How To Make Instagram Highlight Covers In Canva (Step By Step)

Last Updated:

With the help of Canva, you can create Instagram highlight covers that match your own aesthetic and branding to help your Instagram page look more professional. With a wide array of templates and customization options inside Canva, you can make a set of unique and cohesive highlight covers in just a couple of minutes.

First impressions only come once, and highlight covers are the best way to make a great first impression. This guide will teach you how to make highlight covers with icons and text. Once your covers are complete, you’ll learn how to upload them to your Instagram story.

What Size Are Instagram Highlight Covers? 

The recommended size for an Instagram highlight cover is 1080 x 1920, which is the same as the Instagram story size. However, only a portion of the design is visible on the highlight cover, so remember to keep the crucial icon and/or text in the center of the design.

If you want to start from scratch in Canva, you can select Custom Size on the main page, then type 1080 under Width and 1920 under Height

Click Create new design to open a new blank design, where you can start your highlight cover from scratch. 

This is one way to start your highlight cover, but not the recommended way. It’s much easier to start with a template. I’ll cover how to do this right now. 

How To Design Instagram Highlight Covers In Canva 

Since Instagram is a diverse place and everyone’s taste and style are different, it’s impossible to show you how to design the exact cover you are after. Some people want bold and bright colors, while others prefer pastel tones; you may want a modern feel or prefer a retro and old-school look. Use these steps as a guide for the technical aspect of creating the covers, but use your creativity to design something that matches your Instagram page and story style.

Step 1: Choose Your Template 

The best way to find a highlight cover template is to use the search bar on the main page of Canva. Type in “Instagram Story Highlight Cover,” and you will find hundreds of highlight cover templates.

You also have the choice to create a highlight cover from scratch by selecting the “blank Instagram story highlight cover.” 

If you want to make things easier for yourself, choose one of the many templates available. Avoid the templates with the Crown Icon if you’re not a Canva Pro user. 

There are two kinds of highlight cover templates to choose from: a template with a single image on the cover or multiple pictures on the cover. 

When you open the highlight cover template with the single image, you’ll find between 3 to 6 different covers to customize. 

If you choose the highlight cover template with multiple images, you’ll find 12 different covers you can choose from to customize. 

Step 2: Change The Icon

Now that your template is set up, it’s time to customize it to fit your theme. 

To find the perfect elements for your highlight cover, click the Elements Tab and type in the theme you’re looking for in the Search Bar. Click on Graphics to only see graphics. 

To make your search a little easier, click the Options button to the right of the search bar to help you cut down your options. 

  • Orientation – This is optional, but Canva will present you with more icon-type graphics by checking on Square. This doesn’t work all of the time, and it depends on the theme you’re searching for. It’s worth a try, though. 
  • Animation – Set this option to Static, so you don’t have to deal with videos or gifs during your search. 
  • Price – If you’re not a Canva Pro user, check on Free to only be presented with free graphics you can use. 

Click Apply Filters to set the limits for the search.

Once you find the perfect icon to use, click it to add it to your canvas. 

To replace the old icon in the template, select it to bring up the Mini Options Bar and click on the trash can. Or press the Delete Key

Next, adjust the size of your new icon using the corner handles. 

With your icon in place, you will likely want to change its color. 

To change your icon’s color, select it, then click on the color picker. You will be presented with a list of colors you can choose from. 

If you want your icon to match your background, you can use the Eyedropper Tool

To find the Eyedropper Tool, click on the Add A New Color button and then select the Eyedropper Tool. Using the Eyedropper, click the background to change the color of your icon to the color of the background. 

Canva has so many elements that you can search for anything and find a good icon to use for your story highlight cover. 

Another classic way to make a highlight cover is to use text. 

Click on the Text Tab to open your text options. You’ll have three text options: Add A Heading, Add A Subheading and add A Little Bit Of Body Text. You can also press T to add a little bit of body text quickly.

Double-click inside the text block to add your text. Then, resize the text block to your liking. Remember to delete the template icon if it doesn’t match your design.

With your text in the right size and place, you can change the font to one that best fits your project. To do this, select the text block, then click on the Font Menu. Pick out the best font for your project. 

There is so much more you can do with your text, such as highlight text, create curved text, or create some vertical text.

Step 3: Change The Background

With the icon of your highlight cover finished and set in place, it’s time to change the background. 

To change the color of your background, select it, then click on the Color Picker. You can choose any of the Document Colors or the Default Colors

Or, just like before, you can change the color of the background to the color of your icon. Select the background, click the Add A New Color button and use the Eyedropper Tool on the icon itself. This will match your background with the icon. 

You can also make a more complicated background for your highlight cover to try and stand out. 

First, under the Elements Tab, search for something related to the theme of your highlight cover. Click on the Photos tab to narrow your search to photos alone. 

Click on the photo that works best for you to add it to your canvas. 

Align the photo into the corner of your canvas. Then use the corner and side handles to stretch the picture over the entire canvas. 

Once you get the photo to fill up the entire background, you can then send it to the background by selecting the Position button, then clicking the Backward button or pressing Control + [ (Win) or Command + [ (Mac). 

You can take your background one step further by adding a color scheme that matches the rest of the highlight covers on your Instagram page. 

First, under the Elements Tab, find a photo with the color or gradient you need for your theme. Click on it to add it to your canvas, then resize it to cover your entire canvas. 

Now, you need to adjust the transparency to blend the color or gradient into your image. 

Click the Transparency button and adjust the slider until you have the perfect blend of your color/gradient and the background image. 

Once you feel like you have the perfect blend, send the color/gradient backward, just like you did before with the background image. 

The last thing you can do is have your text match the rest of the image by selecting it, then clicking the Font Color button. 

To match your text with the rest of the image, choose one of the colors from the color/gradient layer. 

Since Instagram is a place to express yourself, be sure to create your highlight covers in a way that matches your style. For my story covers, I wanted to create earthy covers that all match and have a similar aesthetic. Using the various methods above, I created the following covers to add to my page.

How To Upload A Highlight Cover From Canva To Instagram 

Once your highlight covers are good to go, the next step is to upload them onto Instagram. First, click the Share button and then the Share On Social button. 

From your social media choices, choose either Instagram Business or Instagram Personal, depending on where you want to upload your highlight covers.

Once the image is uploaded to your Instagram story, you need to add it to one of your existing highlights or create a new highlight with it. You can do this by clicking the Highlight button while viewing your story, then choosing your highlight option of choice.

Once the cover is added to a highlight, go to your profile and click on the highlight you added it to view the highlight. Click the More icon and choose Edit Highlight.

Now click Edit Cover and choose the new highlight cover that you just added to your story.

After you rinse and repeat these steps with your other stories, you’re now left with customized highlight covers on your profile!


  • 100+ million premium stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics
  • 610,000+ premium and free templates with new designs added daily
  • Up to 100 Brand Kits to establish your brand's identity online
  • Remove image backgrounds instantly with Background Remover
  • Resize designs without quality loss with Magic Resize
  • Schedule social media content to 8 platforms
  • 1TB of cloud storage
  • 24/7 customer support

Photo of author
I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

Continue Reading:

How To Use The Marquee Tool In Photoshop

Learn how to use the Marquee Tool in Photoshop to crop layers, create basic selections, add selective adjustments, and more with ease.

How To Crop A Layer In Photoshop (3 Simple Methods)

If you're struggling to figure out how to crop a layer in Photoshop, you're not alone. Fortunately, there are a few easy (not so obvious) methods to help you crop a single layer in Photoshop.

How To Fill A Selection In Photoshop (5 Best Ways)

Learn how to fill anything in Photoshop from selections, shapes, and text with solid color, gradients, and even images!

What Are Embedded Previews In Lightroom + How To Use Them

Use this guide to help you understand the use of embedded previews in Lightroom along with tips to help you use them in your workflow.

Adobe Lightroom System Requirements For Mac & PC

Here's a breakdown of the system requirements for Adobe Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC to make sure it will run smoothly on your computer.

How To Add A Watermark In Lightroom Classic & CC

Learn how to add a text or graphic watermark to a photo in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC to protect your photos from theft.

How To Outline An Image In Canva

Learn how to outline anything in Canva from outlining images, shapes, text, designs, and more with a few easy steps.

How To Add A Border In Canva (To Images, Shapes & Text!)

Learn how to easily add a border to your designs, images, shapes, and text in Canva using these step by step techniques.

How To Make A Background Transparent In Canva

Learn how to create and export images with transparent backgrounds in Canva to open up more design options and creative styles.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments