How To Center Your Instagram Bio
Your bio is an important element of your profile on Instagram. Although it is limited to 150 characters, it is one of the three things that other Instagram users have to look at in order to gauge whether they want to follow you or not. (The other two things being your username and your most recent selection of snaps and stories, of course.)
One common technique used to increase the visual appeal of your bio and really make it “pop” is to center the bio text. Centering the text just means inserting spaces on each line so that the overall effect is to make your bio look centered on the screen when someone looks at your bio. Word-processing programs like Microsoft Word include automatic centering features that let you just select a block of text and hit a button and poof – instantly centered. Instagram unfortunately does not have this functionality built-in. However, centering your bio is quite simple and in this article I will show you a simple technique to get your bio displaying in the center.
While you’re typing your bio, one handy feature is the character count that displays in the lower right hand corner of the text box. The count shows you how many characters are left in your allowance of 150. In the screenshot above, you can see that I’m down to 2 characters left. Centering your bio will further shorten the message you can display, because the spaces you will use to format your text count against your 150-character limit.
How to Center a Bio
Editing your bio is simple. Just select the head-and-shoulders icon on the home page (bottom right corner as of April 2019) and tap on “Edit Profile”. Most text editors have at least rudimentary controls for formatting, but Instagram just gives you a plain text box. Type what you want, hit the check mark in the upper-right corner, and you’re done. But how do you get your text to display in a centered format?
In the text box, you’ll want to add spaces to the left-hand side of each row of text you want to center. If your text strings are fairly short, then adding about nine spaces to the left of each row will put your text near the center of the screen on most phones. You’ll want to add more or less space depending on if your text strings are longer or shorter. You’re going to run into one problem, though. Instagram insists on left-justifying the first line in your bio. That means that this:
is going to end up displaying like this:
That’s no good. Inserting blank lines won’t fool Instagram; the only way to get your first line to center is to use a special nonbinding space. There’s no need to go into technicalities; these spaces are coded differently in HTML and will let you bypass this first-line glitch in Instagram’s code. These spaces are inserted below between the [brackets] – cut and paste them from there and you can use them for your centering efforts.
Special nonbinding spaces:
(You may find it easier to do your editing on a desktop computer; Instagram will let you center your bio on either platform, but editing is often simpler with a keyboard available for cutting and pasting.)
Using the nonbinding spaces on the first line gets us this:
But wait. We’re displaying in the center of the screen, but that last sentence wrapped around and the whole thing looks off.
If you have sentences or text strings of different lengths, then you will need to offset the centering so that they come out even. To do this, go back into the editor and remove and add spaces from the various lines so that sentences don’t wrap around the screen, and are evenly distributed along the midpoint of the screen. Experiment and you’ll quickly see how this works.
Other Types of Effects
Centering isn’t the only type of text formatting that can give your bio some visual flair. For example, you can stagger your bio, by increasing the indent on each successive line. For example:
Notice that the second example tiered less fluidly because the last line was too short. Also, it doesn’t highlight the contact information in the same way that a centered bio would.
Think about what you want your followers and potential followers to take away from your bio, how your bio reads, and what information you’d like to highlight.
When Not to Center a Bio
Sometimes, your profile is better served by not having a centered bio. Centered bios come with their downsides, including:
- Lack of space for characters. Bios have a 160 character limit and spaces count toward that limit.
- Poor desktop view. Centered bios do not come across as effectively on desktop. Of course, most people will be checking Instagram on their phones.
- Centered bios break up text. If your bio is comprised of short statements, this might not matter for you. It can also be helpful for highlighting disparate elements like email addresses. However, if you interrupt the flow of your bio, forcing it onto separate lines, it might look awkward and be hard to read.
Centering or staggering your bio on Instagram can really help make your profile stand out in a crowd. Whether you’re looking to help show off your contact information or you just want to make your bio look more interesting, centering and staggering text on Instagram is surprisingly easy.
If you have ideas on ways to make text look great in Instagram, please share them with us in the comments!
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