Instagram carousel posts are one of the most engaging formats on social media right now.

Hootsuite’s own social media team finds that, on average, their carousel posts get 1.4x more reach and 3.1x more engagement than regular posts on Instagram.

The temptation to swipe left, it seems, is hard to resist—especially when there’s a persuasive cover slide. Give your followers the chance to stop doomscrolling and start swoonscrolling with thumb-stopping carousel posts.

Bonus: Get 5 free, customizable Instagram carousel templates and start creating beautifully designed content for your feed now.

What is an Instagram carousel post?

An Instagram carousel is a post with multiple photos or videos that can be viewed by swiping or clicking left. Up to 10 images or videos can be added and shared as a single post on the feed.

Just like any other Instagram post, you can include a caption, alt-image text, a geotag, and account and product tags on each image in your carousel. People can like, comment, and share your carousel post, just like any other.

When a carousel is published, a small icon appears in the upper right corner. As someone flips to the second image, the icon is replaced with a counter that indicates the number of frames. Small dots also appear at the bottom of a post to mark progress through the carousel.

Why choose an Instagram carousel? Give your brand the “magazine treatment” with double-slide spreads, close-ups, and shots from different angles. Provide step-by-step guide instructions or parse out information. Build intrigue and unveil a surprise or before and afters. Or use the format to convey scale.

Instagram carousel size and requirements

Much like a regular post, Instagram carousel can be published in square, landscape, and portrait formats.

But keep in mind that all posts must be uniform. Whatever shape you choose for the first slide will apply to the rest of the frames, too.

Instagram carousel sizes:

  • Landscape: 1080 x 566 pixels
  • Portrait: 1080 x 1350 pixels
  • Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: landscape (1.91:1), square (1:1), vertical (4:5)
  • Recommended image size: Width of 1080 pixels, height between 566 and 1350 pixels (depending on whether the image is landscape or portrait)

Instagram video carousel specs:

  • Length: 3 to 60 seconds
  • Recommended formats include .MP4 and .MOV
  • Aspect ratios: landscape (1.91:1), square (1:1), vertical (4:5)
  • Maximum video size: 4GB

Don’t be afraid to post a mix of videos and images.

Find up-to-date social media image size requirements here.

How to create an Instagram carousel post

When it comes to creating an Instagram carousel post, it’s best to start with a concept. Determine why the carousel is the best fit for your content, instead of a standard post, collage post, video, or Instagram story.

With this question answered, you’ll likely have a good sense of the type of content you plan to use. Sketch out a storyboard to get an idea of how many frames you’ll need. Decide if your carousel will jump from one image to the next, or have a continuous, panoramic effect.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The Food Issue of @enroutemag looks a little different in 2020. Our annual cross-country trip to discover Canada’s Best New Restaurants couldn’t happen this year, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating the country’s inspiring and innovative culinary industry. We also journey to Morocco’s saffron country and set out on a food odyssey in County Clare, Ireland. Plus, actor @menamassoud dishes on his new book, Evolving Vegan, and food designer @amandahuynh shows us how she packs for far-flung design trips. Check out the link in our bio to dig in. // Le spécial Gourmand de @enroutemag est un peu différent en 2020. Notre recherche pancanadienne des Meilleurs nouveaux restos canadiens n’a pas eu lieu, mais cela ne nous a pas empêchés de célébrer l’industrie culinaire du pays, plus inspirante et plus innovante que jamais. Nous nous transportons également en terre de safran, au Maroc, et partons en périple gastronomique dans le comté de Clare, en Irlande. En plus, l’acteur @menamassoud nous parle de son nouveau livre Evolving Vegan, et la designer culinaire @amandahuynh nous montre ce qu’elle apporte dans ses voyages pour le boulot. Consultez le lien dans notre bio pour vous mettre l’eau à la bouche. 📸 : @francoisollivier

A post shared by Air Canada enRoute (@enroutemag) on Sep 24, 2020 at 1:21pm PDT

Here’s how to make a carousel post on Instagram:

1. Add all relevant photos to your photo library.

2. Open the Instagram app and click the + icon from the navigation bar.

3. Tap Library in the lower left.

4. Tap Select Multiple, located in the bottom right of the image preview window.

5. Select up to 10 photos in videos in the order that you would like them to appear.

Select up to 10 photos or videos in order of appearance

6. Tap Next. If desired, apply filters or edits to each frame. Tap on the photo to open Edit tools. When finished, or to skip this step, tap Next.

7. Add your caption, geo-tag, account tags, and product tags. Swipe through to tag the appropriate photo.

8. Tap Share.

Tip: Double check to make sure all your frames are in the correct order before you publish. You can’t reorder or delete single slides after you share.

Instagram carousel templates

Want to take your carousels beyond “ten pictures from the same vacation”? Start by customizing one of our five free, professionally designed Instagram carousel templates in Canva.

1. Get access to the templates by clicking the link below:

Bonus: Get 5 free, customizable Instagram carousel templates and start creating beautifully designed content for your feed now.

Instagram carousel templates in Canva

2. Above is the first page you will see upon opening the template URL. Click Use Template

Select use template on Canva

3. This page will open. All templates are shown. Choose one.

Choose from selection of templates

4. You can swap in any photo by clicking Uploads in the side menu and clicking Upload an image or video and selecting whatever image you want off of your machine. Once the image is uploaded, just drag and drop from the menu into the frame you want the image to replace.

Swap in photos by clicking Uploads on side menu

5. Change the text boxes by selecting the text and pasting in the new copy you want in your post. Using the circles on the corners of the textbox. You can make the box taller or shorter as necessary. Text color, underline, font options, size options, font alignment and line spacing options appear above when a text box is selected. Highlighted in this screenshot is where you can change text color.

Change text box and formatting options in Canva

6. Selected above is where you can change the font size.

Change font size

7. Selected above is the font type.

Font type Canva

8. If you click on the template background, you can change the background color by clicking the colored square beside animate in the top menu and color swatches will appear on the left menu.

Change background color by clicking colored square beside animate

9. To change colored blocks/shapes, same as above. Select the shape and the colored square will appear in the top menu. Click the square and color swatches will appear in the left menu.

Select shape and colored square will appear in menu

Traffic

10. To export: Click Download and save as a png.

Download and save as png to export

11. If you want to save only one template of 5, open up Select pages and select the corresponding template by clicking the square to the right, and then select Done.

Select pages to save one template

Split image online

12. To split your image up for the carousel: go to https://pinetools.com/split-image and you’ll see the above window, then select Choose file.

Choose file on split image

13. Select the file you just downloaded from Canva

Select downloaded file from Canva

14. Once your file has been imported, select horizontal split, output as JPG or PNG (personal preference) and split by Quantity of blocks (equal width) and put 4 into the Quantity of blocks, then select Split image.

Select horizontal split on PineTools

15. This is what you’ll see after you click Split image, and under download pieces (images) are now the four pieces of your instagram carousel split to size. Click on each row 1, column 1, row 2 column 1… etc button to download back onto your machine.

Click on each row and column to download images back to machine

16. And now you have your four separated images to upload onto instagram using the multiple-image upload. Just make sure you select in the proper order, or else your carousel will be posted out of order from the template!

Engaging Instagram carousel examples

Draw inspiration from these brands and creators on Instagram.

Random House Kids

The children’s publishing arm of Random House knows a thing or two about spinning a story. Here’s how they do it with an Instagram carousel post.

Louise Damas

What’s inside the travel suitcase of jewellery designer Louise Damas’ brand manager? You’ll have to swipe through to find out.

Coachella

If you like the first band featured in Coachella’s Instagram carousel, chances are high you’ll want to see the musicians featured.

Kotn

Explore the textures and fabrics of Kotn with this Instagram carousel. The Canadian brand uses the format to show off and editorialize its apparel.

Mona Chalabi

Data journalist and illustrator Mona Chalabi uses the Instagram carousel to brilliant effect. In this example, the swipe effect conveys both scale and disproportion than any single image could.

Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

This carousel offers a glimpse at the art and hygiene protocols Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal has put in place to combat virus spread.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

✨Votre visite au MBAM ✨ Vous le savez, nous mettons en place toutes les mesures nécessaires pour vous garantir une visite au Musée aussi sécuritaire qu’enrichissante. Concrètement, comment ça se passe? – 🎫 L’achat de billets se fait sur notre site web (lien dans la bio). Le nombre de visiteurs par heure est limité. – 😷 Le port du couvre-visage est fortement recommandé. – 👏 Du gel hydroalcoolique est distribué dans les aires d’accueil. – ➡️ Un parcours d’exposition à sens unique et des indications au sol aident les visiteurs à respecter les mesures de distanciation physique en vigueur. – 🎧 Nos audioguides sont accessibles gratuitement sur l’application mobile du MBAM. – 🚫 Certains services ne sont pas offerts pour le moment : lien dans la bio – 🦽 Nous recommandons aux personnes à mobilité réduite ou ayant des besoins particuliers d’aviser le Musée de leur visite. Le service à la clientèle est joignable au 514-285-2000 du lundi au dimanche, de 9 h à 17 h. Nous faisons notre maximum pour vous retrouver dans les meilleures conditions. ✨ À très bientôt au #MBAM! ✨ – —— ✨Your visit to the MMFA ✨ – As you know, we are putting every measure in place to ensure your visit is highly enjoyable, exclusive yet intimate, and, above all, safe. – Concretely, how does this work? – 🎫 Tickets must be purchased on our website (link in our bio). The number of visitors per hour will be limited. – 😷 The wearing of face coverings is strongly recommended. – 👏 Hydroalcoholic gel will be dispensed in the entrance areas. – ➡️ A one-way exhibition pathway and direction indicators on the floor will help visitors adhere to the physical distancing measures in effect. – 🎧 Audioguides are available only on the MMFA’s mobile app and are free of charge. – 🚫 Some services are not currently offered: link in bio – 🦽 It is strongly recommended that people with reduced mobility or special needs notify the Museum of their upcoming visit. Our customer service team can be reached at 514-285-2000, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – We are doing everything in our power to welcome you in the best possible conditions. ✨ See you soon at the #MMFA! ✨

A post shared by Musée des beaux-arts (@mbamtl) on Jun 5, 2020 at 7:24am PDT

Kamwei Fong

Illustrator Kamwei Fong shows you the final product in print and frame, as well as her process—bringing viewers closer to her art one slide and a time.

Welfact

Nothing but the facts, in simple and understandable slides in this and several other Instagram carousels shared by Welfact. To maximize shareability, treat each post as a self-contained unit. That increases the odds (by up to 10!) that someone will share your post in an Instagram story.

Cleanfoodcrush

Who needs a recipe book when you can follow Cleanfoodcrush’s Instagram carousel as instructions for her loaded bean soup.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

{New} Loaded Bean Soup Because you’re gonna need something EASY + DELICIOUS to feed all your people throughout the colder months! Let’s make it hearty, nourishing, inexpensive, & SIMPLE! 6-8 servings Ingredients: 6 slices nitrate free bacon, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped 4 ribs of celery, chopped 4 cloves garlic, crushed 3 (15oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 1 (15oz) jar diced tomatoes or fire roasted diced tomatoes 4 cups vegetable broth, or chicken bone broth 2 tsps paprika sweet or smoked a small bunch of fresh rosemary and thyme spears (2 – rosemary, 6 – thyme) 2 bay leaves sea salt and pepper to taste, about q/4 teaspoon each serve with plain Greek yogurt garnish with freshly chopped parsley Instructions: Start by chopping your veggies, peel and wash the carrots. Chop onion, carrots, and celery into small dice. Make a small herb bunch by tying the herb spears into one single bunch so they’re easy to remove. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Once hot, add your chopped bacon in a single layer. Cook for 3 minutes flipping halfway through until both sides are golden and crisp. Once the bacon is done, remove from the pan and set aside on a paper lined plate. Reserve bacon drippings in the pot. Add in garlic and sauté until fragrant. Stir in chopped onion, carrots and celery, cook until veggies are beginning to caramelize. Next add in the beans, chicken broth, tomatoes, paprika, and your bay leaves & herb bunch. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cover and allow simmer on low for about 20 minutes or until soup is thickened a bit. Once your soup is done, discard the bay leaves & herb bunch, then ladle your soup into bowls. Add crispy bacon and a dollop of yogurt on top. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve warm. Enjoy! ❤Rachel

A post shared by Cleanfoodcrush by Rachel Maser (@cleanfoodcrush) on Oct 22, 2020 at 5:04pm PDT

Chipotle

Chipotle’s timeline of burrito eating uses the Instagram carousel to comical and relatable effect.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe saves #TeddyBearDay with this Instagram carousel tutorial.

Wendy’s

Wendy’s secret menu carousels dare you not to click through and discover “secret” food hacks.

Nike

Timed with Ben Simmons’ NBA Rookie of the Year award win, this post from Nike shows how to use the Instagram carousel to make and punctuate a statement. As one commenter notes: “I love it uses the slide to change perception.”

McDonald’s India

Take a quick look at the McDonald’s India feed and it’s clear that the Instagram carousel has been a winning format for the account. This most, among others, is a good reminder that a “swipe left” call to action never hurts. It helps, in fact. Socialinsider’s study finds the CTA improves engagement.

Air Canada’s enRoute

Why not give the in-flight magazine the “magazine effect.” This Instagram carousel lets you flip through the pages of a mag, just like you would on the plane or in a store.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The Food Issue of @enroutemag looks a little different in 2020. Our annual cross-country trip to discover Canada’s Best New Restaurants couldn’t happen this year, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating the country’s inspiring and innovative culinary industry. We also journey to Morocco’s saffron country and set out on a food odyssey in County Clare, Ireland. Plus, actor @menamassoud dishes on his new book, Evolving Vegan, and food designer @amandahuynh shows us how she packs for far-flung design trips. Check out the link in our bio to dig in. // Le spécial Gourmand de @enroutemag est un peu différent en 2020. Notre recherche pancanadienne des Meilleurs nouveaux restos canadiens n’a pas eu lieu, mais cela ne nous a pas empêchés de célébrer l’industrie culinaire du pays, plus inspirante et plus innovante que jamais. Nous nous transportons également en terre de safran, au Maroc, et partons en périple gastronomique dans le comté de Clare, en Irlande. En plus, l’acteur @menamassoud nous parle de son nouveau livre Evolving Vegan, et la designer culinaire @amandahuynh nous montre ce qu’elle apporte dans ses voyages pour le boulot. Consultez le lien dans notre bio pour vous mettre l’eau à la bouche. 📸 : @francoisollivier

A post shared by Air Canada enRoute (@enroutemag) on Sep 24, 2020 at 1:21pm PDT

Delta Air Lines

Break interviews into “sound bites” with Instagram carousels. This can be a good way to share testimonials, employees as ambassadors, artisans, partners, or other interviews you’d like to share.

Patagonia

Patagonia creates a magazine gatefold effect with Instagram carousels. The example demonstrates how carousels can also be used to maintain a feed aesthetic. If you want your feed to only contain images, but also want to share text, here’s a good workaround.

Hootsuite

This Hootsuite Instagram carousel parses findings from the 2020 Q4 Digital Statshot Report into easily digestible stats and takeaways. Instagram carousels also make for good case study formats, and more.

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