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How to add text to reels from Instagram

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Instagram Reels have taken the social media world by storm, offering a fun and engaging way to share short-form videos. Just like TikTok, Instagram Reels...

Instagram Reels have taken the social media world by storm, offering a fun and engaging way to share short-form videos. Just like TikTok, Instagram Reels allow you to be creative, funny, or informative in just a few seconds. But what if you want to add some text to your Reels to make them even more engaging? You're in luck! This tutorial will walk you through how to add text to Instagram Reels videos, step by step. So, grab your iPhone or Android and let's get started!

Why adding text to Reels matters

Adding text to your Instagram Reels isn't just a frivolous exercise; it's a strategic move that can significantly elevate the viewer's experience. When you add text to your Reels, you're doing more than just throwing some words on a screen; you're enhancing the narrative, providing clarity, and boosting engagement.

For engagement

In the fast-scrolling world of social media platforms like Instagram, grabbing your viewer's attention is crucial. Text can act as a compelling call-to-action, subtly nudging viewers to interact with your content. Whether it's a simple "Tap for more" or a more specific "Swipe up to shop," these textual cues can encourage viewers to hit that "like" button, drop a comment, or even share your Reel to their own followers. This is particularly beneficial if you're aiming to outsmart the Instagram algorithm, which often prioritizes content with higher engagement. So, the next time you're crafting a Reel, consider how a well-placed text block can serve as a catalyst for viewer interaction.

For clarity

Let's face it, not every Reel is self-explanatory. Sometimes you're sharing a complex recipe, a quick DIY tutorial, or a multi-step fitness routine. In such cases, text can be a lifesaver. It provides the much-needed context that helps viewers understand what's happening on screen. This becomes doubly important if your Reel is without sound or the audio quality is poor. By adding text, you make your Reels more accessible and easier to follow, ensuring that your message isn't lost in translation.

For creativity

Text in Reels isn't just about functionality; it's also an avenue for creative expression. You can use it to add a whimsical layer of storytelling, inject humor, or even create an artistic overlay that complements your video. Instagram offers a variety of text styles, transitions, and even emojis that you can use to make your Reel stand out. So don't hesitate to let your creativity run wild; experiment with different fonts, colors, and animations to make your Reel truly unique.

Preparing your Reel

Before you can take advantage of Instagram's text-adding functionality, there are some preliminary steps to complete. Here's a more detailed look:

Choosing the right video

The first step in creating a compelling Reel is selecting the right video. You have two main options here: either record a new video directly through the Instagram app by tapping the camera icon and then the Reels icon, or use an existing video from your phone's gallery. If you opt for the latter, make sure the video content aligns well with the message or theme you plan to highlight through text. The last thing you want is a disconnect between your video and text, as it can confuse viewers.

Trimming and editing

Once you've selected or recorded your video, you'll be directed to the video editing screen. Here, you'll see a timeline at the bottom of the screen. You can drag the edges of this timeline to trim your video to the desired length. This is an essential step, especially if you're working with an existing video that contains extraneous footage. Make sure to preview your trimmed video before moving on to the next step.

Adding music or sound

Just like when you're creating an Instagram story, the platform offers a plethora of music options to add to your Reel. To do this, tap the music icon and browse through the available tracks. Choose one that complements both your video and the text you plan to add. Remember, the music can set the mood for the entire Reel, so choose wisely.

Steps to add text to Reels

Now that your video is prepped and ready, it's time for the main event: adding text to your Reel. Here's a more detailed guide:

Opening the text editor

Once you're on the video editing screen, look for the text icon, usually represented by an "AA" icon, located at the top right corner of your screen. Tap it, and you'll open the text editor, where the real magic happens.

Typing and formatting text

A text box will appear on your screen. Go ahead and type your desired text into this box. Once you're satisfied, tap "Done" to close the text box. But you're not done yet; now comes the fun part of formatting. You can edit text by changing its style, size, and color. If you're using an iPhone, these options are generally located at the top of the screen. Android users, don't fret; the functionality is identical, just located in different corners of your screen.

Positioning and timing

After you've jazzed up your text, the next step is to position it on your screen. Simply drag the text to wherever you want it to appear. To set the text duration, tap on your text block, and then tap the timer icon. A slider will appear, allowing you to set when the text should appear and disappear during the Reel. This is crucial for ensuring that your text aligns perfectly with specific moments in your video.

Adding multiple text layers

If one layer of text isn't enough, you can easily add more. Tap the text icon (the "AA" icon) again and repeat the process. You can add multiple layers of text, each with its own unique style and timing. This is particularly useful for Reels that require step-by-step instructions or those that benefit from layered storytelling.

Advanced text features

Instagram doesn't just stop at basic text; it offers a range of advanced features to make your Reel text even more engaging.

Using stickers and GIFs

In addition to basic text, you can also add stickers or GIFs to your Reel for that extra flair. To do this, tap the stickers icon, usually represented by a smiley face, located in the upper right corner of your screen. You'll be presented with a variety of options, from hashtags to animated stickers, that you can add to your Reel.

Text animations

If you want to add a dynamic element to your text, Instagram has you covered. After you've typed and formatted your text, tap the "Aa" button again. This will open a menu of different text animation options, such as making your text zoom in or bounce. These animations can add a layer of excitement and keep your viewers engaged.

Color and background

Sometimes, your text may blend in too well with your video background, making it hard to read. To solve this, you can change the text color and even add a background color for better visibility. This feature is particularly useful for ensuring that your text stands out, making it easier for viewers to read and engage with your content.

Common mistakes to avoid

Adding text to Reels is pretty straightforward, but there are some common pitfalls to watch out for.

Poor timing

If your text appears too early or too late, it can confuse viewers. Use the preview button at the bottom of the editing screen to review your Reel and make sure the timing is just right.

Unreadable fonts and colors

Choose fonts and colors that are easy to read. Instagram offers a variety of text styles, so pick one that stands out against your video background.

Overloading with text

Less is often more. Adding too much text can overwhelm viewers and distract from the video itself. Keep it simple and to the point.

Tips for effective text in Reels

Finally, here are some quick tips to make your Reel text as effective as possible.

Keep it concise

Your Reel is short, so your text should be too. Keep it concise so viewers can quickly read it without missing out on the video content.

Align with video theme

Make sure your text complements what's happening in your video. Whether you're telling a story, cracking a joke, or sharing a tutorial, your text should enhance, not detract from, your Reel.


Before you hit that "Share to Reels" button, take a moment to proofread your text. Spelling mistakes or grammatical errors can distract from your message, so double-check before you post.

And there you have it! You're now ready to add text to your Instagram Reels like a pro. Whether you're using the Reels tab for the first time or you're an IG Reels veteran, these tips should help you make the most of this fun and engaging social media platform. Happy Reeling!

Enhance your reels experience with Speechify AI Voice Over

So, you've mastered the art of adding text to your Instagram Reels, but what if you want to take it up a notch? Enter Speechify AI Voice Over. This handy tool can turn your text into natural-sounding voiceovers, making your Reels even more engaging and accessible. Whether you're on iOS, Android, or even a PC, Speechify is incredibly user-friendly and versatile. Imagine having a professional-sounding narration to accompany the text in your Reels! Intrigued? Go ahead and try Speechify AI Voice Over today to elevate your social media game.


Can I use templates to add text to my new Reel?

Yes, Instagram offers a variety of templates that can make adding text to your new Reel even easier. These templates often come with preset text styles and animations, saving you time in the video editor. To access these templates, look for the "Templates" option usually located near the "AA icon" or "AA button" on the editing screen. From there, you can select a template that fits your Reel's theme and then customize the text to your liking.

Can I add text to a Reel that I've already published to my story?

Once a Reel is published to "Your Story," you can't edit it to add text or make other changes. However, you can save the Reel to your device, then upload it as a new Reel. In the video editor, you can then use the "AA icon" or "AA button" to add text before republishing it. Keep in mind that this will be a new Reel, so any likes, comments, or views from the original post will not carry over.

Is there a shortcut to add text while recording my Reel?

While there isn't a way to add text in real-time as you're recording, you can pause between clips to add text. When you're recording a new Reel, you'll see the record button on the screen. After you've recorded a clip, you can hit the pause button, then tap the "AA icon" to add text before resuming your recording. This allows you to add text to individual segments of your Reel, making the process more dynamic and interactive.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.