ThingLink is a tool for making "rich images", letting the user embed text, audio, video, or more images into a picture.

We used it earlier in the year here at for a feature on the journalists involved in Pierre Omidyar's new organisation First Look Media, and some other great examples from elsewhere in the industry include a succession of videos embedded in a map of Syria from the Washington Post; an infographic on wealthy philanthropists with added links and videos by Forbes; and this great "street-by-street movie guide" from Rough Guides.

The above video is a simple, three-minute guide to using ThingLink, but for those in a rush the steps are below.

1. Log-in to ThingLink using by setting up an account or using Twitter or Facebook, then go to the create page through the button in the top right.

thinglink screengrab1

2. You can upload an image or import from Facebook, Flickr or a URL. If you want to have a more interesting image as your starting point – as I used for the First Look piece – editor Rachel Bartlett's guide to making photo montages in last week's screencast is a good helper.

3. Once your image is uploaded, click on an area of the image to add a tag. You can change the size of the tag or the icon used if you want, but this is where your extra window will pop out.

4. For the First Look piece I stuck with text, giving an outline of each journalist's career, and added a relevant Twitter account for each in the 'link' box. Having prepared the copy before hand, it's a simple cut-and-paste and then save the tag.

thinglink screengrab 2

5. There are other, more interesting options than text though. You can add a URL for a YouTube video or SoundCloud audio file and it will be playable from the pop-out box, or add an image URL to accompany the text.

6. After adding as many tags and multimedia elements as necessary, you can save the image and share it on social media or embed it in a web page elsewhere.

It's a simple process but a great way to tell stories in a different, more visual manner.

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