Introduction to the Story Creation Platform in LiveStories

Watch Our Introductory Video on New Stories


LiveStories Introduces a New Story Building Tool

How to Migrate an Existing Story

How to Start a New Story

Choose a Template

The Cover


Types of Sections

Manipulating Sections

The Story Action Button

The Footer

LiveStories Introduces a New Story Building Tool

Beginning August 18, 2016, a new story building tool will replace the familiar LiveStories system.  The new tool is more modern in design, easier to use, and easier to integrate with new and upcoming internet technologies.  All new stories will be created with the new tool, and all existing stories, if you need to edit them, must migrate to the new platform.  Legacy stories can remain as they are indefinitely unless you wish to edit them.

How to Migrate an Existing Story

When you first open a story that was created using the original story tool, you will be asked if you wish to migrate your story to the new system.  If you choose to migrate, a copy of your story will be made and converted to the new story platform.  The original story will remain in your account until you choose to delete it. You may need to go in and tweak a few things in your converted stories, but a simple story shouldn’t change much.  If you don't like the way your story looks in the new system, the original version will still be in your account, but you will not be able to edit it any longer.

If your story has custom sections, (almost always these were made by LiveStories designers for a specific story in the past), the story will not be able to be converted to the new system.  However, the will always be available to read.

How to Start a New Story

To use the new story tool, click on the LiveStories Action menu (the red plus sign), then choose the story icon at the very top.

New Stories - The Create Story button on the menu page brings up a Template Options screen. Select PREVIEW to quickly see a sample of the template. Some, like Data Card, are short, one-item cards. Others are longer stories. There is also a Blank Slate option, where you can start from scratch and design your story from the ground up.



Choose a template and click Preview to see the template layout.  You can accept the template from within the preview, or accept one directly from the template screen. 

Cloning - Sometimes you may wish to clone an existing story. This allows you to make a copy you can then alter to build stories with identical formats. Cloning a story is an option on the drop-down menu on the upper right corner of the story tile. Only published stories can be cloned.  The clone will copy that last published version of the story.

The Cover

To choose an image for the cover, click anywhere on the cover. You will be prompted to upload a file from your computer. You can also change the text provided on the cover. To set the font of this text, use the Font command described below.

(Note: to change the title used for LiveStories navigation and search, see the Control Panel section below.)


A story consists of an unlimited number of sections. Sections are demarcated by black lines when the story is in Edit Mode; these lines disappear in the published version.

Most templates come with a collection of sections. You can also add new sections with the black “plus” button that appears alongside your mouse pointer. Simply click this button and choose a type of section to add it to your story. A section can contain text, image, chart, video, button, spacer, ESRI map, or filter. (Note the slider to see more options.)



Types of Sections

Text sections contain just text. Selecting some text will bring up a formatting menu bar.

Once you select some text, the text bar allows you to choose bold, italics, hyperlink, right justify, or center your selection.  The [ “ ] command turns the selection into a quotation. The H1, H2, and H3 commands allow you to format your text as headings. If you decide you don’t like the formatting you have chosen, the [X] at the end of the bar removes all formatting.
Stories are designed so that the entire document uses just one font.  You can choose from several story-wide fonts using the Story Action button, in the bottom right corner of the screen.


Image sections hold image files. Choosing a new image section prompts you to browse your computer to upload an image. JPEG and PNG formats are supported. The message box will also ask you to add a Caption or Alt textAlt text refers to the description to be read aloud by software that interprets websites for the blind. The Link URL turns your whole image into a hyperlink.


Chart sections hold LiveStories charts. Adding a chart section prompts you to either create a new chart or choose an existing chart from a dashboard. Once inserted in a story, a chart can be edited and saved.


Video sections hold videos. Embed a video by copying the video’s URL and pasting it into the field. LiveStories supports YouTube and Vimeo videos.


Button sections are basically a way to draw attention to links. Add the text on the button itself and the URL for the site you’d like it to link to. (Be sure to include the HTTP:// part of the URL.) Buttons can link to another story. By placing several buttons in a horizontal line, you can create a simple navigation menu between multiple stories, but not within the story.



Spacer sections are blank expanses. Adjust their height to add some white space to your story. 

ESRI Map sections embed maps created by ESRI software. Add a map’s embed code to embed it.

Filter sections create a story-wide data filter setting. Once you insert a filter, you can edit it to choose the dataset behind the charts you would like it to control. Then, select the column you would like to filter.


 (Note: You can add a filter section only if your story contains a filterable chart.)

If you want some of your charts to be static and NOT respond to the filter, be sure to select “ignore universal filter” as an option when editing the chart.



Manipulating Sections       

Sections appear and disappear as you move content in and out of them. If you pick up an object, like a photo, and drag it to be alongside a second photo, a new section will appear to contain it.


Resizing - Each section automatically takes the whole length of the field, unless something is adjacent to it. Sections can be resized vertically by moving the bottom border up and down. Sections can be resized horizontally by dragging the border bars left and right.


Moving - To move an item in section, just grab it anywhere with your mouse (left click and hold).  Text inside sections is a special case because clicking on text generally highlights it.  To move a block of text, hover over the text block with your mouse; its move handle appears as a circle in the upper right corner.


Arranging - To arrange sections into side-by-side columns, grab the section), then drag it to the far left or right side of another section.  A light blue box will appear to indicate where to drop the dragged section. You can arrange sections to make a maximum of four columns.  If you have four columns, they will all be a fixed with; the workspace can only be divided by four.


Deleting - To delete a section, grab it with the mouse and drag it to the lower-right action button, which will transform into a trash can.  Be sure to move your mouse cursor directly over the trash can if you want to delete the section being dragged.  (This prevents inadvertent deletions while moving sections around.)


The Story Action Button

The Story Action button in the lower-right works as a menu. Selecting it brings up the following options:



The options are, in order from top to bottom:

Control Panel allows you to control how the story cover appears, to set the story’s internal name and description, and to control social media sharing options. You can hide the whole cover, something you might wish to do if you are making a flier, for example.  You can also hide the cover text, or make it pop by placing a shadow behind it.


Font Options is a slider that lets you choose one of seven font styles, on a spectrum from casual to formal. The style you choose will be used throughout the entire story.


Color Options lets you set the color for the backgrounds and fonts for buttons, for the font texts, for the links, for the story title and for the quotations.  It is no longer possible to change the background color of story sections.


Preview and Publish show you the final product. Preview will open a new window and show you what the new story will look like, including all the interactive features. Publish will offer you the choice to download your story as a PDF, or to assign to it a web URL that will be visible to anyone with the link. There are three levels of publishing security:

  • Public: Publish and list on Google.
  • Private: Publish but hide from search engines. Only people who have the link will be able to see the story.
  • Secure: Assign a 4-6 digit passcode so that only people with the URL and the passcode will be able to see the story.


The Footer

The footer, at the very bottom of the story, presents your organization to readers. The footer automatically includes a link to your LiveStories Team name, logo, and chosen website. These details are set in the Team settings on your LiveStories Account.  The LiveStories information will also appear in the footer unless your account includes the Custom Branding option.

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