Publish your story to the world
It’s becoming increasingly popular to create a website that is just an article, or story about a
single subject, perhaps a journal, a report, or a product review. These are not really like a
regular blog - but just a single page, single column of text, presented in a nicely designed
layout designed to focus your attention on the content - with little superfluous clutter or
advertising. This document is an example.
Using Xara Online Designer, and this template, I’m going to show you how incredibly easy it
is to create, customize and share such as article with the world at large (or just your
To view the finished published result, see here. The photo is set to stretch to the browser
width. Try scrolling the document up and down to see the parallax scrolling and ‘reveal’
animations on the heading and photos below.
Customize this document
To create your own Web Story document, just customize the header photo, and your text,
add additional graphics or photos, and then just Share the result. I’ll show you how to do
each of these things.
Replace the header photo
Just click it and select the Replace option. You can select to upload a photo from your
computer, or pick one from a cloud drive. Perhaps the easiest way to replace the photo
with a local one, is to just drag a photo file from your file explorer onto the header photo:
Tip: It’s best to use a wide or panoramic image as, on the version you share, the image
is stretched to fit whatever browser width you have.
You can drag and drop replace any photos on the page including the inline ones below.
Adjust the picture:
You can adjust the horizon or rotation of the photo within its frame, as well as its size using
this icon in the top right of the photo.
If you have enlarged the image so some of it’s
clipped, just drag on this hand icon to re-position within the frame
Change the Theme Color
A really great trick that makes your web story look more professional, more ‘designed’, is to
re-use key colors or shades from your photo. So in this document I’ve used redish-brown
color that fits well with the image.
Xara Designer uses document-wide Theme Colors, which
if you change, affect the whole document. So to change
this color, select anything that’s using the color (e.g. place
the text cursor in a heading, or select the colored stripe
under the photo) and click the color patch on the Proper-
ties Panel. This opens the color palette (see left).
In this document there are just two main colors used, the
redish Theme Color 1, and a white color called ‘Light text’
which is the shade used on the heading and the buttons at the top. Below the named color
are a fixed (always available) black and white, and shades of gray.
If you hold the mouse pointer over the
color a pop-up menus shows the name of
the color and a option to change it. Select
the Change option and you get a color
picker where you can change this to any
color of the spectrum.
Note as you change this, the whole docu-
ment is updated.
If you want to create a completely new color, just click the + icon.
Adding photos into the story
Using the + menu top right, you can add an image to the page (as a local file or from your
cloud drive), or you can simply drag and drop a image file onto the document and it will be
uploaded. Resize it as required by dragging the bottom right corner.
Images added this way are floating - you can drag them to any position on the page, but you
might want the picture to push the text out of the way. There are two ways to do this:
Repel text around
Select the photo and use the Repel, Wrap, option on the right panel to select Repel text
option. Now as you move the photo over your text it pushes the text out of the way to flow
around the picture.
But suppose you want to embed it inline, so it flows with
the text. To do this cut the picture (Ctrl+X), place the text
cursor where you want in the text and Paste (Ctrl+V).
Now the image is inline. You can even wrap text around
the left or right of an online picture. Use the same Repel,
Wrap options and choose on of the ‘wrap text’ options.
This picture on the right has the ‘wrap text left’ option
selected, so text wraps around the left side.
Share with friends, colleagues, the world
The point of a Web Story is to publish and share this with the world. This couldn’t be
easier. Click the share icon, top right and select Share... You will get a URL link after a few
seconds that is a read-only version. The is only visible to those you share the URL with - so it
could be just your friends, of the whole world.
Update when you’re ready: Your readers see a read-only version that is only updated
when you select the Share option again and select Update. This means you can carry on
working on edits and only re-publish when you want.
When you share the read-only version of this document, e.g.
here, and you scroll down you’ll see that the photos fade-in
as they are revealed. This is one of many scroll and reveal
animations that are possible in the desktop Xara Designer.
You can’t (yet) control the animations in Online Designer,
but if you want your photos to fade in this way, just re-use
one of these pictures. To do this copy it, and paste (or paste
into the text), then replace the picture with your own, and
adjust the size and crop as required.
This photo also has a pop-up effect when you click it (on the
Adding links or buttons
At the top of the page are two buttons. The easiest way to add more buttons, is to simply
copy one of these - click on the outer edge of one of the buttons at the top, and select the
Duplicate menu option.
Or you can add other button designs. Under the + insert menu there’s a Buttons category.
Here’s another example placed inline (cut and paste it in the text as described above). Note
that the button automatically takes on the Theme Color used in the document.
You can edit the text on the button just by clicking on the text. Edit the link as required.
To select the button (not the text inside) click on the edge of the button. You can then resize
it (and copy, delete etc). To edit the button text just click on it - the button will adapt its size
to the content. You can adjust the alignment by placing the text cursor and using the usual
align text options from the right-side Text Properties panel.
Adding a link to text is as easy as selecting the text, and using the link icon
on the right.
This template has preset test styles. These are selectable from the Text Style drop-down list
on the right side Properties panel. There ‘Normal text’ which is this main text style, and
then four heading sizes, which you can see used throughout this document.
For maximum readability it’s often recommended that line should not have more than
around 15 to 20 words per line - longer than that and the eye has more difficulty moving
from the end of one line to the start of the next. So this column width, in combination with
the font and font size, is the upper end of that recommendation. I would not have the
column width any wider than this.
The Font I’m using here is a Google font called Droid Serif, 16px size (which is the equiva-
lent of 12pt in print terms), so quite large, using a generous 140% line spacing. Some studies
suggest using a serif fonts improve readability. Certainly it’s more common for longer text
stories, such as most novels, to use a Serif font like this.
To customize this font (or create your own templates), use Xara Designer desktop software.
“This is a pull-quote from some
text in your story. It’s an eye
catching highlight or a teaser
meant to draw people into your
story at a glance.”