How to Use Pinterest: 4 Tips for Getting Started

Pinterest is an online ideas tool you can use to save things you want to look at or try later, as well as to find things that other people who share your interests have saved.

Here are a few real-life examples where Pinterest might come in handy:

  • You cook – and you have a folder stuffed with recipes you’d like to try
  • You’re planning to redecorate (sometime) and want to remember ideas you see
  • You just love flipping through online magazines for inspiration
  • You’re planning a trip and are researching destinations online
  • You have lots of crafty projects on your to-do list
  • You’re helping your kid plan a wedding or prepare for a birth and want to share ideas and info you’ve found online
  • You bookmark lots of websites to come back to later, but then have trouble finding what you were looking for

If any of the above examples sound like you, Pinterest might be a great place for you to keep track of your ideas and get inspired for a next project.

Speaking Pinterest

Before you get started learning how to set up a Pinterest account, here’s a short glossary of Pinterest-specific terms that will come in handy.

Pins Pins are the images and videos on Pinterest. Oftentimes, a pin will link back to the original website, where you can find more information. So for example, a pin of a beautiful pie will probably link back to the recipe.

Boards You can make boards for specific topics and pin to those boards. Your boards can be public or private. You can also share boards with friends and family on Pinterest and both contribute to them. Examples for boards might be Recipes, Vacation Ideas, or Craft Projects. Or you might be the type of pinner who prefers more imaginative groupings, like Aging Gracefully or My Bucket List.

Follow Button You’ll have the most fun on Pinterest when you follow people who have similar interests. The more people you follow, the more pins you’ll see in your home feed. You can follow all of one person’s boards, or you can choose to just follow one or a few.

Using Pinterest

1. How to Create a Pinterest Account

Get started by clicking here to access the Pinterest homepage.

Email or Facebook? You can register with your email address or Facebook account. If you register through Facebook, Pinterest will find your friends who are already on the site and invite you to follow them. That way you don’t have to spend as much time finding people to follow. You can also link your Facebook and Pinterest accounts later on.

Personalize or no? You can check or uncheck a box that says “Let Pinterest personalize your experience based on other sites you visit.” If you check yes, Pinterest will use cookies to record where you go when you browse the Internet and will then use what it knows about you to suggest pins you might be interested in. To learn more about cookies, read our tech tip about protecting your online privacy (scroll to the bottom of the tip).

Check your email Look for a registration confirmation email from Pinterest in your inbox and click “Confirm Email.” This verifies that you are in fact the person who created your account.

Once you get past the first registration step, Pinterest will give you tips on finding your way around the site.

3PinterestTour

 

2. Find Pins You Might Like Through Pinterest

One way to find pins is by searching the ones that people have shared on the network. Most people’s boards are entirely public, which means anyone can access them and repin, or share things on their own boards.

How to search At the top left, you’ll see a search bar. If you start typing a topic you’re interested in, Pinterest will suggest some more specific terms that might help you narrow down your search. Move your cursor down the list to select any of the suggestions.

4SearchBar

 

How to get past the image to the information Now you’ll be taken to a page with a collection of pins relating to the category you searched for. The images represent articles, recipes and other online content. Scroll down and see if anything interests you. If you see something interesting, click on the image; you’ll be taken to the board where it is pinned. Click on the image again and it should take you to the original source. (Sometimes, if a pin has been “repinned” many times, you’ll have to click through to several people’s boards before you get back to the original source, where all the relevant information is in the form of an article, recipe or retail info.

If you chose a broad topic as I did – gardening ideas – you may never reach the bottom of the page as you scroll down. If you’ve been scrolling for a while and want to return to the top of the page, look for this small “Scroll to Top” icon in the bottom right of your browser.

ScrolltoTop

You can click it to scroll back up in one click.

How to save a pin to your board Say you’ve found something you like and want to pin it to your own board. When you click on the photo, it enlarges. Since you’re new to the site, Pinterest is kind enough to tell you what to do next. As you become more familiar with the site, these suggestions will disappear.

5GetYourFallGardenGoing

How to make a board Before you can pin this image, you need to create a board to put it on. Once you create boards, you can select from a list of them each time you pin something new.

6CreateYourFirstBoard

 

You could name this particular board “Gardening Ideas.” If you’re feeling stuck, Pinterest has some suggestions of what you could call your board, such as “Places to Visit,” “Projects to Try,” or “Ideas for the House.” Once you type or select a name, click the Create button.

7NameandCreateBoard

Next, add a description. If you’re repinning, it will likely already have a description. You can leave the description as is or edit it. Then, simply click the red “Pin It” button on the bottom right.

Now you can go to your board and see your very first pin.

8FirstPin

How to add edit your board  and invite people to join it By clicking Edit Board, you can change the name of your board, add a description, change the category, or invite other people to join.

 9EditBoard

3. Add Things You Like to Pinterest

If you’re browsing the Internet and come across something interesting you’d like to save, try, or buy – like a recipe, photo, craft project or gardening idea – you can save it to Pinterest to remember for later.

How to pin from a Pinterest enabled website More and more sites include a “Pin it” Pinterest button with each piece of content. You can just click that to add what you’ve found to one of your boards.

How to pin from other websites If the site doesn’t have Pinterest buttons on its content, you’ll have to do it manually by copying and pasting the URL of the webpage where the information you would like to save is located. (Check out this tech tip how to copy and paste to learn how.)

11UploadaPin

 

Back on Pinterest (make sure you’re logged in), click the plus sign next to your name at the top right, then select “Add from a website.” On the pop-up window, paste the URL and click “Find images.” You can then select the image you want to pin and click the “Pin It” button.

You’ll have to add your own description this time. It’s a good idea to credit the website where you found the image.

12CreateaPin

4. Turn off Email Notifications

Pinterest automatically signs you up to receive emails when someone likes one of your pins, when someone follows you and when someone comments on one of your pins. If you become active on Pinterest, that can mean a lot of emails. It’s a good idea to look at your email notifications and decide which ones you would like to receive.

Find your settings by clicking your name in the top right and selecting “Settings” from the drop-down menu. You can turn mails off by clicking the red “Yes” tab next to “Get email notifications.” This will switch off all emails.

15EmailNotifications

 

Follow Senior Planet on Pinterest

Follow Senior Planet’s board #AgingWithAttitude on Pinterest.

Happy pinning!

6 comments
  • Loverofdawgs
    REPLY

    I want to scroll down to find my really old “likes”. You can scroll to the top of the page by clicking on a button, but I don’t know how to scroll to the bottom. This feature would be great! Thanks so much.

  • Ahuva
    REPLY

    I really appreciate the clear and practical explanation! Senior Planet has done much to demystify the digital world for me.

  • Virginia
    REPLY

    This was a good review especially about pinning from sites with no PinIt button.

    Is there a way to put my own photo on one of my boards to share?

    • Barbara, Senior Planet editor
      REPLY

      Hi Virginia, it’s pretty simple to upload a photo to your Pinterest board from your computer. Click on the Plus (+) sign near the top right of your Pinterest page. Select Upload a pin. In the window that pops up, click on Choose Image. A window showing all the folders on your computer will open. Find the image you want to upload, select it and click Open. That’s it! Let us know if you have more questions.

  • Laura
    REPLY

    My problem is when I click to see a source page, when I go back yo the board, I’m back at the top. Some of these boards have hundreds of pins and I can never get to the bottom because it keeps scrolling me back to top. And no, I’m NOT Hitting the scroll to top button. Pinterest really needs a way to lick the board so it stays where you are on the board.

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