Disable StoryMaps Cover

07-14-2022 05:56 AM
Status: Open
Labels (2)
Occasional Contributor


I have a number of StoryMaps that use the old classic templates that I would like to transition to the new StoryMaps. These classic StoryMaps are used as interactive displays in a museum (see here for one of the story maps) and attached for picture of the displays in our museum.

Now that swipe maps and story navigation has been added to ArcGIS StoryMap, I would like to recreate these classic apps in the new builder. But I am worried that having a cover may distract from the content of the StoryMap (or miss it all together). I would like to just display the content of the StoryMap without a cover, so that the navigation links are displayed directly under the title bar.

I don't believe publishing a StoryMap without a cover is supported at the moment, but it would be great to have an option with ArcGIS StoryMaps to disable the cover.

Thank you for the consideration!



There was a way of disabling the cover when using collections. I did this a while back for some test stories but I don't know if this is still available (guess it is): in the Collection builder, click the gear of the story and toggle 'Hide story cover'.

See this: Removing the Cover in Story Maps.


If you are not using a collection just add ?cover=false to the story url as explained here: Remove Header from Story Map Builder.


Thanks for providing that great answer @AGP!

@nspittlemeister_LCFPD -- Since your situation is a museum, I think the URL parameter option should work since your story will always be shown in a controlled environment rather than shared on the web.

However, if neither of those options work for your situation please let us know so we can keep this idea open. We have talked about adding a "No cover" option to the design panel in the story builder, but there are a few considerations we need to work through because we still need a place for authors to at least provide a title so the story has a name.


Thank you @AGP  and @OwenGeo for your help with this! This is great and yes, the URL parameter should work for us in the museum.


While adding a URL parameter is an ok workaround sometimes, it seems silly to be forced to have a cover for a 1 panel story map. You will also have to remember to add the parameter every time someone asks you for a link. People will find ways of accessing the map through your ArcGIS Online page or somewhere else and will be sent to the default link and met with a full screen cover page which could be confusing. Adding an option of "None" next to "Minimal", "Side-by-Side" and "Full" seems pretty simple.

Until that is added I don't consider this a good way to migrate a Shortlist from the old Story Maps to the new. If there is another quick and easy alternative for creating a Shortlist style app without using the Classic Story Maps that would be great.


@mthompson -- Thanks for adding your feedback on this idea! We have discussed adding a "no cover" option and have this on our list of possible features to add in the future.

You're right that it would be relatively simple to just hide the cover, but there are a few questions we have about that approach. It would be great to hear your thoughts on these to help us evaluate this enhancement request:

  • Will there be enough context for readers when they open your story if there is no cover? They will only see the story title in the header and then will be dropped right into your story. If you could share more information about your specific scenario and how you expect your story to be used that would be helpful for us to understand your needs.
  • It sounds like you have a story with just a single map tour in it. Would you expect the map tour (or sidecar) scrolling to behave any differently if there was no cover?

For other alternatives to the classic Shortlist, you can check out the offerings from ArcGIS Instant Apps, such as Attachment Viewer, or ArcGIS Experience Builder for making single-panel/single-page type apps.


Thank you @OwenGeo, my main goal is having an alternative to the classic Shortlist or Map Tour style apps since those seem to be going away. A simple, quick to set up web app that displays a list of features (with basic info like name and short description) that you can click on to pan around to them and get more details. These are great for displaying groups of projects/locations to citizens and letting them choose which one they are interested in based on either the list or the map.

In the Moving to ArcGIS StoryMaps article, the Explorer Map Tour element of the new StoryMaps is listed as the way to migrate, it seems to work very similar, however having a cover sort of ruins this as an option if it is acting as a standalone app. It would help if you could add a little more context to the header bar similar to those older apps, but having the actual app be hidden upon visiting the URL would probably be confusing/annoying for some folks.

Experience Builder seems great but it is a bit more complex to get up and running, especially if you need to go off-template. There seem to be a lot of "gallery" type templates across the various app builders but they all point to bookmarks or groups of maps/apps instead of being able to automatically list features from a layer. I could be missing something though since I haven't tried all of them!

Attachment Viewer seems to fit pretty closely (I hadn't thought about those old apps being image focused but they sort of are). A bit more customization like numbering and labeling on the attachment images with corresponding label/number on the map points would be nice.

Thank you!


I would like to upvote this idea multiple times. I made myself use the new StoryMap Builder for a project and cringed every time I demoed it because you must first scroll down at least half a page before you see any of the content. People will lose interest and navigate away. That's why I still love the classic, one-page templates like Series and Shortlist that have a short title bar and got right to the content. 

I agree with @mthompson: cover-eliminating url parameters will be forgotten or people will stumble upon your story in unintended setups (like through the AGO item). 

I've spent two days wrestling with Experience Builder to try and replicate the classic Series template for our election results and was just about to give up and use the classic template again when I thought I'd look to see if I could remove the cover on the new storymaps yet. 

Some related issues: please allow sidebar blank areas to be hidden (as this is the first thing that's seen if you hide the cover with url parameters) and/or allow a map to be added to the "side-by-side" cover design to get around the sidecar starting with a huge blank space at the top


Hi @ChelseaRozek -- Thanks for sharing this feedback! We are still considering a no-cover option, but from what you are describing it sounds like you may be looking more for an "app" than a "story," so perhaps ArcGIS StoryMaps is not the right tool for you at this time?

Esri has many great apps for you to use to create simple, one-page experiences if that is what you are looking for including all the great Instant Apps as well as Dashboards, ArcGIS Solutions apps, Experience Builder, and many others.

You are correct that ArcGIS StoryMaps provides a different experience than some of the classic storytelling templates, and this is intentional. The goal of the ArcGIS StoryMaps product evolved from its origins with the classic templates just as its design and capabilities evolved. Its purpose is to help you tell stories that present your maps and geographic content along with the context needed to understand them. Stories generally have a beginning, middle, and an end, so when you need to create a longer-form product, ArcGIS StoryMaps is the right choice.

There are many situations where a simpler, one-page app is what you need or want, and in those cases we'd encourage you to use one of the many other great ArcGIS apps mentioned above. If you have ideas for new apps or enhancements to existing apps, please share them on the Instant Apps ideas board.

When migrating an older app that you created using one of the classic storytelling templates the tool you use to create the new version of that may or may not be ArcGIS StoryMaps. For example, see these articles about migrating classic Series templates:

This article also has some tips on recreating classic templates:



@OwenGeo Along the lines of disabling the cover using the URL parameters, is there the ability to disable the More Actions button in the header and also keep the header visible? We are putting our story map in a museum display and don't want patrons to click the links in More Actions to navigate off of the story. Thank you!


Hi @OwenGeo 

You mention several times that in the effort to recreate the Shortlist it might be better suited as an Instant App because it is a single page, and I understand that and it makes sense, it doesn't really matter to me which place it falls under, a template set up for the Shortlist in ANY of the Web App Builder, Experience Builder, or Story Maps is needed.