

But mostly they sell sets with icons in jpg format. Icons for all tastes and colors can be found on the iconfinder site – it’s such a “search engine” for icons, there are almost 5 million of them in the library. There are many free ones. The icons are divided into categories.

сеты с иконками

How to add/modify the cover of highlights

When we first create a set of topicals, the cover is automatically set, but you can change it later. To do this, go to the created folder.

The stopis opens. Before it closes, click on “More” in the lower right corner. In the popup window, click “Edit Current”.

Here you can change the folder name and cover art. Click “Edit cover”.

Click on the gallery icon and choose the specially created cover we want to put up.

If we want to remove storis from the current one, click “Remove from current” in the same menu in the popup window. In other words, you can not only delete the entire collection, but also individual posts in it. For example, if you have a folder with products, and one is discontinued, you can remove a storis with it from the actual, without removing the entire folder.


Instagram can replace your website if you set up your actual storis folders properly: structure them, decorate them nicely and keep them updated – delete irrelevant folders or outdated storis, add new ones there.

And they can also help relieve the burden on the person who answers the questions in Direct, if you put in the highlighters answers to frequently asked questions and other relevant information for subscribers. In the end, you can simply save particularly expensive storis and give subscribers the opportunity to review them.

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