What you can do with Medium

An interactive guide

Zulie @ Medium
The Medium Blog
7 min readMay 30, 2024


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All images created by Jason Combs

Welcome to Medium! Medium is a place for reading, writing, and curating human stories. It’s where anyone can share insightful perspectives, useful knowledge, and life wisdom with the world. The reason we built this place is because we believe human stories have the power to deepen your understanding of the world.

Let’s run through what you can do with your new account. We’ll cover how you can:

· Visit Medium on the web, on your phone, or in your inbox
· Read stories
· Follow writers, publications, and topics
· Clap, highlight, comment, and share
· Check your reading history
· Tell your story

Let’s get started.

Visit Medium on the web, on your phone, or in your inbox

Read Medium stories on the web or on your phone with our iOS or Android apps. You’ll also get daily and weekly digest emails with our best recommendations for you to read, if you opt in.

a screenshot of a Medium story on a smartphone and a QR code to download the Medium app.
Screenshot taken by author. Read Margaret Pan’s story here.

Read stories

Medium is home to some of the best writing on the internet. Here, you can browse your home page, read your digest emails, or explore topic areas to find and read as many non-paywalled stories as you like. As you read, we’ll keep track of your reading history in your library, which you can find under your profile (more on that below).

Want a quick way to tell if a writer has paywalled their story for members? Look for the gold star:

two screenshotted stories, one paywalled and indicated by the gold star, one not paywalled.
Screenshots taken by author. You can read Mark Schaefer’s story here and Rosie Hoggmascall’s story here.

A gold star means that the writer has chosen to paywall their story, while no gold star means it’s open for anyone to read.

Want to get access to all writing on Medium? It’s one of the many perks that come when you upgrade your account to Medium membership. Read without limits or ads, fund great writers, and join a global community of people who care about high-quality storytelling.

Follow writers, publications, and topics

On Medium, what you read and who you follow will affect the kind of stories we send. You’re probably pretty familiar with the concept of following writers and topics — basically, follow the voices and themes you’re interested in — but on Medium, we’ve got a third thing you can follow: publications.

Publications, run by editors on Medium, are themed collections of stories about any topic. We are home to publications about health, programming, and more. Any Medium member can create and run a publication, so there’s a wide variety out there to explore.

A quick note: the more you engage with stories, writers, publications, and topics you like, the better your recommendations will be!

Read more:

Clap, highlight, comment, and share

I promised an interactive guide, didn’t I? There’s a lot you can do with your Medium account beyond just reading stories, and in this section you can try them all out firsthand.


On Medium, if you like a story, you can let the author know by giving that story a round of applause. You can clap anywhere between one to fifty times. Just scroll to the bottom of the story and hit the clap icon.

Want to clap fifty times but don’t want to exhaust your finger? You can just hold down the clap button.

a screenshot of a story on the web and on a smartphone, indicating how it’s possible to clap up to 50 times
Screenshot taken by author. You can read Matthew Clapham’s story here,


If you love a particular line, you can highlight it. Drag your cursor or finger from start to finish of the line and select the highlight icon. Once you’ve highlighted something, we save it in your library for future reference, but you can also comment on the passage you’ve highlighted (more on that below), share it, or even leave a note for the author.

Here’s a quote from Maya Angelou that’s definitely worthy of a highlight if you want to try it out:

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” — Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist


You can also comment — on either the whole story or just one portion. To comment on the whole story, scroll to the bottom. There, you’ll see a comment icon. Click it and you’ll open up a panel to share your thoughts.

a screenshot of a medium story on the web and on the app, highlighting where the comment button is
Screenshot taken by author. You can read Jean Hsu’s story here.

To comment on one particular part, you can highlight that part of the story and select the comment icon. When you leave a comment there, it’ll show up as a response to the highlighted portion.

You can try highlighting and commenting with this line here if you like: What’s the best Medium story you’ve read recently?

Want to ensure only the writer can read your comment? You can make your note private by selecting any line you haven’t already highlighted and picking the comment icon with the lock symbol:

beige screenshot of some text on a Medium story, illustrating how to highlight a line
Screenshot taken by author. You can read David Mandell’s story here.

Want to test out your power? Leave me a private note here. Bonus points if you want to share what made you sign up for a Medium account.

Medium saves all your highlights in your library, which we’ll get into below.


Sometimes you read a story so good, you just need to share it.

screenshot of the options to share a Medium story via link, on X, Facebook, or LinkedIn
Screenshot taken by author.

You can copy the link to share anywhere, with anyone, or you can share directly to X, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Note that you have to be logged into those platforms to share directly from within Medium.

Here is some more detail on all these options in our Help Center if you want to go a little deeper:

Check your reading history

“Wait, where was it? I swear I was reading the most fascinating story about brand design on Medium the other day…I can’t find it!”

Those days are gone. Medium keeps track of your reading history so you can always find that great story. Just head over to your library, where you can find:

  • Your reading history
  • Any highlights you’ve made

Remember: our algorithm bases your recommendations on your reading history. If you don’t love what you see, you can always clear individual stories or your whole reading history for a fresh start.

screenshot of the library on Medium, including your lists, saved lists, highlights, reading history, and clear history button
Screenshot taken by author

In your library, you’ll also be able to find:

  • Lists
  • Saved lists

On Medium, you can create lists of stories. You can also save lists that other Medium users have made. For example, you might make a collection of stories about Python programming tutorials for projects you want to try. Or you might see a story you want to read, but don’t have the time to get into it right now. You can easily save it to a TBR list. Lists can be either private or public.

You can also save entire lists to your library. For example, you might want to keep up to date with modern marketing strategies but don’t have time to scout all of Medium for the best ones. You can find a tastemaker on Medium who’s already doing the hard work for you and save their lists to your library to catch up whenever you’ve got a free moment.

screenshot of the Lists feature
Screenshot taken by author. You can check out Walter Bonnett’s list here.

You can learn more about how to organize your digital knowledge catalog here:

Tell your story

On Medium, you can enjoy a distraction-free writing environment to write and publish your story. Our editor is very user-friendly — no SEO, no domain names, and no setup required. Just hit “Write” and tell your story.

screenshot of the Medium editor
Screenshot sourced by author.

One of the great things about writing on Medium is that any stories you write and publish can be distributed to not just your followers, but also millions of readers who follow the topics you wrote about.

Want more info on how to write a story on Medium? Here you go:

Now you’re fully up to date with what you can do with your Medium account. If you have any questions about the features you’ve seen, don’t hesitate to drop a comment.

yellow banner reading “Medium membership gets you so much more” with a subscribe button

Sign up to become a member to get more benefits:



Zulie @ Medium
The Medium Blog

Product storyteller at Medium. Official staff account.