Layout will enable users to blend up to nine images into a collage

Instagram has launched Layout, a new application that will allow people to create collages of their images before sharing them on social networks.

The new app allows users to select up to nine photos from their smartphone’s gallery or take a new series of shots that will create a single image with a collage effect.

The images can be arranged in a variety of layouts and manually resized or swapped.

The app is initially only available for iPhone although an Android version will be launched “in the coming months,” according to an Instagram blog post.

It is the second standalone app from the Facebook-owned photo and video sharing network, following the launch of timelapse-videos app Hyperlapse in August 2014.

Layout is able to share images directly to Instagram and Facebook, save them directly to the iPhone’s camera roll or to other apps including Dropbox, Flipboard, Google+ and Snapchat.

Twitter is a notable absentee from the sharing list. Sharing Layout collages on that social network means saving them to the phone's camera roll before posting them to Twitter; perhaps a calculated snub that follows Instagram’s decision to stop images from its main app displaying within tweets.

A number of third-party apps already provide similar functions, and are often shared on Instagram.

If you’re an Instagram user, you may have seen images shared from apps like Insta Picframes, Pic Collage, Photo Grid, Framatic and LiPix appearing in your feed in recent months.

There’s actually already a photo-arranging iOS app named Layout, created by the developer Juicy Bits, which fulfils a similar function for Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. In 2012 it was chosen by Apple as one of its best apps of 2012 in its annual App Store round up of the year.

Because of the many similarly named apps, Instagram's new release currently appears below other results in searches on the App Store.

Instagram’s app, unlike the rest, doesn’t create any borders between the photos.